Jacob G. Hornberger |
When President Trump took the oath he did so by promising to stand against the national-security state apparatus and to not kneel in front of them, gaining the trust of many Americans. It was, nevertheless, clear that national-security state, being extremely powerful now, would ultimately win this battle started by Trump, but no one had thought that Trump would capitulate so soon and so completely.
But capitulate he has, and a victory for the national security state, or what the mainstream is now calling the Deep State, is complete.
The independent, swamp-clearing candidate Trump has morphed into a loyal and subservient subject of the US national-security state.
Recall that we are talking about the man, who as a candidate for president, criticized and condemned President Obama for starting a war with Iraq. Trump assured voters that he would never do such a dumb thing. He also said that he would never intervene in Syria. In his campaign, he issued so many intimations and insinuations suggesting that he was opposed to foreign empire, militarism, and interventionism that even a few libertarians began enthusiastically supporting him for president. After his election, he also went to war against the national-security establishment and the Washington, D.C., establishment over their insistence on a second Cold War with Russia.
President Trump is different from Trump the Candidate
All that is now over. The independent, swamp-clearing candidate Trump has morphed into a loyal and subservient subject of the US national-security state. He has appointed a host of military generals to serve as his advisers. He has promised a massive increase in military spending, notwithstanding the fact that the military’s budget is larger than the next 7 countries combined. He has unleashed the military to bomb and assassinate people in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere as part of his “war on terrorism.”
Many years ago, President Eisenhower warned Americans of the ever-growing power and influence of the national-security state or what he called “the military-industrial complex”.
He has now initiated a war against Syria, a sovereign and independent nation, and without even the semblance of the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. He has made it clear that he intends to be a full-fledged intervene-er in the affairs of other nations. Most telling of all, of course, is that Trump has now fulfilled the wishes of the national-security establishment by abandoning his commitment to establishing peaceful and friendly relations with Russia and instead, making that nation a full-fledged adversary or enemy of the United States.
Many years ago, President Eisenhower warned Americans of the ever-growing power and influence of the national-security state or what he called “the military-industrial complex”. He pointed out that America now had an entirely new Cold War-era governmental structure, one that, he observed, posed a grave threat to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people.
Those warnings went unheeded and the national-security establishment grew ever more powerful and influential in the years since Eisenhower issued his warning. Today, the Pentagon and the CIA now wield the power to kidnap or assassinate anyone they want, anywhere in the world; that includes Americans. If they do that, they know that nothing will happen to them. No federal grand jury will indict them for committing a felony. If one were to do so, any federal judge in the land would immediately dismiss it, no questions asked.
The same goes for the power to round people up, put them in concentration camps or military dungeons indefinitely without trial, and torture and abuse them. That’s what the Jose Padilla case established, where the federal courts upheld the power of the military to do these things to American citizens.
The warnings went unheeded and the national-security establishment grew ever more powerful and influential in the years since Eisenhower issued his warning.
Oh, and let’s not forget the mass surveillance schemes by the third leg of the national-security triumvirate, the National Security Agency — the NSA. Every American, just like everyone else in the rest of the world, must now live his life under the assumption that these people are monitoring and recording his emails and telephone calls.
Read more: Can Trump Abolish the CIA?
The “free” Americans and the JFK assassination secret records
Meanwhile, so many Americans continue to express their gratitude over how free they are. In their minds, all these totalitarian-like powers that the government wields over them are what make the citizenry free.
This phenomenon brings to mind my favorite quote, by Johann Goethe: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Ever since I began writing about the Kennedy assassination, there have been people who have asked me why the JFK assassination is still relevant given the passage of so many decades. The reason is simple: Prior to Trump, JFK was the last president to go to war with the national-security establishment over the future direction of the United States. Ever since Kennedy was assassinated, the power and influence of the CIA, the military-industrial complex, and the NSA have grown exponentially, as have the threats to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people, as JFK’s predecessor, President Eisenhower, warned.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, war with Syria and hostile relations with Russia mean, necessarily, more money, power, and influence for the CIA, the military, and the NSA.
Read more: Why Trump is right NATO is “obsolete”
Given Trump’s capitulation to the national-security establishment, it will be interesting to see what happens to those tens of thousands of pages of JFK assassination records that the national-security establishment insisted be kept secret until October 2017, when the JFK Records Act, which was enacted in 1992, mandates their release to the public.
The law mandates the release of those records, including redactions, unless — and it is a big “unless” — President Trump gives the CIA, Pentagon, or other federal agency another extension of time for continued secrecy, on grounds of “national security” of course. Don’t be surprised if another request for secrecy is made. There was a reason why these people wanted another 25 years of secrecy back in 1992. There is a distinct possibility that that reason still exists. Time will tell whether President Trump will capitulate on that issue as well.