The United States of Fear
The United States of Fear
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In his new book The United States of Fear, Tom Engelhardt makes clear that Americans should don their crash helmets and buckle their seat belts, because the United States is on the path to a major decline at a startling speed. Engelhardt offers a savage anatomy of how successive administrations in Washington took the “Soviet path”—pouring American treasure into the military, war, and national security—and so helped drive their country off the nearest cliff.
This is the startling tale of how fear was profitably shot into the national bloodstream, how the country—gripped by terror fantasies—was locked down, and how a brain-dead Washington elite fiddled (and profited) while America quietly burned.
Think of it as the story of how the Cold War really ended, with the triumphalist “sole superpower” of 1991 heading slowly for the same exit through which the Soviet Union left the stage twenty years earlier.
there go your bottled drinks. A youthful idiot flies toward Detroit with an ill-constructed bomb in his underwear, and suddenly they’re taking naked scans of you or threatening to grope your junk. Two bombs don’t go off in the cargo holds of two planes and all of a sudden sending things around the world threatens to become more problematic and expensive. Each time, the price of safety rises and some set of lucky corporations, along with the lobbyists and politicians who support them, get a
often absurd.” —Socialist Worker Praise for TomDispatch “One of my favorite websites.” —Bill Moyers “At a time when the mainstream media leave out half of what the public needs to know, while at the same time purveying oceans of official nonsense, the public needs an alternative source of news. Tom Engelhardt’s TomDispatch has been that for me. With unerring touch, he finds the stories I need to read, prefacing them each day with introductions that in themselves form a witty, hugely
and that, when the “second superpower” left the scene, the first was already heading for the exits, just ever so slowly and in a state of self-intoxicated self-congratulation. Nearly every decision in Washington since then, including Barack Obama’s to expand both the Afghan War and the war on terror, has only made what was, in 1991, one possible path seem like fate itself. Call up the Politburo in Washington. We’re in trouble. The Urge to Surge Just as 2010 ended, the U.S. military’s urge
forces teams are scouring the planet for old American Chinook helicopters so they can be well “cloaked” in planned future forays into Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province. That might be a little hard to imagine right now, but I guarantee you one thing: had some foreign news source reported such a plan, or had Craig Whitlock somehow uncovered it and included it in a piece—no matter how obscurely nestled—there would have been pandemonium in Washington. Congress would have held hearings.
Goes Up . . . I’m no expert on elections, but sometimes all you need is a little common sense. So let’s start with a simple principle: what goes up must come down. For at least thirty years now, what’s gone up is income disparity in this country. Paul Krugman called this period “the Great Divergence.” After all, between 1980 and 2005, “more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent” of Americans in terms of wealth, and today that 1 percent controls 24