Fear is the fuel for military-industrial complex

In case you were wondering why you should hide under the covers these days (aside from the coronavirus), the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center has just released a report itemizing the top threats facing the country.

The first question we should be asking is why such a report is published at all. One shouldn't require a report from Washington dictating what to fear. We should be able to look around on a daily basis and see what presents a threat. Typically, that would mean muggings, theft and other garden-variety domestic criminality. Government investment would then flow to local policing in a bid to curtail these crimes. The impact of the increased funding would be measurable in terms of local crime reduction.

The problem with that scenario is that military-industrial-complex shareholders wouldn't be getting paid. The fear industry is big business for both government and its private contractors, and we can't have beat cops getting all the funding to actually do something measurably useful.

So here comes a federal report to instruct you on what you need to fear. The report serves as a blueprint for how to funnel cash into the pockets of federal agencies and their military-industrial cronies to keep the charade going. The government is here to tell you what poses a danger to you. Ready?

Among the countries listed as "actors targeting the United States" is Cuba. Seriously. Ay, caramba! Let's panic like it is 1962! The report fails to offer any specific explanation of the purported Cuban threat to America, leaving it to you to fantasize about your fate at the hands of the Cuban government in the post-Castro era. It's like one of those "choose your own adventure" books. Perhaps the government couldn't meet the challenge of explaining how a tiny island nation crippled by decades of sanctions could pose any kind of danger to an economic, technological and military superpower.

Next up, the Axis of Perpetual Government Spending: Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. Walk up to any 10 people at Costco as they sling trays of giant muffins into their carts and ask whether they feel that their way of life is threatened by any of these countries. Or, as a fellow motorist sits fuming in gridlocked Los Angeles traffic, sucking in smog against a wildfire-charred landscape, lower your window and ask: "Excuse me, sir, aren't you grateful that the federal government has decided to spare no cost in fighting the biggest menaces to your well-being − Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei and Kim Jong Un?"

For those who aren't convinced that nation-states on the other side of the planet represent an imminent danger, the government has also tossed in a few shadowy entities, including ISIS and al-Qaida. Never mind that it was U.S. government support for the so-called "Syrian rebels" that strengthened ISIS and al-Qaida in the first place. These terrorist groups, inadvertently fueled by $500 million of your tax cash, will now be defeated with another blank check written by you. That is, if the government doesn't first use it to wipe out the jihadist mop-up crew otherwise known as Hezbollah, which is also on the National Counterintelligence and Security Center's list of enemies.

Finally, "ideologically motivated entities" such as "public disclosure organizations" are included as a new threat to American security, including those that may not have formal ties to any foreign intelligence services. That sounds an awful lot like a description of adversarial journalism − the kind that routinely uncovers government wrongdoing, manipulation and abuse of the public trust. It's almost as if the government is afraid of losing its monopoly on narratives that it wants to sell to the public in pursuit of its agendas. If not for "public disclosure organizations" and facts that the establishment considers inconvenient, America's sons and daughters likely would have been sent to risk their lives in more pointless wars to defend little more than the economic interests of an elite few. 

National security has become grossly synonymous with financial security − not for the average American, but for those who rely on the endless flow of your tax dollars. The audience for this report is meant to be you, not so much to inform you about threats you can do nothing about, but rather to convince you that you need protection from far-flung menaces and that you must pay government for that privilege.

Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her column is distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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