The Wretched Mind of the American Authoritarian

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Salon.com

The Wretched Mind of the American Authoritarian

Decadent governments often spawn a decadent citizenry.  A 22-year-old Nebraska resident was arrested yesterday for waterboarding his girlfriend as she was tied to a couch, because he wanted to know if she was cheating on him with another man; I wonder where he learned that?  There are less dramatic though no less nauseating examples of this dynamic.  In The Chicago Tribune today, there is an Op-Ed from Jonah Goldberg -- the supreme, living embodiment of a cowardly war cheerleader -- headlined:  "Why is Assange still alive?"  It begins this way:

I'd like to ask a simple question: Why isn't Julian Assange dead? . . . WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. . . .

So again, I ask: Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?

It's a serious question.

He ultimately concludes that "it wouldn't do any good to kill him, given the nature of the Web" -- whatever that means -- and reluctantly acknowledges:  "That's fine. And it's the law. I don't expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him."  What he wants the Government to do to "stop" Assange is left unsaid -- tough-guy neocons love to beat their chest and demand action without having the courage to specify what they mean -- but his question ("Why isn't Julian Assange dead?") was published in multiple newspapers around the country today.

Christian Whiton, a former Bush State Department official, wasn't as restrained in his Fox News column last week, writing:

Rather, this [the WikiLeaks disclosure] is an act of political warfare against the United States. . . . .Here are some of the things the U.S. could do: . . .Explore opportunities for the president to designate WikiLeaks and its officers as enemy combatants, paving the way for non-judicial actions against them.

I emailed Whiton and told him I'd like to do a podcast interview with him for Salon about his WikiLeaks proposal and he replied:  "Thank you for the invitation, but I am starting a trip tomorrow and will be on a plane just about all day."  I replied that it didn't have to be the next day -- I'd be happy to do it any day that was convenient for him -- and he then stopped answering.  As I said, the real objective is for them to beat their chest in public and show everyone how tough they are -- take 'em out, Whiton roared -- but they then scamper away when called upon to be specific about what they mean or to defend it (let alone to participate in the violence they relentlessly urge).   Whiton was just echoing his fellow war cheerleader, torture advocate Marc Thiessen, who wrote this in The Washington Post, under the headline "WikiLeaks Must be Stopped"

The government has a wide range of options for dealing with him. It can employ not only law enforcement but also intelligence and military assets to bring Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business.

"Military assets":  apparently, according to this brave and battle-tested warrior -- Marc Thiessen -- the U.S. can and should just send a drone over London or Stockholm and eradicate Assange, or just send some ground troops into Western Europe to abduct him.

Read the full article at Salon.com

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

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