Evergreene Digest: Our National Security State: A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity

Welcome to the new world of American insecurity and to the nightmarish inheritance we are preparing for our children and grandchildren.

Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 | As 2015 begins, let’s take a trip down memory lane.  Imagine that it’s January 1963.  For the last three years, the United States has unsuccessfully faced off against a small island in the Caribbean, where a revolutionary named Fidel Castro seized power from a corrupt but U.S.-friendly regime run by Fulgensio Batista.  In the global power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union in which much of the planet has chosen sides, Cuba, only 90 miles from the American mainland, finds itself in the eye of the storm.  Having lost Washington’s backing, it has, however, gained the support of distant Moscow, the other nuclear-armed superpower on the planet.


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In October 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower instituted an embargo on U.S. trade with the island that would, two years later, be strengthened and made permanent by John F. Kennedy.  On entering the Oval Office, Kennedy also inherited a cockamamie CIA scheme to use Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.  That led, in April 1961, to the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in which, despite major Agency support, the exiles were crushed (after which the CIA would hatch various mad plots to assassinate the new Cuban leader).  What followed in October 1962 was “the most dangerous moment in human history” — the Cuban missile crisis — a brief period when many Americans, my 18-year-old self included, genuinely thought we might soon be nuclear toast.

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book is, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (with an introduction by Glenn Greenwald).

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Related:

Pilger | The Silent Military Coup That Took Over Washington, John Pilger, Guardian (UK)

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