Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Slowly Destroying Us

by William Arkin, Phase Zero We nuked another American city last month. April 23rd, to be exact. A fake terrorist group was accused of the crime, but make no mistake about it, we did it, so addicted are we to both the rush of the endorphins and our fascination with the end of times. It was just a military exercise, but its implication is clear: After 14 years, after the supposed decimation of al Qaeda, after billions have been spent on TSA and immigration control and homeland security, after the FBI has enlisted all of policedom in its intelligence-led regimentation, after every fricking speck and shred that can be found has been collected and analyzed by NSA and its friends, we’ve made no progress in the war against the terror phantom. The very scenario imagined by a terrified Bush administration the day after 9/11 still holds sway. Weapons of mass destruction are just that powerful. They make us stupid with genuflection. WMD pushed us into war with Iraq as much as any Bush or journalist; they are responsible for the Katrina disaster nearly ten years ago, when the government dropped so many balls by focusing on the big-boy game of terror. They still claim center stage. In the minds of war planners (the only thing that the federal government has that is even close to strategists who influence future capabilities), not only is a terrorist nuclear attack still considered plausible, it’s their ultimate agenda, the scenario that trumps all others. The big one is so big that despite the agenda that everyone agrees upon – getting our shit together just in the areas of shoring up defenses and strengthening our infrastructure (read: Amtrak) – nothing else can get any traction or real money. We remain hostage to endless warring in order to forestall the implausible, but also throw up our hands and constantly surrender to putting the military in charge. This time, the Hiroshima-sized bomb went off at the corner of 13th and Central Street in Kansas City, Missouri. By 6 a.m. the next morning there were 60,000 estimated fatalities and another 135,000 were missing or unaccounted for. The mock nuclear attack is part of a large-scale military exercise called Vibrant Response, an annual drill that began with the activation of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) after 9/11. The “play” took place at the Indiana-based Joint Maneuver Training Center from April 23-May 8. According to the PR fluff, Vibrant Response tests the “ability to respond on short notice to a natural or man-made disaster.” This year’s exercise tested 119 different units and over 600 people “working together to save lives, mitigate suffering, and restore a city to normality after a simulated catastrophic incident.” It’s what the military (and now the rest of the federal government) refers to as “consequence management.” In other words, dealing with the consequences of certain failure and disaster and not its prevention. In this fake world of “preparedness,” El Zahir, which sounds like a cross between al Qaeda and a mariachi band, are named as the bad guys. Continue Reading>>>

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