“Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” by Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” makes for quite eye-opening reading. He traces the recent history of “terrorism” and indicts the U.S. government heavily for its role in inciting domestic and international terrorism. He explains how Waco–the largest massacre of Americans by the feds since Wounded Knee, where 82 Branch Davidians died at the hands of federal agents, including thirty women and twenty-five children–led to the Oklahoma City bombing and details some of his fascinating correspondence with Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of the bombing. He explains how the U.S. funded Osama bin Laden’s activities for many years. He includes an impressive list of U.S. “operations” in various parts of the globe spanning several decades. He explains how anti-drug laws have failed miserably at stopping drug traffic while diminishing considerably the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, including arbitrary seizures of property without substantial justification. He points out that Clinton passed an Anti-Terrorism Act on April 20, 1996, restricting civil liberties, such as the ? law permitting posse comitatus, the domestic use of U.S. armies, which is prohibited by the U.S. constitution. At points, he seems to espouse conspiracy theories about McVeigh’s helpers, coverups of the Waco and Oklahoma City incidents, and right-wing religious affiliations. He ends with an essay that points out, among other facts, that the “1950 tax on corporate profits accounted for 25 percent of federal revenue; in 1999 only 10.1 percent.” Yet Shrub is still asking for more corporate tax cuts! The burden of humungous military spending in the absence of any real major enemies of consequence is an albatross the U.S. bears at great peril, both domestically and internationally… who can show the leadership to turns this mess around?