Archive for Admiral McRaven

An Open Letter to Admiral McRaven

Posted in An Open Letter to Admiral McRaven, On Donald Trump with tags , on October 25, 2019 by playthell

A Highly Decorated Soldier…an Officer and Gentleman

History Not Racist Mythology is the Balm to Heal America!

Dear Admiral

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude on behalf of a thankful nation for your brave, selfless and heroic service, both in uniform and the courageous fight for what you believe is right now as a civilian. Coming from generations of soldiers that served as officers and enlisted men, and having served myself – although my generation was the first that was allowed to serve alongside white soldiers in a racist American military- I have a high regard for the character of the men and women of the armed forces, even though I often disagree with their mission. But I place the blame where it properly belongs, on the misguided civilians who make policies that the military is tasked with carrying out.

And although I regard many of these “candy ass” civilians as unworthy of directing our armed forces, it remains the best method of exercising control over the military establishment as free citizens in a constitutional democracy. Indeed, I have no doubt that along with creating a system of checks and balances among the three branches of our government, establishing an independent judiciary and a free press whose role is protected by the First Amendment, placing the military under civilian control is an act of prescient genius that has prevented a military coup in a country with the most powerful military establishment in world history for over two hundred years.

Yet it is precisely the apolitical nature of the active duty military that makes your decision to speak out as a retired military hero returned to civilian life so important. But even so, I know that speaking out so boldly criticizing the Commander-In-Chief could not have been an easy decision for you, having lived most of your adult life under military discipline. And the fact that you would be attacked by the Trumpanzee pack – scurrilous amoral jackals whose weapons of mass distraction are lies and character assassination – must have given you cause for pause.

For a man whose life has been guided by duty and honor, your good name is far more precious than gold. Indeed, as Iago says in Shakespeare’s Othello, a tragic tale about a noble general: “Good name in man and woman dear my lord/Is the immediate jewel of their souls.” Hence it is yet another demonstration of your devotion to serving this nation that you have exposed your hard won reputation to the poisonous slings and arrows of outrageous charlatans in Dirty Devious Donald’s dishonorable legions of liars.

Since the best defense against lies is the truth, you have captured the high ground in your critique of the dirty deeds perpetrated by treacherous treasonous Trump and his feckless fearful flunkies posing as public servants. By choosing the sterling example of those who serve in the military and foreign intelligence services, routinely risking their lives in the shadows without fanfare or accolade standing guard over the nation, you have justly celebrated virtue and shamed the civilian charlatans! In an Op-Ed Column published in the New York Times boldly titled “Our Republic is Under Attack From the President,” you tell us:

“Last week I attended two memorable events that reminded me why we care so very much about this nation and also why our future may be in peril. The first was a change of command ceremony for a storied Army unit in which one general officer passed authority to another. The second event was an annual gala for the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) Society that recognizes past and present members of the intelligence and Special Operations community for their heroism and sacrifice to the nation. What struck me was the stark contrast between the words and deeds heralded at those events — and the words and deeds emanating from the White House”.

You go on to paint a revealing portrait of the dramatic contract in character between the amoral con man who is Commander-In-Chief, and the brave soldiers he commands, by offering a compelling representative anecdote.

“On the parade field at Fort Bragg, N.C., where tens of thousands of soldiers have marched either preparing to go to war or returning from it, the two generals, highly decorated, impeccably dressed, cleareyed and strong of character, were humbled by the moment. They understood the awesome responsibility that the nation had placed on their shoulders. They understood that they had an obligation to serve their soldiers and their soldiers’ families. They believed in the American values for which they had been fighting for the past three decades. They had faith that these values were worth sacrificing everything for — including, if necessary, their lives.”

It is quite enough to study the poignant portrait of your leadership model in order to readily understand why you are appalled by the lying, ignorant, incompetent, braggadocios, draft dodging, candy ass coward planted in the White House with the extensive assistance of Russian military intelligence. Since you know for a fact that all the “Deep State” blather is bullshit, you take seriously the findings of the Mueller Report – conducted by a former Marine Corp combat officer and life long public servant – and the estimate by the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who says Russian intelligence units directed 157 million disinformation messages at an unsuspecting US electorate; all designed to hurt Hillary and help Dirty Donnie!

Hence the full measure of contempt you must feel for the “insane clown” – properly named by crack journalist Matt Taibi, after covering Trump on the campaign trail – that is presently befouling the White House, defies description even in in the powerful language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. I know, because words are my game, and I am challenged daily to find suitable invective to describe the scurrilous deeds of Dirty Donnie Dipshit! You will, of course, recognize the latter term as the common military designation for sad sack fuck-ups! Aye, in all of the above our views are Sympatico Sir.

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But, alas, as I read further into your much celebrated text, our views sharply diverge…for we are confronted with a persistent American Dilemma: The vast contradiction between the universal humanist ideals such as “all men are created equal,” expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and the realities of race and power in America. And it has been ever thus! In your enthusiastic celebration of these high ideals alas, you simply do what millions of white Americans have done for centuries now: Deny reality! Of course, you white folks, mostly hetero-sexual males, have been able to get away with shamelessly manipulating reality into a self-glorifying myth, because you own and control the apparatus of mass indoctrination.

Fortunately, by virtue of the fact that we live in a country where the government is constitutionally restrained from suppressing the publication of books they may not like, an army of enterprising historians armed with an array of formidable research techniques, have published a treasure trove of fact based historical narratives. And they tell, as Othello said, “a round unvarnished tale.” Unfortunately Sir, your text appears to be innocent of their findings; otherwise you have engaged in a cold blooded act of subterfuge in your narrative of our nation. Which begs the question….why? Are you, like most Euro-Americans, so ashamed of your actual history that you willingly recycle easily disproved time worn myths?

It is both fitting and proper that as a moral Euro-American man you would feel shame at fundamental facts regarding the founding of the United States of America – which was made possible through genocide, armed theft of massive tracts of land abundant with rich resources, and 250 years of chattel slavery, a system in which the children of African Americans were seized from their parents and auctioned off like live stock…which was the legal standing of my ancestors during the long ordeal of slavery in this “Land of the free!”

The brilliant abolitionist writer and orator Frederick Douglass, who had personally endured the horrors of bondage in America, said during a famous 4th of July speech in the turbulent 1850’s, a period of instability and crisis much like today, that US slavery was a practice which “would disgrace a nation of savages.” And he astounded his mostly white audience in Rochester New York by declaring their claims to be a free and just society: “mere bombast,” “fraud,” and “unholy license!” Unless you are a soulless white supremacist Sir, you must be ashamed of the horrendous crimes which were essential to the founding and growth of the United States of America.

Yet judging by this statement you, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, seem unable to distinguish between the myth and the reality of America.

“Later that week, at the O.S.S. Society dinner, there were films and testimonials to the valor of the men and women who had fought in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. We also celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, recognizing those brave Americans and allies who sacrificed so much to fight Nazism and fascism. We were reminded that the Greatest Generation went to war because it believed that that wherever there was oppression, tyranny or despotism, America would be there. We would be there because freedom mattered.”

This passage encapsulates all that is wrong with the master narrative of American civilization; as history it is farce but works as propaganda because it is partially true. Yet it is such transparent drivel it could only be uttered by an ignoramus who knows but little of American history, or a white supremacist charlatan for whom official crimes against people of color based on a master race ideology doesn’t count.

It ignores the fact that Hitler confessed to adopting much of his “master race” ideology from the writings of Madison Grant, a white American leader of the Eugenics movement. In a letter to Grant Adolph enthusiastically opined: “Your Book is My Bible,” in reference to Grant’s racist 1917 treatise “The Passing of the Great Race.” This is the Bible upon which Hitler based his ideology of Teutonic superiority! Are you aware of these well established historical facts Sir?

Do you not know that the blueprint for Nazi immigration policy was the racist American “National Origins Act,” which gave preference to certain racial groups; a policy Trump would love to resurrect, and was roundly praised by Hitler? That Nazi policies regarding euthanizing “defective people” and the forced sterilization of women deemed unfit for procreation were adopted from the American Eugenicists? That the concentration camps were inspired by American Indian reservations, and the corporation IBM provided the system for counting and classifying the doomed Jewish inmates? Are you really ignorant of the fact the Nuremberg laws discriminating against German Jews on the basis of “race,” were based on US laws sanctioning a racial caste system in which Afro-Americans could be legally oppressed by segregation and discrimination?

Alas, the argument that the “Greatest Generation” of white Americans “went to war because it believed that wherever there was oppression, tyranny or despotism mattered” is hypocritical prattle. A reality check sir: Avery Brundage, who headed the American Olympic Committee, was a well known Nazi sympathizer who would not allow Jewish Sprinters on the US relay team to compete because they might win and displease Hitler; the Black Olympic champion Jesse Owens was treated better in Nazi Germany than in his home state of Alabama; Nazi prisoners of war in the US were treated better than the black troops guarding them, and they were allowed to sit down and eat in the dining car when traveling by train in the US, while black American troops traveling on the train were forced to stand and eat out of paper bags!

Indeed, the legal oppression of Black Americans and the master race ideology that justified it had much in common with the Nazi attitude toward “inferior races,” which was it’s spawn. Throughout our history Black Americans were routinely denied basic human rights such as “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” which were celebrated ideals in the Declaration of Independence in the 18th century, yet had not been fully achieved by most Black Americans in the middle of the 20th century, when “The Greatest Generation” of white men went off to war in defense of these ideals elsewhere in the world.

In fact, many of the white “Founding Father’s” held Black Americans as slave property, including Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration, and George Washington, leader of the Continental army and first President of the United States of America! Recent scholarship such as “Slave Nation” a study of the motives for the US war of independence from England by two law professors, and “The Counter-Revolution of 1776,”an in-depth reinterpretation of the causes and objectives of the white English colonist who revolted against their mother country, convincingly demonstrate that the fear of losing their slave property was a far greater impetus for the revolt against Great Britian – where slavery had been recently outlawed by a decision in the Somerset Case – than defending anybody’s freedom.

As I write the legacy of Afro-American oppression and economic dispossession is manifest in the yawning wealth gap between black and white families in the US. The failure to face this fact with candor demonstrates the extent to which the white majority is willing to embrace fiction as fact, and accept comforting lies over troublesome truths.

And when whites are force fed the truth about their history of racial tyranny – such as in a recent depiction of the murderous violence launched against the black community of Tulsa Oklahoma by whites jealous of their economic success – they respond with shock and denial. And “Slave Play” a work that takes a candid look at the tragic legacy of race in America by young Afro-American playwrite  Jeremy O Harris, is setting  Broadway afire as I write. This black play is literally the talk of the Great White Way.

Yet,  such atrocities against black Americans, committed by our white countrymen, statesman and citizen alike, by legal and extra-legal, means, is a persistent theme that runs through the whole American narrative. This is why there has been such a widespread and consistent effort to suppress and deny the teaching of Afro-American history. And as a co-founder of the WEB DuBois department – the first free standing, degree granting Black Studies department in the world – I know whereof I speak.

The question raised by this history of lies and obfuscation which lay at the heart of the sanitized American saga, where well established truths are routinely excluded from the Master Narrative of American civilization promoted in our public schools and broadcast throughout the media ad nauseum, is to what extent has this duplicity desensitized white Americans to self-serving lies? And how much has this history contributed to a willingness by millions of citizens to accept a pathological compulsive liar as their president?

Alas, the fact that they not only accept him, but demand that their representatives in Congress defend him – despite the proven fact that Russian military intelligence helped put him in office – tells us tells us that the moral rot so evident in the character of Donald Trump, whose flawed and failing presidency you have now stepped forward to bravely denounce, mirror the deep moral failings of our nation that was evident long before the rise of Dirty Donald.

Yet even in this courageous and noble action, you too have failed to tell the unvarnished truth about who we are, and in doing so you have added rank insult to our very real injuries. How do you rationalize this Sir? Are you even aware that you are contributing to a dangerous fog of ignorance and confusion? Do you ever reflect upon the fact that the Justifications of President Andrew Jackson and Supreme Court Justice Marshall used to steal “Indian Lands” was that “America would remain a wilderness unless whites possessed it. But the white stewardship of this land has destroyed the environment and is leading to the extinction of our species?

A real Christian might conclude that Thomas Jefferson was right to despair for the fate of his new nation when he reflected “upon the fact that God is just.”  One thing is certain, when confronted with the facts of slavery and genocide that were central to the creation of the United States, the portrait of America you present here conjures up lines from Shakespeare’s Tragedy Macbeth: Tis a tale “Told by and idiot/ full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing.”

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Playthell G, Benjamin
Harlem, October 25 2019
PS: For a fuller understanding of American History Sir, consult the following:

Dr. Gerald Horne: The Counter-Revolution of 1776

To fill in other important holes in your knowledge of ignored American history read some of the books by Dr. Horne cited by the host introducing Dr. Horne.  With this your REAL education in US history has begun in earnest!

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  From Slavery to Emancipation 

A Documentary Film

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On the Plight of Black Americans 20 years after Nazism’s Defeat

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/memphis/#part01

On: “The Color of Law”

 Discussion of a study of how the segregated black “ghettos” and the wealth gap between white and black Americans is REALLY THE RESULT OF US GOVERNMENT POLICIES!!!!  And whether Afro-Americans should be paid “reparations.”  With Scholar Richard Rothstein and award winning journalist Ta Nehesi Coates.

The Hidden Perils of White Supremacy under Trump

Professor Tricia Rose

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ON THE ORDEAL OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Aka “American Indians”

Aftermath of the Holocaust Today!

How the Land Was Stolen

“American Indian” Activist Russell Means Recounts US Government Corruption Crimes against his People before Congress.