THE BLOG
01/20/2015 10:42 am ET Updated Mar 22, 2015

Missing What's Being Built Right Before Our Eyes

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

From the point of view of the U.S. military and the national security state, the period from September 12, 2001 to late last night could be summed up in a single word: more. What Washington funded with your tax dollars was a bacchanalia of expansion intended, as is endlessly reiterated, to keep America "safe." But here's the odd thing: as the structure of what's always called "security" is built out ever further into our world and our lives, that world only seems to become less secure. Odder yet, that "more" is rarely a focus of media coverage, though its reality is glaringly obvious. The details may get coverage but the larger reality -- the thing being created in Washington -- seems of remarkably little interest.

That's why websites like TomDispatch matter. They offer the larger picture of a world that's being built right before our eyes but is somehow seldom actually seen -- that is, taken in meaningfully. America's Special Operations forces are a striking example of this phenomenon. The commando is, by now, a national culture hero, the guy who stands between Hell and us. But what special ops forces really do all -- and I mean all -- over the planet, doesn't seem of any particular interest to Americans in general or the mainstream media in particular. The way those "elite" forces have parlayed their popularity into a staggering growth rate and just what that growth and the actions that go with it actually mean in terms of, say, blowback... well, that's something you're simply not going to read much about, other than at a website like this one.

In fact, TomDispatch has focused on the spectacular growth of this country's special forces outfits, what that has meant globally, and the ethos of the organization for years now. Nick Turse, in particular, has in the past and again today with his "The Golden Age of Black Ops" done the kind of reporting on and assessment of special forces operations that should be the coin of the realm, but couldn't be rarer in our world. If you want to know, for instance, just how many countries special forces operatives have set foot in from 2011-2014 (150 on a planet with only 196 nations), TomDispatch is the place to come, not the giant media outfits that straddle the consciousness of the planet.