Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turkey Hash

Not that this is America, and not that this is a Bush ploy, but it sure could have been!
Turkish investigators grilled more than 40 military figures on Tuesday, including the retired heads of navy and air force, after mass arrests over an alleged plot to oust the Islamist-rooted government.

In the most dramatic move to date against the armed forces, anti-terror police detained the suspects Monday over a purported plan codenamed "Operation Sledgehammer", drawn up in 2003 soon after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power.

Investigators say the suspects planned to bomb mosques and escalate tensions with Greece in a bid to force the downing of a Turkish jet over the Aegean, thus discrediting the government and ultimately leading to its downfall.

Turkey has long been a fairly reliable ally for the US in the Middle East region. In its bid to have full membership in the European Union, it has accepted its role as bulwark against the Islamist wave in less hospitable countries it borders. A strong democratic tradition coupled with a vigilant military (for those occasions when an Islamist government has taken over the reins) has kept Turkey in good standing with the West.

And yet, once again, the military was about to step in.

The Turks are at the center of several controversies in the region that will require US attention, most notably its attitude towards the Kurdish population that it shares with Iraq as well as its frosty relations with Greece and Armenia.

So they are a strategic partner with America in preventing terrorist attacks, and in keeping diplomatic channels open. Likely this is why long term strategy of the US has been to keep Turkey our partner.
While it's a stretch to say that what is happening in Turkey could happen here, the job of this post is to stretch. So yes, I'm admitting that this is an entirely made up scenario, but given events of the past ten years, I don't think it's impossible any longer.
The way the nation has been torn apart with regional and ideological fights, not only "us against them" but "us against us," weakens us. It makes us vulnerable to predations both internal and external.
Internally, the economic crisis plus the ginned-up infighting, coming mostly from the far right, has created instability. Instabilty tries to correct itself, but that takes time. It also leaves opportunity out there for power grabs, both by thems that ain't got but more likely, by thems that gots.
See, if you look carefully at the American economy in 2008 and 2009, who got hurt? It wasn't the banks, altho they suffered some pain. It sure as heck wasn't the car companies: GM has new owners, but that's about that.
No, it was you. And me. And millions of Americans who put money into our homes and our retirement plans. Money that was never guaranteed by anyone.
Given the predatory nature of American corporations these past thirty years...I mean, come on! Is it fair they asked for free speech with all the money they can generate?...we can assume that whatever power they could grab, they did.
Power is a self-reinforcing thing: get a little, and it builds on the power you already had, which attracts even more power. Yes, eventually things fall apart and chaos reigns, but in a society like America, it's not hard to conceive of a situation where one company or sector amasses so much power and influence, like MicroSoft in computers and software, or Wal-mart in retail, that it can dictate terms not only nationally but globally.
Is it so hard to imagine a situation where that power is extended to governance? To even the military? Krupp and the Nazis. Boeing and the state of Washington. Both examples of a corporation wielding influence over a government.
And if it's already happened from time to time, how hard is it to imagine a situation where the military becomes a corporate police department? Posse comitatus notwithstanding, what if instead of US forces, Blackwater or KBR was sent in to quell civil uprisings against this form of tyranny? Troops like those were used in New Orleans after Katrina. It's not hard to imagine them being deployed against, say, students sitting in at Columbia.
With the full-throated backing of the hate-mongers on the right.
I wonder if, even then, they'd realize what they have wrought on this great nation with their bluster and insanity?