UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XXX: April 9, 2006, 7:00 p.m.

Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2007). Prologue: The Blowback Trilogy. Nemesis is “the last volume of an inadvertent trilogy” that also includes Blowback (2000) and The Sorrows of Empire (2004). The response to the Sept. 11 attacks (2-5): an indicator that “a well-entrenched militarism lay at the heart of our imperial adventures” (5). America’s empire of bases (5-7). Costs about $750 billion a year (7-8). The November 2004 election made “his wars ours” (8). The result: “a growing international distrust and disgust in the face of our contempt for the rule of law” (8). Political institutions seem impotent to save the U.S. as we know it; “only an upsurge of direct democracy might be capable of doing so” (10; 11-12). Ch. 1: Militarism and the Breakdown of Constitutional Government. U.S. political system’s response to its imperilment has been weak (13-15). The historical balance-of-powers framework “has almost completely disintegrated” (17; 15-18). The reason: perpetual war (18-19). Militarism has created “a large corps of desk murderers in our executive branch and the highest ranks of our armed forces” (23; 19-26). Iraq sanctions (26-29) and the post-9/11 “atrocity of silence” (29) (29-33). Bush, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, Myers, Sanchez, Miller,, and Warner “disgraced the United States” by allowing Abu Ghraib to happen and not responding to its revelation (33-45). The failure to protect Iraq’s cultural treasures (45-53). Ch. 2: Comparative Imperial Pathologies: Rome, Britain, and America. Roman and American history compared (54-71). British and American history compared (71-88). “Over any fairly lengthy period of time, successful imperialism requires that a domestic republic or a domestic democracy change into a domestic tyranny” (88). Rome chose empire; Britain chose democracy (89). Ch. 3: Central Intelligence Agency: The President’s Private Army. The CIA is the “president’s private army” (93; 90-93). The “perform other such functions and duties” clause in the National Security Act of 1947 “turned the CIA into the personal secret, unaccountable army of the president,” one that “has often been ordered into battle without Congress having declared war, as the Constitution requires” (93). Covert operations, with no congressional oversight of any kind until 1974 (93-95). As an “intelligence” agency, it has failed (95-98; 135-36). Failure to reform its intelligence functions (98-102). Failure of Congress to control the CIA (1003); the case of Chile (103-10); the case of Afghanistan (110-20); extraordinary renditions (120-34). Ch. 4: U.S. Military Bases in Other People’s Countries. America’s empire of bases (136-42). Post-9/11 & post-Iraq “Global Posture Review”: 1) Main Operating Bases (MOBs); Forward Operation Sites (FOSs); Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs) (143-49). Criticism, and nationalist reaction, with special attention to Germany (149-57). U.S. plans for bases in Iraq (158-63). Latin America, with special attention to Paraguay (163-70). Ch. 5: How American Imperialism Actually Works: The SOFA in Japan. Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) and attendant problems (171-75). Civil and criminal jurisdiction (175-77). The case of Okinawa, which has 37 of 88 U.S. military bases in Japan (177-93). Marine

Corps Air Station Futenma, site of a 2004 helicopter crash (193-98). U.S. bases an exacerbating factor in East Asian international relations (198-207). Ch. 6: Space: The Ultimate Imperialist Project. The uniquely American project to create “the equivalent of bases in space” is “a tale about the military-industrial complex at its most persistent”(210). “Virtually all of the air force’s rhetoric about a future space war is ideological posturing” (216). Space debris in low orbits makes this project highly dangerous (217-19). Redundancy a better and more affordable approach than “defense” (219-20). The problematic Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) (22023). The fundamental problem: an inability to detect decoys (223-25). The unpromising airborne laser (ABL) (22526). Terminal-phase interception “not much more promising” (226; 226-27). “In fact, the whole Pentagon effort has been devoted to meeting a non-credible threat from rogue-nation ballistic missiles while ignoring a genuine challenge to the very concept of missile defense—that of Russia and its Topol-M ICBM” (228; 22829). Secrecy has allowed massive “official corruption” (229-30). But “fear” is real motivating factor (230-31). “”[A]lmost nothing said officially by the administration, the Pentagon, or the Congress on the subject of missile defense can be taken at face value” (232). The GPS system (232-36). The problem of satellite defense (236-40). All anti-satellite weapons should be outlawed (241-42).

Ch. 7: The Crisis of the American Republic. Despite earlier presidents’ excesses, the Bush administration’s monarchical tendencies are “unprecedented” in U.S. history (244; 243-45). Subversion of the Freedom of Information Act (245-48). The “unitary executive theory of the presidency” is “simply a bald-faced assertion of presidential supremacy (251; 248-59). Congress guilty of “partisanship, complacency, and corruption” (259; 25968). Incapacity of the judicial balance to assert itself (268-69). Military coup “unlikely” in U.S. (269). “The likelihood is that the United States will maintain a façade of constitutional government and drift along until financial bankruptcy overtakes it” (269; 269-71). U.S. dependence on “military Keynesianism” (271-77). Review of author’s trilogy on U.S. empire (278-79). Notes. 51 pp. Acknowledgments. Wife Sheila; Tom Engelhardt; agent Sandra Dijkstra; poet John Shreffler. Index. 22 pp. About the Author. Lives near San Diego. Author of Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire. Appears in the film “Why We Fight” (2005). The American Empire Project. Conceived by Tom Engelhardt and Steven Fraser. Thirteen other books named, six which Digging Deeper has considered so far.