Dear ITT Ideologist: NATO’s Nadir, and the FBI’s Rubbish

Pete Karman

(Illustration by Terry Laban )

Dear ITT Ideologist,

As the nation’s incoming secretary of defense, I’m seeking counsel from all quarters to assure that our global strategic posture remains erect. My question to you is the same one recently posed by my predecessor, Robert Gates: How do we deal with the failure of our NATO allies to take threats more seriously by buying our weapons and joining our wars?

Leon Panetta, Washington, D.C.

Dear Secretary Panetta,

I too was dismayed when NATO sloughed off warnings by both Presidents Bush and Obama that Iran’s prospective missiles posed a proleptic danger to Iceland. Likewise, NATO’s out-of-hand dismissal of CIA secret intelligence on the Bolivian menace to Denmark all but made me heartsick. 

The problem is that Europeans are obliged by their socialistic governments to take month-long vacations. Many sign up for package tours to countries we rank as evil and aggressive. Thus it’s hard for them to feel fear and animus for those nations – except, of course, if they suffered bed bugs or some tourist scam. Americans, on the other hand, rarely travel beyond the local mall or shooting range. It’s simple as pie to drive them to nail-biting anxiety about exotically named lands and remote tribes. Since it’s easier to keep the ignorant ignorant than make the aware oblivious, I fear there is no good answer to NATO’s danger deficiency.

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I see that in addition to granting himself the personal prerogatives of offing individuals by way of assassination and nations by way of war, President Obama has permitted the FBI to dig into the private lives of humdrum as well as hot-headed citizens. Ours being a throwaway economy, the Feds have also been given leave to rifle through our rubbish. I was hoping you might come up with a way to protect the privacy of our poubelles.

Dennis Dross, Jetsam, Mo.

Dear Mr. Dross,

As you probably know, American political life is limited to three groupings: Democrats, Republicans and those subject to surveillance. Obama’s directive to the FBI acknowledges that the first two are waning while the latter is waxing. As revulsion rises at the stink of the politics of Business by the Reps and As Usual by the Dems, Obama and company want a tighter watch on the increasing numbers of citizens who are getting tired of merely holding their noses. So the Feds will be parsing more of our pixels and digging through our detritus. While you need hacking skills to protect yourself from the former, a simple shredder should guard you from the latter – at least until Obama bans shredders for obstructing injustice.

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Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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