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Mark Dankof’s America

“The Old American Republic is dead. The American Empire wants to destroy all of us who believe in Republic, not in Empire. I see no reason to believe the American public has the insight and the guts to stand up to this onslaught. We Are Truly Finished.”

I have been receiving a lot of mail from folks asking why I’ve taken a mild leave of absence from broadcasting and writing op-ed pieces for The Ugly Truth. I will appear from time to time, but on a more limited basis, both with The Ugly Truth and Press TV. I’ve been reassessing what good I’m actually doing, given the seemingly inexorable and disastrous direction the American Empire has embarked upon, and what seems like the absolute passivity and indifference of the American public to their own fate in all of this, not to mention the world. In more recent times, I’ve been working on theological articles while preparing to resume my thesis for my last degree along with some theological German study. I’m also job hunting to supplement my income as I assess the future. The bottom line is this: The title of this piece tells you what I’ve concluded about the country and the American people. It isn’t a happy endgame. What appears below are my latest thoughts at the present time.]

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dankofinwashingtondc2011As he was preparing to leave office in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that “America must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” Borrowing the title from the Frank Capra Defense Department propaganda films of World War II, documentary film maker Eugene Jarecki chronicled the Eisenhower warning in Why We Fight, a production that would win the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

I vaguely remember Eisenhower. What I didn’t know as a little boy in the summer of 1960 when my family piled into my Dad’s new white Plymouth Station Wagon to depart Alexandria, Virginia for McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, was the fact that Dad was working for the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC), the intelligence organization created by Eisenhower to work with the CIA and the AEC in monitoring Soviet nuclear tests, explosions, and missile sites around the world. I did not know that my father was acquainted with Eisenhower, Curtis LeMay, Paul Tibbets of the Enola Gay, and many other storied names of the Second World War and the Cold War that followed. I would learn a number of things about Dad in the decades that followed. There are many other things I never learned, even as he was losing both coherence and consciousness in the final days of his life in San Antonio in May of 2009. Allen Dulles was correct. There are some things that remain secret “from inception to eternity.”

In 1961, as a denizen of kindergarten at the Arthur S. Dudley Elementary School on an American Air Force reservation in Sacramento, I also had no idea that my father would also become acquainted with President Kennedy. All I knew was that Kennedy was the most handsome and dynamic man I’d ever seen on TV, with the most beautiful wife to match. With Kennedy in office, watching Arnold Palmer on TV winning the British Open, making many trips to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park to see Willie Mays in his prime, and trekking to old Kezar Stadium to watch the football 49ers, my idyllic childhood on the West Coast was wedded to an America filled with hope, youth, and limitless future. Mythology and visual images seemed to correspond with reality. The realities of what Seymour Hersh would reveal in his 1996 chronicle of the Kennedy years entitled “The Dark Side of Camelot,” did not correspond to my universe as a kid in the America of the early 1960s. More