The Despicable USA – Theater of Dystopia. A Nation Run by Gangsters


“Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? Only the Shadow knows.”– opening line in “The Shadow” radio show from 1930 to 1954. It became a pop culture icon.

The Trump impeachment process that began in late September 2019 continued the ugly, visible spectacle for those choosing to see the historic dark shadow of US culture and its pretend politics. Politicians from both major political parties, and the corporate media, take the pretend-society extremely seriously – integrity of the Constitution is at stake, the rule of law must be preserved, etc! Oh my god! And how the Democrats are obsessed with demonizing Russia and Putin, ushering in another earth-threatening Cold-Hot War. What?!

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.” –US author Stephen King.

Going after a member of an internal political rival relating to Ukraine matters to achieve political gain is apparently considered impolite, and therefore impeachable. But how easily and intentionally the Democrats forget their grossly illegal 2014 coup under Obama, overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected president, utilizing $5 billion to assure an anti-Russian, pro-Western government, protected by Nazi-oriented security forces. (Azov Battalion image right)

In contrast, serious US criminal, unlawful, and unconstitutional behaviors occurred during the 135-day period of the impeachment process, September 24, 2019 to February 5, 2020 without notice or concern. For example, in that period alone there were an estimated 2,025 drones striking terror in at least seven countries – inflicting death sentences from the air with missiles traveling faster than the speed of sound. US policy declares any person killed in those strikes as “enemy killed in action” (EKIA), and anyone who appears to be male over the age of 16 is a legitimate target.[1] The obvious result: the criminal murder, maiming, and displacement of countless human beings worth as much as we are. Can we viscerally understand this?

I know a bit of the fear experiencing being targeted by incoming aerial missiles. In 1969, during the US criminal war, I was in servitude as night security commander of an airbase which, at the time, was the most mortared of the ten 7th Air Force installations in Viet Nam.[2] On high anxiety alert all night long, with heavily armed security personnel ringing the perimeter, I found myself shallow breathing to enable increased capacity to hear slight movements – rustling in water or vegetation off the perimeter, or be prepared for incoming, or ground sapper attacks. I was able to call in aerial fire and illumination support within 2 minutes if needed. We had the advantage of a rotating anti-mortar radar unit (when the generator was working), which issued a siren when incoming was detected, warning us to take cover, or scrambling to a bunker if one was nearby. But, imagine daily living in any one of seven countries thousands of miles from the US not knowing when you will be annihilated from the air by a drone missile? Due process? Have any Congresspersons experienced anything like this? Do they care? So what? Do they know anything about the victims, even if they asked? In Viet Nam we constantly manufactured “enemies” and killed them when in fact they were innocent civilians. That lie continued for 30 years with 6 million murdered. Can you grasp this? I repeat, can you grasp the grotesque immorality and evil?

Author standing next to Binh Thuy anti-mortar radar unit, 1969.

These continuing egregious, lawless crimes around the globe result in the murder, maiming, and displacement of countless human beings in a number of countries. But these crimes are immune from impeachment because they enjoy overwhelming bi-partisan support. Additionally, the President has severely curtailed important life-preserving domestic programs and environmental protections designed to save the health and lives of US citizens, while the Congress yawns.

The obscene, insane annual $1.25 Trillion bi-partisan military intelligence budget, that includes 17 separate intelligence agencies, pre-empts development of any serious social and physical infrastructure.[3] And, such policy endangers everybody at home and abroad. Who really is the enemy of the US? What is clear is that the US is at war with the world.

The President and Congress are captives to the military-industrial-Wall Street-banking-media bribing complex which provides the underpinning for the US oligarchic economy. The US has 200,000 troops in 177 countries, including use of special forces, with the bulk of active duty personnel located at 800 major overseas military bases in 70 countries.[4] Countries cannot even demand that US troops leave their country as Iraq recently discovered. Can you imagine foreign countries quartering their military troops at various locations inside the United States? Really? The Pentagon also operates 170 golf courses for the enjoyment of military stationed in the US and around the world.[5] And there are over one million active duty troops at hundreds of military bases within the United States. The National Security State in fact is in charge, as John F. Kennedy learned in 1963. The bi-partisan banality supporting atrocious, imperial policies is disgusting beyond comprehension – immoral and inhumane. People dying, moaning, maimed. So what?

Our political system is not broken. The current ugly, obvious campaign by the Democratic establishment and corporate media to stop Bernie Sander’s Presidential campaign at any cost is a live case study of the rigged nature of the political system. Sanders is not even a radical, just a politician who genuinely wants to introduce social fairness into the corrupt system, one fixed in its racist, classist, sexist historical patterns, with cybernetics to boot. A massive system of bribery by the oligarchic war making and financing scheme, controls who the (s)elected leaders are, what laws they write and pass, and which laws to apply or not, and when. The US process of selecting governing representatives is rigged with inordinate amounts of money and ego to assure the prevailing political economy wins, virtually every time – manufactured consent at home, manufactured dissent in US targeted countries. The corporate media controls the narrative such that people’s minds are full of the cabal’s script – deceptions, untruths, and lots of omissions. Voting itself is no longer even trusted.

A Nation Run by Gangsters of the Worst Kind; Do What?

There have been nearly continuous wars by our Eurocentric ancestors against others since the early 1600s, continuing after the formation of the Republic in 1789 to the present. Our behavior toward others has often been cruel and sadistic, perhaps a product of its super narcissism. But, nonetheless, we consider ourselves “democratic” and “exceptional”, but the question is whether as a culture we are exceptionally fair and respectful, or exceptionally demonic and imperial?

At Trump’s State of the Union address the President identified specially invited guest Juan Guido as the “legitimate President of Venezuela”. Democrats and Republicans arose with standing applause. More disgust. In January 2019, Guido, a relatively unknown legislator, was called on the phone by US Vice-President, Mike Pence, and told that he was the US-chosen President of oil-rich Venezuela, as part of a US-supported a regime change effort. This is bizarre, since the Venezuelans had already democratically elected Nicolas Maduro three times as their President, who was following in the footsteps of exceedingly popular Hugo Chavez. Chavez had unexpectedly died in 2013 at age 58, with some evidence suggesting he had been poisoned.  So far the majority of the Venezuelan have supported Maduro, much to the disappointment of the US and Guaido. Thus, the criminal policy of bi-partisan regime change remains popular, despite violating international law and the US Constitution, Article VI, Section 2. We live in a mafiosa oligarchy, still basking in its exceptionalism. So what?

The US drone assassination of Iranian General Qasah Moleimani January 3, 2020 while on a peace mission in Iraq was an act of war that could have led to major war if the Iranians had not exercised restraint. Grotesque murder of an Iranian leader. So what?

The overthrow of popular and democratically elected President Evo Morales in Bolivia on November 10, 2019 was facilitated with millions of US dollars and technical and social media assistance. Overthrowing democracy. Congress didn’t even blink. So what?

What about the thousands of children who have been separated by US Immigration officials from their parents at the US-Mexican border and placed in filthy cages located at numerous concentration camps around the US, some run by private companies? Crimes against humanity?

People’s lives have been severely and deleteriously destroyed in countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico due to unfairly imposed US trade policies, or repressive neoliberal governments created and/or sustained by the US – militarily, economically, propaganda-wise – that have left millions terrorized and destitute. A bi-partisan Congress supports these destructive policies. Cruel, more crimes against humanity. So what?

What about the innocent citizens being murdered and maimed in the eight countries the US is regularly bombing – Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somali, Niger, and sometimes Syria? Trump merely continues policies of Bush and Obama, as Congress yawns and routinely funds the war-making companies? War crimes, despite the Congress claiming that the National Defense Authorization Act provides them legal cover. The Constitution requires Congressional Declarations of War. More people dying, moaning, maimed. So what?

What about the innocents being terrified in any one of 130 or 140 of the world’s countries as their homes are bashed down by paramilitary, called US Special Forces, and subsequently cellphone-targeted for routine drone assassination because US intelligence arrogantly and hypocritically identified them as terrorists and placed them on the President’s regular kill list? War crimes? Again, these are continuation of Bush and Obama policies as the Congress yawns and shops. Mothers, fathers, children, grandparents terrorized, killed, tortured, maimed. So what?

What about the President’s actions to unilaterally abrogate important historical bilateral agreements that were designed to decrease the dangers of nuclear war, thus endangering the whole world? Except, I presume, the Mafioso Congress feels immune from any danger or severe consequences from their sanctity of gangsterism. So what?

Who cares? Certainly not the 1 per cent. And certainly not the majority of our 535 (s)elected representatives who are bribed and devoted to their 1 percent donors. But the majority of people lose every time as long as they continue to abide by the oligarch’s rules. As Chris Hedges continually preaches, the only hope is for massive civil disobedience in the streets making business as usual impossible. The stakes are really high – our dignified survival.


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Brian Willson is a Viet Nam veteran and trained lawyer. He has visited a number of countries examining the effects of US policy. He wrote a psychohistorical memoir, Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson(PM Press, 2011), and in 2018 wrote Don’t Thank Me for my Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies(Clarity Press). He is featured in a 2016 documentary, Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson, and others in the Peace Movement, (Bo Boudart Productions). His web essays: He can be reached at [email protected]  

Brian Willson is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)


[1] Elise Swain and Jon Schwartz, “Merry Christmas, America! Let’s Remember the Children Who Live in Fear of Our Killer Drones”, The Intercept, December 25, 2019.

[2] Roger P. Fox, Air Base Defense in the Republic of Vietnam, 1961-1973 (Wash., DC: Office of Air History, USAF, 1979), see data for Binh Thuy.

[3] William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger, “Boondoggle: Inc. Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget”,, January 30, 2020.

[4] Jeff Desjardins, “Nearly 200,000 US troops are currently deployed around the world — here’s where”, Business Insider, citing Visual Capitalist data, Mar 20, 2017,

[5] David Vine, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015), 4.

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