Posted by Brad @ 12:27 pm on August 25th 2010

Smart, Qualified People Behind the Scenes Keeping America Safe: ‘We Don’t Exist’

The Onion is there.

Fictitious sources also confirmed that the so-called “masterminds” behind our country’s security and strategic defense are in fact people of moderate to reasonably above-average intelligence just like us who perform their jobs with more or less the same degree of competence and zeal as any regular person with a job would.

“Obviously, it would be very comforting, and pretty cool, if there were stealth groups of resourceful, naturally gifted secret agents like me scouring the planet, rooting out terrorist sleeper cells, and tracking down Osama bin Laden,” said a multilingual computer/ explosives/espionage expert who most Americans actually believe is a real guy out there. “I’m not denying that would be amazing; my only point is that it just isn’t true.”

“Believe me, I wish I existed, too,” the fake man added. “I would probably be great.”

Often, when I’m arguing with a guy like James, he likes to point out that, for instance, I’m naive to think that America hasn’t tortured people before Bush, and that somewhere, at some point, there was an agent of government torturing somebody long before it became a public controversy. I take the point…to a point.

But I also, in other contexts, like to point out the Myth of the Hypercompetent Government that American Greatness conservatives trade on. The idea that we’ve got Jack Bauer CIA agents who clearly are only torturing the right suspects in moments of incredible dire emergency and know precisely what they’re doing, or the military is filled only with brave, selfless, salt of the earth people staring up and off to the distance slightly as the Iraqi sunset paints their profile, or that the guys that are monitoring out phone calls without a warrant are doing so professionally, expertly, and perfectly collating the data, or that the private contractor mercs working outside the Green Zone in Iraq are tough-as-nails Schwarzeneggers who have seen the real shit and cast a steely eye, protecting us from the dirty job of keeping the world safe. Or that, put simply, the people in charge are somehow of a different caliber than you and I, know what they’re doing, so we should just trust them and assume that someone somewhere knows more than us and is doing their job surely in the most positive possible way we can fantasize them doing it.


  1. It’s odd all around. The myth of the abnormally competent CIA/FBI agent and Military Man keeping us from the approaching hordes of terrorists/commies/bees exists in the same ideology with the conviction of small government and the awareness of the fallibility of said government. One wonders why the caution never extends to Defence and Intelligence and police.

    I personally think that this is where the Republicans show that they’re true romantics. It’s the same group that sees a Norman Rockwell picture and thinks ‘That’s Real America. That’s my America’ (which it is, or can be, to a certain point, it’s just that we’re more than that too). Soldiers, cops, secret agents, etc; they’re people who are willing to put their lives on the line for the defense of others and it’s something that’s been fetishized, romanticized and idealized to the point of marring that which makes the willingness special – the citizens who take these jobs are ordinary but do it anyway.

    I’m running far afield here, as always, but the major parties put faces, caricatures really, on all of their points of contention. We have in the Dem’s corner, the teacher in the inner city about to get laid off, the mother dying of cancer and unable to pay for treatment, the oil slicked birds, the earnest protestor, the abused prisoner. The GOP has the Sailors, the Marines, the from-poverty-to-millionaires, the farmers rising with the sun, the mom, dad and 2.5 kids.
    And these faces change from week to week, from story to story, from fight to fight. It’s sometimes difficult to tell what came first, the people or the talking point.

    Comment by Liz — 8/25/2010 @ 2:01 pm

  2. The tragic things is that you have to tell adults these things. Do their brains stop developing at 15?

    Comment by fred — 8/26/2010 @ 1:43 am

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