On July 18, General Wayne A. Downing died. The New York Times noted that he had "fought in jungles and deserts and commanded American Special Operations forces before becoming a senior adviser to President Bush for counterterrorism."

What the Times didn't note is that Downing was a proponent of martial law in the event of another, even more deadly, terrorist attack.

He said as much in The Washington Post back on December 24, 2002.

"The United States may have to declare martial law someday in the case of a devastating attack with weapons of mass destruction causing tens of thousands of casualties," he told the Post several months after he retired. "This could mean that the military could be given the authority to impose curfews, protect businesses and communities, even make arrests."

This startling quote appeared in paragraph 41 of a massive article by Barton Gellman of the Post.

It has never received the attention it deserves.

Even after Bush revised the Posse Comitatus Act last fall to allow the military to be used in the streets of the United States in a whole variety of circumstances.

And even after Bush issued an Executive Order on May 9, 2007, granting himself extraordinary powers in the event of a "catastrophic emergency."

I'm grateful for General Downing's bluntness.

But I'm appalled by the lack of follow up by almost everyone in the mainstream media with the exception of Ted Koppel. (On April 7, 2004, Koppel did a "Nightline" show on the possibility of martial law, and he alluded to the risks again in a graduation speech he gave a month later at Berkeley.)

When General Downing let slip the idea that martial law might be coming, barely anyone reacted.

But if it comes, you can't say we weren't warned.



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White supremacist posters on campuses play on ignorance and fear within the very institutions that should be our...

Trump's politics are not the problem.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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