“Deep state” is not in my dictionary. It would be between “deep space” and “deep structure,” followed by “deep throat” (you can look them up). If Merriam-Webster gets around to it it may have to have two or three definitions.
(Predictably, Wikipedia’s begins with “a conspiracy theory which suggests that… .” Conspiracy theories, apparently, are things left out of high school and college textbooks, going as these theories (often based on solid research) do against agreed-upon lies that Napoleon, among others, have said constitute much of history (of which journalism is said to be the first draft).
In last Thursday’s New York Times, Frank Bruni salutes some of his “deep state” heroes, according to the term’s more wholesome, benevolent sense. His include elected and appointed officials who publicly pushed back against President Trump’s more outlandish attempts to avoid leaving office in January and becoming a private, vulnerable, albeit outspoken, citizen. Bruni’s column is headed “The Deep State Is on a Roll.” He includes Republican officials in Georgia and Michigan, Anthony Fauci, and CIA and EPA people. For him, in this column, the figures in the deep state engage in “a righteous defense against the corruption of democracy.” Bruni forthrightly co-opts the term to celebrate them (just as President Trump co-opted it for his purposes), so the “rearing up” of this deep state “should be music to our ears.”
These days “deep state” has been used to describe powerful individuals in government, business and organized crime (and their operatives) suspected of assassinating people inconveniently in their way including President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Thomas Merton, all in the 1960s, and possibly Panama’s “Maximum Leader” Omar Torrijos and Ecuador’s elected president Jaime Roldós Aguilera, both in 1981.
Tuesday marked the 79th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and on Monday the Springfield Republican carried a feature highlighting the recollections of Harry Chandler, 99, who as a Navy medic on the scene was in the thick of saving lives following the attack. “You were American then,” he is quoted. “It was as simple as that. Everybody in the country was together. We were all in it.”
His is a gripping story, buttressed by a photo of page 1 of that day’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin “extra” edition “WAR! OAHU BOMBED BY JAPANESE PLANES” and the news of President Roosevelt’s announcement of the attack. The next day FDR (a former undersecretary of the Navy) said, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion the American people in their righteous might will win through to victory. … With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”
Harry Chandler again: “When you stop to think about it, every family was involved [in World War II ], some war or another. They either had children in the war or were working in a factory. Or they were selling war bonds. Everybody was doing something to help our country and each other.”
The newspaper’s feature by executive editor Cynthia Simison, is headed “Date still lives on in infamy, vet yearns for united America.” (As of today no reference to it appears online.)
“Premeditated.” Roosevelt was describing the Japanese planning for the invasion, but he knew it could also be used for his administration’s efforts to compel the Japanese to attack, efforts so successful that he knew from intelligence intercepts days or weeks before that the air invasion was imminent, knew well enough so that although Navy admirals on site were kept ignorant of this knowledge others saw that some ships were sent out of the harbor to keep them from being destroyed.
It was a case of high-stakes gotcha, and Japan fell for it. China, the Soviet Union, Britain, the Free French (France was occupied by the Germans) and other allies or allies-to-be, wanted the United States in the war. Many Americans didn’t. The “day of infamy” at Pearl Harbor would change that, as Roosevelt calculated it would.
Accounts of this may be found HERE and HERE. Of course the “inside job” characterization of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is based on deep state involvement. The neocons at the Project for the New American Century hoped for a Pearl Harbor-like event that would kick off new wars. There’s a link to this wish HERE. And David Ray Griffin’s books on 9/11, from The New Pearl Harbor (2004) on, allude to it.
To quote Harry Chandler out of context, “Everybody in this country was together. We were all in it.”
— Mark Channing Miller