A few days ago somebody asked me if I knew what was going on in Iraq these days. Is there still a war happening? Are we getting out? I had to admit that I didn’t really know. War is such a constant in the background now—just like in the novel 1984—that I tend to tune it out, like traffic noise. It’s an insane situation. Official government policy is that the United States must be capable of fighting two wars simultaneously. A year or so ago I saw an article in the New York Times stating that a lot of officials are beginning to believe that this might be insufficient. Only empires do this sort of thing. And empires invariably overextend themselves, exhaust themselves, and then collapse. This is where we’re heading, but hardly anybody talks about it. American military spending is roughly equal to the rest of the world’s combined. But when the Republicans and the Tea Party folks raise hell about government debt they never suggest slashing the military budget. One reason nobody talks about it much is that the word game is rigged. Nobody talks about the “War Department” or “war spending,” but the “Defense Department” and “defense spending.” Our wars are not defensive; they’re imperial. There is a belief—and growing up I heard it stated many times, and by the same sort of people who make up the Tea Party movement—that every generation should experience war, that it “makes a man out of you.” That’s crazy. The last war I supported was Vietnam and only up until early 1968. I supported it because I was a dumb teenager and I didn’t know any better. The Tea Party continues to receive a lot of media attention for its supposed rage over government debt. If their rage were really about government debt, they’d be making a huge stink over military spending. But they aren’t doing that and they never will.
Posts Tagged ‘War’
Today on the supposedly liberal San Francisco Chronicle’s website there is a poll:
Where should the U. S. focus its military might?
The choices are: Afghanistan/Pakistan; Iraq; Yemen; Iran.
The only sane choice—pulling out of the region entirely—is not listed. Opposition is disallowed. Of course, these polls are just fun rides at the Cyberspace Carnival. But they reveal a mindset: We’ve entered an era of constant warfare. We’ve become self-deluded junkies crawling through the sand toward the source, craving another angry fix. Who sees an end to all these wars? Unless we find wisdom, the only end will be our utter exhaustion and ruin as a nation.