Violence Serves

From Tom Englehardt:

… since the 1950s, body counting for the U.S. military has invariably signaled not impending victory, but disaster, and even defeat. In fact, one of the strangest things about the American empire has been this: Between 1945 and George W. Bush’s second term, the U.S. economy, American corporations, and the dollar have held remarkable sway over much of the rest of the world. New York City has been the planet’s financial capital and Washington its war capital. (Moscow, even at the height of the Cold War, always came in a provincial second.)

In the same period, the U.S. military effectively garrisoned much of the globe from the Horn of Africa to Greenland, from South Korea to Qatar, while its Navy controlled the seven seas, its Air Force dominated the global skies, its nuclear command stood ready to unleash the powers of planetary death, and its space command watched the heavens. In the wake of the Cold War, its various military commands (including Northcom, set up by the Bush administration in 2002, and Africom, set up in 2007) divided the greater part of the planet into what were essentially military satrapies. And yet, the U.S. military, post-1945, simply could not win the wars that mattered.

Because the neocons of the Bush administration brushed aside this counterintuitive fact, they believed themselves faced in 2000 with an unparalleled opportunity (whose frenetic exploitation would be triggered by the attacks of 9/11, the “Pearl Harbor” of the new century). With the highest-tech military on the planet, funded at levels no other set of nations could cumulatively match, the United States, they were convinced, was uniquely situated to give the phrase “sole superpower” historically unprecedented meaning. Even the Assyrians at their height, the Romans in their Pax Romana centuries, the British in the endless decades when the sun could never set on its empire, would prove pikers by comparison.

In this sense, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and the various neocons in the administration were fundamentalist idolaters — and what they worshipped was the staggering power of the U.S. military. They were believers in a church whose first tenet was the efficacy of force above all else. Though few of them had the slightest military experience, they gave real meaning to the word bellicose. They were prejudiced towards war.

Read it all here


2 thoughts on “Violence Serves

  1. Hardly surprising to find them standing four square behind Israel’s assault on Gaza, then.

    Do you think they ever sit down and think that bombing people isn’t a good idea, especially when their objective is to undermine a particular regime or movement?

    • You’d think that they must think about it. Likely, it doesn’t hurt that there’s good money to be made for the military complex by doing the bombing. What’s a few bodies, more or less? Sorry, I’m feeling pretty cynical about this shit. Oh well. Happy New Year, right?

      Thanks for dropping in. 🙂

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