Tuesday, April 22, 2008
A Very Good Question: A ResponseIn re: Bruce's post below (A Very Good Question):
I think it is clear that, by 1945, our economy was founded on a set of assumptions about the world and our particular role in it - and a set of militaristic values rooted in victory and largely unchallenged by a citizenry that had escaped the brunt of a half-century of transcontinental warfare. Those assumptions and values explain our escalation of the Vietnam conflict into a tragic and unjust war, and continued to play a role in the two wars with Iraq. Compared with the powerful effects of such assumptions and values, Osama bin Laden is properly viewed as one more occasion of war, rather than a unique cause (sure, the attacks of 9/11 were a great provocation, but so was the sinking of the Maine in its day).
President Eisenhower's warnings about the military-industrial complex bear reconsideration today. We debate the cost of "entitlement" programs and minor pork-barrell projects and ignore the huge spend on the military. Our economy is structured to support the interests of the military and the corporations that do business with it. And all of this is possible because we have accepted the notion that it is okay - even necessary - that we play the role of the toughest guy in the neighborhood, sometimes the local bully.
Americans should re-visit the decision to go to war in Iraq - not only to examine the record of manipulated intelligence, official deceit, and the hidden personal agenda of the ignoramus from Crawford, but to ask of ourselves, why?
Why did we go along with such a hare-brained and deeply immoral invasion?Why were we willing to bomb cities and take war into the streets and homes of a nation that was no threat to us?
Why were we so little disturbed by the atrocious abuse of detainees - Iraqi civilians?
Why are we now, as polls repeatedly show, less concerned with the war than with the price of gasoline?
Any American who is honest and gives these questions more than a passing thought will be disgusted with the implications. So the biggest question of all is perhaps this: why are we so damned complacent?
Technorati Tags: Iraq War, Military-Industrial Complex, Why We Fight
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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