Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Roots of the American State Militarism

"The problem with militarism in the US is not the presence or absence of a military draft, but rather the hold that militarism and its trappings have on this society," rightly explains CounterPuncher Howard Lisnoff — Wars Without End. "Whether it’s for the purpose of nation building or the 'protection' of big business interests (including military contractors) abroad," the author reminds us, "the military is the tool of choice for this nation."

The author shortsightedly suggests that we "have to go back to the administration of Ronald Reagan, The Great Communicator (actually, the Great Nincompoop), to find the seeds of this contemporary expression of endless war and militarism," arguing that "Reagan made war acceptable to masses of those in the US through his conduct of the policy of low-intensity warfare."

As immoral as "policy of low-intensity warfare" was, "the Great Nincompoop" was wise enough to spare the letting of American blood and treasure, and there was a real enemy afoot with global designs. Also, whatever else you might say about Ronald Wilson Reagan, at least he had the sense to bring the boys home after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.

Rather, "to find the seeds of this contemporary expression of endless war and militarism" one need go back at least to Harry S. Truman and his National Security Act of 1947, about which Gore Vidal wrote in 1997 in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated :
    Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold, and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27, 1947. Place: The White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, a handful of congressional leaders. Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg told Truman that he could have his militarized economy only IF he first "scared the hell out of the American people" that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged. The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congress and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also own the media. Now, with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard at the Pentagon, we are entering a new and dangerous phase. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We give orders to the United Nations but do not pay our dues...we bomb, invade, subvert other states. Although We the People of the United States are the sole source of legitimate authority in this land, we are no longer represented in Congress Assembled. Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine..."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Eisenhower along with Reagan was another great leader in regard to not expending lives and expanding empire. How much different things would have been if Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex had been heeded. But Eisenhower wasn't flashy -- Kennedy was. And Reagan was a "nincompoop" -- opposed to such foreign policy luminaries as Nixon, GHW Bush and Clinton, all of whom sought empire.

December 23, 2011 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

"arguing that "Reagan made war acceptable to masses of those in the US through his conduct of the policy of low-intensity warfare."

That's a very nice insight, and a much better understanding than the typical expression of wars where American's don't suffer because it expresses the habituation to war we now suffer under.

I watched one of the debates online and what was most striking was the drive to war against Iran where Paul was vilified. I came away thinking we are doomed, those people are insane.

December 23, 2011 at 4:11 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

So how do we get Ron Paul elected in 2012?

December 27, 2011 at 12:17 AM  

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