by Tom Engelhardt
Friday, July 6, 2012
The Military Solution
Can't Draw From the Failure of the Military Option Washington
by Tom Engelhardt
by Tom Engelhardt
Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us -- less than 1% -- serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washington’s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans.
And yet the militarization of the
and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to
accelerate. The Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself, with a
staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near
to challenging this country’s might. United States
In the post-9/11 era, the military-industrial complex has been thoroughly mobilized under the rubric of “privatization” and now goes to war with the Pentagon. With its $80 billion-plus budget, the intelligence bureaucracy has simply exploded. There are so many competing agencies and outfits, surrounded by a universe of private intelligence contractors, all enswathed in a penumbra of secrecy, and they have grown so large, mainly under the Pentagon’s aegis, that you could say intelligence is now a ruling way of life in Washington -- and it, too, is being thoroughly militarized. Even the once-civilian CIA has undergone a process of para-militarization and now runs its own “covert” drone wars in
and elsewhere. Its director, a widely hailed retired four-star
general, was previously the Pakistan U.S.
war commander in Iraq and
just as the National Intelligence Director who oversees the whole
intelligence labyrinth is a retired Air Force lieutenant general. Afghanistan
Diplomacy, too, has been militarized. Diplomats work ever more closely with the military, while the State Department is transforming itself into an unofficial arm of the Pentagon -- as the secretary of state is happy to admit -- as well as of the weapons industry.
And keep in mind that we now have two Pentagons, thanks to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is focused, among other things, on militarizing our southern border.
Meanwhile, with the help of the DHS, local police forces nationwide have, over the last decade, been significantly up-armored and have, in the name of fighting terrorism, gained a distinctly military patina. They have ever more access to elaborate weaponry and gadgets, including billions of dollars of surplus military equipment of every sort, often being funneled to once peaceable small town police departments.
Militarization in this country is hardly a new phenomenon. It can be traced back decades, but the process hit warp speed in the post-9/11 years, even if the
lacks the classic look of a militarized society. Almost unnoticed has
been an accompanying transformation of the mindset of U.S. -- what might be called the
militarization of solutions. Washington
If the institutions of American life and governance are increasingly militarized, then it shouldn’t be surprising that the problems facing the country are ever more often framed in militarized terms and that the only solutions considered are similarly militarized. This paucity of imagination, this constraining of what might be possible, seems especially evident in the Greater Middle East.
’s record there, seldom if ever
collected in one place, should be eye-opening. Start with a dose of
irony: before the invasion of Washington Iraq
in 2003, it was a commonplace among neoconservatives to label the region
extending across the oil heartlands of the planet, from North Africa to the
Chinese border in Central Asia, “the arc of
instability.” After a decade in which has applied its military might
and thoroughly militarized solutions to the region, that decade-old world now
looks remarkably “stable.” Washington
Read the rest of this article at: TomDispatch.com