War on drugs. War on poverty. War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War on terror. The biggest mistake in American policy, foreign and domestic, is looking at everything as war. When a war mentality takes over, it chooses the weapons and tactics for you. It limits the terms of debate before you even begin. It answers questions before they’re even asked.
Well, the US has been waging war non-stop since before 1776. This is what capitalism needs and what racism enjoys. Greed and arrogance know no bounds.
War has always been mostly about land and other resources. Today the immense profits in waging war itself are making perpetual war inevitable.
An excellent article. Thank you.
- Many alcoholics join AA when they realize the damage they are doing to themselves, their friends and families. They follow their twelve steps and regain their health. They rejoin their friends and families.
- Some, however, join AA, then use that as a platform to be “holier than thou,” but continue to be closet drinkers until either their liver self-destructs, or their families are destroyed and their friends long gone.
- War-oholics face the same challenges. Frankly, I think the US/NATO cabal unfortunately fits into the second category above. They may stand up in forums like the UN and speak of peace and stability, but when alone in their closet, they drink deeply of war, destruction and profit. And plan how they can obtain their next bottle.
- They are already losing friends, their families are becoming disillusioned, and perhaps all we can hope for is that their “liver” will fail and they can finally be at peace. Then, perhaps, their families can begin to rebuild their lives. Perhaps some old friends will return and help. Clean out the closet and throw away the empty bottles, wash the soiled linen, and begin a new life.
It’s a fine article, but it does seem to place all the blame on the average American for ‘embracing war’. This ‘embrace’ is by design. The special interest groups that decide what wars we will fight, have a complete disregard for public opinion. In fact special interest groups feel that public opinion is ultimately at the mercy of corporate media.
While the author suggests that Americans must ultimately admit that we are “war-aholics”, I would argue that it is the corporate State that are the “war-aholics” and damn everyone else! Even if the 99% said “We want no more war!”, does the author believe that suddenly the MIC, Big Oil and other vested interests would simply roll over and admit defeat?
very true but I wish the author would stop perpetuating the lies of 911. 19 Saudi men did not plant explosives in the towers and bldg 7 was not taken down by fires. Stop already !!! There was no Gulf of Tonkin attack, The Maine was not blown up by Spain, There was no reason for entering WW1, Pearl attack was known before it happened, etc etc . Does anyone give credence to govt lies ?? JFK …what else do we have to say.
Even if the 99% said “We want no more war!”, does the author believe that suddenly the MIC, Big Oil and other vested interests would simply roll over and admit defeat?
It would be grand to see what might happen, that’s for sure! :O) Especially if we didn’t back down.
Please do not overlook the powerful influence of a few well-placed neo-conservatives in the Bush and Obama administrations who were and are responsible for the illegal war of aggression in Iraq, and also the burgeoning, dangerous confrontation with Russia in Ukraine.
Led by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and the Endowment for Democracy we have thrust NATO into Russia’s sphere of influence and sponsored the overthrow of the democratically elected Yanukovych government in Ukraine.
We should be cementing ties with Russia to help resolve the tense relations with Iran and the tragic war in Syria, not relentlessly escalating conflict with a nuclear super power.
(Here is a transcript of the infamous Nuland phone call just before the Yanukovych overthrow:
Thank you for your insights.
While our wise and loving leaders and their corporate masters/ colleagues will do everything to continue their profitable war and surveillance empire, it is the docile population that I am wondering about. Yes, there are so many wonderful examples of historical and contemporary revolt (as outlined by Hedges in his new book and by other writers and activists) and things could change fast in the USA but most Americans are still in denial. I live in Portland, Oregon where there is a movement for change (this past week I joined in protesting the planned coal carrying trains and gas terminals, and also the deaths of cyclists in this supposedly “Bicycle City USA”) but too many still respond with “it is all good,” “It is awesome” when describing their lives, forgetting the bubble of their existence in the midst of global suffering and catastrophe. Even those who work for barely above minimum wage and no benefits seem content as long as they can use their IPhone nonstop. I often feel I live in Nazi Germany where millions were killed but many of the German population enjoyed going ice-skating and pageants and entertaining films. Our work of agitating, education, sharing our ideas and resources and living lives of example and truth is cut out for us. Yet, what is the alternative?
Don’t forget that the passivity of the American people helps war. Many are too frightened, too lazy, too distracted with shopping, popular culture and sports and entertainment to care about anyone abroad. The recent sports and entertainment frenzy is a grand distraction. When the war started the 40,000 in the streets of my city of Portland Oregon
went home to bitch and stayed there. They couldn’t keep up the protests. In Vietnam we knew that we were in the movement for the long hall and that worked. Instant gratification expectations have ruined the long term movement these days. I am still angry that so many stayed home and let it happen.
Another misguided author who believes that our Imperial onslaught in the MidEast and beyond was due to a “reaction” to the events on 9/11. This was a well orchestrated PLAN which continues today. It’s all business William.
► Dont worry, Gov Abbot & the NRA have your back
“The biggest mistake in American policy, foreign and domestic, is looking at everything as war.”
Who is doing the looking? Why use this passive tense?
“When you define something as war, it dictates the use of the military (or militarized police forces, prisons, and other forms of coercion) as the primary instruments of policy.”
Who is doing the defining? Did it just leap out of thin air, or could it have something to do with the military-industrial-media complex and its endless streams of high-tech pro-war propaganda?
“Keep in mind that what launched it were those attacks by 19 hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi nationals) representing a modest-sized organization lacking the slightest resemblance to a nation.”
This nonsense, an unexamined acceptance and regurgitation of the Official Story… again?
“With images of those collapsing towers in New York burned into America’s collective consciousness, the idea that the U.S. might respond with an international “policing” action aimed at taking criminals off the global streets was instantly banished from discussion.”
Passive Voice alert: WHO banished it from discussion? Did the anti-war community NOT want its voices on radio and television, or were controls PUT in place to limit any questioning of war in public view?
“…even as the U.S. embarked on a full-fledged experiment in violent nation building in Afghanistan.”
Oxymoron alert: violent nation-building?
“The most technologically advanced military on Earth, one that the president termed “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known,” was set loose to bring “democracy” and a Pax Americana to the Middle East.”
Repeating the Bush Junta’s key Talking Point does not make it true. In fact, Michael Parenti spoke to this very thing when addressing a student audience. It was right after I critiqued the equally State-Department sounding memes repeated in the recent piece (also published by TomDispatch) by Mr. Van Buren.
Dr. Parenti said something along the lines of: “don’t let them get away with it… this nonsense that mistakes were made.” No mistakes were made. In other words, these wars support the interests of war profiteers, bankers, weapons’ makers, and politicians who think they can make a career on the spent blood of innocents. It’s all deliberate!
This is what Dr. Parenti was talking about:
“There’s simply no way to win such a war except by stopping it. Yet that course of action is never on the proverbial “table” of options from which officials in Washington are said to choose their strategies.”
“After all, nothing is more pejorative in American politics or culture than to be labeled a loser in war, someone who “cuts and runs.”
The above quote takes the pro-military hero indoctrination impetus and passes it off as some naturally occurring phenomena.
Note the verbiage:
“Two generations later, another Texan, George W. Bush, grasped the “war president” moniker with genuine enthusiasm. He, too, vowed he would win his war when things started to go sour. Staring down a growing insurgency in Iraq in the summer of 2003, Bush did not shy from the challenge.”
Mr. Astore demonstrates adoration for Bush by linking him with the image of “manning up for the great challenge.” (How disgusting can one get! Fawning apologia to a war criminal!)
This has to qualify as one of the most diabolical lies in history: (Astore quotes Obama):
“We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.”
Freedom… like the NDAA?
Freedom… like locking up 2.2 million Americans?
Freedom… like police playing paratroopers banging down doors in inner cities or shooting at unarmed Black boys?
Freedom… like the “right” to sleep under bridges because so many have been rendered homeless or jobless?
Freedom… like Fast Track ramming corporate control down citizens’ throats?
Freedom… like being forced to buy Protection Money from the Insurance Racketeers?
“It was a moment that defined the Obama presidency as being remarkably in tune with America’s already omnipresent war ethos.”
More disingenuous crap… as if the omnipresent war ethos just landed like a giant eagle taking the nation under its wings.
At the midpoint of this “essay,” the first honest assessment appears:
“Recent American leaders have something in common with their extremist Islamic counterparts: all of them define everything, implicitly or explicitly, as a jihad, a crusade, a holy war.”
This is also true and I’ve personally spoken of the War Mentality in its applications to the war on drugs, poverty, illiteracy, etc. OFTEN in this forum:
“The very methods the U.S. employs and the mentality its leaders adopt ensure their perpetuation. Why? Because drug addiction and abuse can’t be conquered by waging a war. Neither can poverty. Neither can terror. Neither can radical Islam be defeated through armed nation building.”
Astore: Apply the CUI BONO premise, then perhaps you’ll realize that these wars are very profitable to specific interests and THAT is why they remain in motion:
“In addition, what makes America’s new wars unique to our moment is that they never have a discernible endpoint. For what constitutes “victory” over drugs or terror? Once started, these wars by definition are hard to stop.”
Since women, persons of color, Latinos—new to enter the scene, and the Native Americans have had slim to no agency, the use of one uniform WE to suggest a universal affinity with violent shows of aggression is how white soldier boys LIE about their own interest in and attraction for war:
“Hasn’t America always been at war? Haven’t we always been a violent people?”
Last bit of disinformation:
“America needs to make such a confession. Only then can we begin to wean ourselves off war.”
While lots of gun-toting angry, white male Christians may need to wean themselves of war—along with members of the gigantic MIC apparatus—the premise does not hold true for lots of citizens; and I’d like to think that THEY are the majority.
But the make-war, Mars-ruled MIC state cannot grant witness to that perhaps silent (or silenced) majority… so it prefers to spread the blame around. As if THAT exemplifies courage!
YOU need the fearless moral inventory, Mr. Astore, along with your pals: Andrew Bacevich, Van Buren, Tom Engelhardt, and other warrior-true-believers who mostly write articles that add a patina of conscience to militarism… but ultimately act like the make war state’s chief apologists.
I call you out!
Funny that’s your impression of events here in Puddletown. Most people I know from then had to work 50-60 hrs. a week just to make ends meet. Maybe you’re thinking of the huge protests in Aloha, home of Nike and Intel, perhaps? TMFMB ( The March Fourth Marching Band ) is in demand to this day, all over the world, for their powerful ability to create lots of the right energy in these endeavors. There were 40k marchers in Portland and !00K in NYC. Let’s do some math and, oh, sorry you’re right; the reason we went to war in the MENA and Afghanistan is that almost 8-9% of the city’s population showed up to protest in Portland. Ya know, as opposed to those other hotbeds; like 1.5% in LA, 1…6% in NYC and about 1% in Obama’s adopted city. Sorry world, our bad. And, we’re really bitchin’ about legalized pot next month, a supermajority state legislature which allows some space for arguments amongst friends, and so much more upside compared to other cities I mentioned earlier. But, when the fate of the world rests upon our shoulders, we’ll just have to do better, going forward.
thanks “speechless” and “wlawlor”. i was getting nervous that more than one person still believed that "19 hijackers " b.s. 1st of all they were recruited by the CIA (Corporatocracy In Action) via the Jedda office.you can see their visa “applications” that were improperly filled out online .2nd many are still alive- look it up!
3rd as one scientist put it “i only need one smoking gun(about 9/11) and thats the molten metal from the wtc 1+2.office fires and jet fuel CAN NOT CAUSE STEEL TO MELT,EVER”.
4th no steel frame building has ever collapsed from fire “except” on 9/11- and then 3x!!!.research this yourself.
5th dont forget wtc 7 fell later that day.plus look up wtc 6 photos and explain how you gut the interior of a bldg from basement to roof and leave the shell intact…no planes,burning debris etc and NO EXPLANATIONS either.personally i think wtc6 is another smoking gun but one no one ever mentions in public…ooops.
i agree with the “waraholic” concept but this comes about due to the nature of our beast,crapitalism or as someone recently termed it “casino capitalism”,and the malignant banking/wall st. influence over what used to pass as our government. it amazes me that someone could still be deceived by bushwa’s lies about the whore on terror.didnt you know we invaded afghanistan 3 weeks after 9/11 when it takes NEARLY A YEAR TO PREP FOR A MILITARY ACTION OF THAT SIZE-look at iraq invasion.3 weeks isnt time enough to have a meeting much less an invasion.you sure you were in the military? elements of our “government” (mostly the CIA) have caused virtually every war or conflict IN THE WORLD since 1947,resulting in the deaths of at least 6 million people and tens of thousands of our own people who are not now nor were they ever “defending our way of life” but were simply cannon fodder (sorry about archaic term but im archaic myself) for the wishes of the bankers and their buddies in the military biz.
we will never be able to restore the republic and our torn to shreds constitution until the 1947 NSA ACT is repealed and everyone named BUSH - to start with - is interred indefinately without charges at guano tanamo and treated to some of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques they were so anxious to try on (mostly innocent) prisoners , much to the shame and disgrace of this country. Seriously,look up this act and you will see one of the historic turning points away from the constitution and the formation of the most insidious tool of the wealthiest: the cia,our very own “fifth columnists” or “quislings” if you like archaic terms from ww2. they also need to be tried for treason with the bushcheney/dod/m.i.c. bunch. until then in wont matter if the next prez is a tg alien we will NEVER have a republic and a restored constitution.too much money at stake. p.s. cant wait for JADE HELM 15! i dont care what anyone says,that texas governor is doing the right thing keeping an eye on what is probably a violation of the “posse comitatus” law…no,youll have to look all of that up yourself.as a texan said, “who are they preparing to invade?theres only one place in the world like this and thats HERE” (in the u.s.) ladies and gents,your tax dollars at work!
“perpetuating the lies of 911”
Thank you for mentioning that.
Thanks, good comment. I’m a retired carpenter/construction worker. I worked at it nearly forty years, and although the main material was wood, there were countless times when concrete had to be broken or steel cut.
I am completely convinced that concrete:
1 …does not blow itself up into powder fine enough to stay airborne for long periods of time either as a result of falling through air or being heated (no matter for how long) in a kerosene fire
2 … does not blow itself up even if it is dropped a quarter of a mile
While at the same time, steel:
1 …does not melt unless heated to its melting temperature, far above the temperatures attained by petroleum/air fires such as burning jet fuel…
But why go on?
Americans seem to believe that concrete and steel used in architecture is not very strong. It can melt or turn to dust or fly through the air just like THAT. American know the stuff is crap.
Americans aren’t dummies. They know that aluminum is ever so much tougher than steel. They know you have to be careful not to drop concrete or it might blow up and float all over the neighborhood. They know that steel can just up and melt, like butter or ice cream, if you take your eye off it for a minute.
Americans aren’t stupid! They know that demolition explosives weren’t used on Sept. 11 because why would they use dangerous and expensive explosives, when kerosene is so inexpensive, and doesn’t require special permits to buy?
Informed Americans know that since that fateful day, large demolition companies just fly some old plane into any building slated for removal. After an hour or so, the whole powdered building can bge removed by a few people with shop vacs.
Americans realize that since Sept. 11, nothing that has to last beyond the weekend is built with steel, or concrete, or steel-reinforced concrete.
Any fool knows that by now. You just can’t trust the stuff.