The United States is a peculiar sort of empire. As a start, Americans have been in what might be called imperial denial since the Spanish-American War of 1898, if not before. Empire -- us? We denied its existence even while our soldiers were administering “water cures” (aka waterboarding) to recalcitrant Filipinos more than a century ago. Heck, we even told ourselves we were liberating those same Filipinos, which leads to a second point: the U.S.
This is just more of the moronic pseudo-criticism that laments above all the fact that this peculiar brand of imperialism is a "recipe for defeat." Would victory be better, Mr. Astore? There is no depth here, no grasp of the politico-economic manipulation and domination involved in these interventions. Go and read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" instead.
America’s and the world’s problem here is not that we, The People, have let our tourist vacation mentality deform our obedient military’s approach to world empire. Our problem, and now the world’s perhaps final problem, is that we don’t prosecute, jail, and wholly disempower, the overt criminals who corrupt our government, companies, economy, education, culture, media and environment. War is and has been ONLY monetary. To end war, take the profit out of it for the elite and other investors, and no one will ever call for that insanity again. Those who do or would profit from it are insane and should be treated, not given absolute power over our lives, nation and the world’s future. War has always and only been a personal strategy of the parasitic elites enabling their proud and loud personal thefts of public resources and lives, their sword in every life's gut and their only shield against any honest accounting for their unforgivable centuries of mass-murdering conspiracies. It doesn’t matter how they spin their false histories. In our real shared reality, they kill many thousands daily, for their own profit, intentionally and proudly. Sometimes it’s a cruise missile, or a military ‘mission’ left precisely unfinished, requiring lots more pseudo-purposed but always highly profit-centered missions. . Sometimes it’s the predicted consequence of decades of tightly organized lying about tobacco, lead in gas, untested drugs and chemicals, fast food’s government supported toxic, artificial, exclusively profitable chemistry and labor abuses, or lying about climate change. Sometimes their lethal attack might be denying available food, pharmaceuticals or medical help to further inflate some for-profit-only vampiric ‘business’. They kill in countless cruel ways, always to serve the one purpose, the parasitic elite’s endless deviant gluttony. Our drones' 90% error margin when it comes to killing only the ‘targeted' humans does nothing to worsen our international war crime of having drones or troops anywhere against international law. Without any public discussion or control, the US government commits astounding breaches of international law and basic ethics by allowing our mentally ill US elite act for years on end as if they are called upon by Their Private Divinity to kill whoever they want anywhere, anytime, against any legal system’s respect for all human’s right to live, against every person’s innate sense of decency. Drones produce many enemies for every person killed, enemies justify further thefts of lives, money and many nations’ futures, including our own. Those hideous war crimes, along with the 100% failure rate of all the US military tourist 'strategies' since 1945, are all exactly and only the stable, proven, successful 'military' and 'political leadership' strategy of maximum public money being turned over to the elite’s treasonous accounts. Permanent war is exactly and only permanent massive stolen income given to the criminal parasites, stolen from us, their sickened, crippled hosts. There is not the slightest concern whatsoever in any of the oligarchic over the cost to any people's safety or economies, most especially not to the people, economy and nation they feed on the most, ours. We are not their enemies to them, but competitors they have defeated already in their imagined financial combat and so we must be humiliated to celebrate their hollow crass victories in battles that exist only in their sick egos’ fantasy worlds.. Military 'failure' is very much a feature for all the traitors who feed as part of the 'defense' 'industries', whether as investors in murder and treason, or as the managers, lobbyists or hooker/traitor politicians involved in any of the centuries long assault on all peoples. The gluttons tell us that their gluttony is our only personal target this life, that we should want nothing more than to be one of them. We are to admire and trust the most clearly dishonest, selfish and broadly destructive among us. We are constantly told this through their nationally monopolized, tightly controlled, blatantly and loudly manipulated ‘news’, in our deeply co-opted schools and churches, and reaffirmed by fantasy-driven ‘entertainments’ as tv, movies or games that show anyone in ‘our’ way as sub-humans, All the people professionally involved, other than the soldiers themselves, know full well that there is ultimately no patriotism, no national or group loyalty, no positive target in any of this. There is only the defending and strengthening of the gluttons’ own toxic sociopathic, mass-murdering deviant personalities and anti-human values, demonstrated to their competitors and victims alike by how much money they individually have.. Don't be confused by the details of this or that 'proof' of their 'maybe questionable intentions'. See the facts of their 40 years of ‘forgetting’ how to run a military, as their triumph, their pet producer of a constantly, immensely growing stream of stolen public money, flowing always from us to them.. We have one enemy causing countless lethal damages, the sheer number of which is a big part of their strategy of treason that depends on distracting us from the truth that our actual enemy, domestic and international, is only and has always been only a handful of sociopathic parasites, a criminal, national and global conspiracy of murderers and thieves, nothing more, for many if not all centuries. This is either simple criminal treason, or a personal or perhaps society-wide mental illness. However its character and penalty is assessed ultimately, we surrender our lives to it in allowing our criminal parasitic elite’s actions and in our daily acceptance of the sub-human status their disease assigns us. Until we prosecute and stop them, their treasons will continue, and we will all continue on our current path to quick extinction. Along that path there will be nothing “ironic”, “surprising”, “unexpected”, “contradictory”, “flip flop”-y, “unusual”, “Despite previous assurances, blah blah blah…”, “Huh! How ‘bout that? Does that make sense to you?!!!” or any of the other lying media attempts to soften with a confusion we don’t share, our awareness of the blade in our throats. There are and will be no failed tactics involved. Unless we stop the criminals, the mentally ill elite parasites will continue to win at their petty, pouting brat manipulations, and, only incidentally, human life on earth will no longer be possible. Their single social and personal value, being the brat’s false twisted perverted ‘truth’ that 'he who dies with the most toys and power and cash and causes the most suffering to others wins' will be the selfish, childish, stupid and obvious lie that kills us all. The ruse of incompetent ‘tourist’ use of our troops, technologies and public support, is intended to generate only the always growing stream of conflict and massively lethal instability, which is intended only to generate more endless wealth and power for the mentally ill domestic and international traitors who today feed on each of us and our futures..
Comparing killers to tourists, how quaint.
Totally absent from Mr. Astore's apologia for armed & dangerous Empire is what happens to local women in all those military-"tourist" ports of call. I'm talking about the women reduced to prostitution due to their native lands becoming destabilized, robbed, and "at war." And talking about the generation of mixed race children--rejected by all--who end up left behind. And I'm talking about all those rapes that apologists like Astore never bother to mention.
"The ugliest of Americans these days may no longer be the meddling CIA operative of yesteryear; “he” may not even be human but a “made in America” drone. Think of such drones as especially unwelcome American tourists, cruising the exotic and picturesque backlands of the planet loaded with cameras and weaponry, ready to intervene in deadly ways in matters its operators, possibly thousands of miles away, don’t fully understand."
I've been critical of most Tomdispatch writers (Nick Turse being the exception) since it appears that their job is to either reform the military or give it a good-natured P.R. job.
It never seems to occur to our lame brain politicians and military brass that we are always coming up with lame brain excuses for invading other people's lands. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction (We're still waiting) Saddam was involved in 9/11 (Again we're waiting)! The Taliban offered us Osama bin-Laden with only two very reasonable qualifiers #1 they wanted something that any country would want, "proof" of his participation in the crime #2 that after the US satisfying request #1, the Taliban would turn bin Laden over to an Arabic country such as Saudi Arabia or directly to the International Criminal Court. The Bushies said "NO"! As far a Yemen is concerned, I don't think anybody in our dysfunctional government knows exactly why we are in Yemen. That's why we're letting the Saudi's use it for target practice.
After eight years of the Bush administration and seven years of Obama there are still amerikan's out there that still support this bloodthirsty government.A good portion of the country has already said that they are going to vote for amerika to have it's first female president. The problem is that the woman they want to install in the White House will just be four more years of the same ol, same ol. if the Queen of Chaos is elected. There is another female candidate running for president, and no I'm not speaking of Carly Fiorina, It doesn't matter though if you vote for Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, because until we replace the 535 "corporate rats" in the US Congress, no president no matter how well intentioned will be abl;e change a damn thing!
It's not much different with Andrew Bacevich who shows ZERO compassion or remorse for the Crimes Against Humanity carried out by the U.S. armed forces under the direction of liars-in-chief who relied upon "evidence fixed for war" to execute THEIR crimes.
And Tom Engelhardt, the editor whose particular slant shadows most of his writers, can't seem to graduate from the memes of winners and losers (as basis for defining a war), or sports-caster analyses of various plays within the "theaters of war." Any examination into the Cui Bono equation is made conspicuous by its absence.
Since apart from Nick Turse who seems to have a serious and well-earned aversion to the imperial war machine, most of the Tom Engelhardt stable of writers just wax lyrical on war, itself, without any deeper examination; so it seems that it's not farfetched to assume that they are being paid by the military (or one of its private adjuncts) to seem critical of This Monster, while ultimately writing commentary intended to justify the mistakes as if done by a good-natured, albeit misguided entity...
Pay no attention to all those bodies or D.U. deformed babies "over there."
"Gee whiz, boys and girls! If only all this manpower knew how to win wars! That would justify the costs.".. in blood and treasure. THAT is the subliminal message conveyed.
If any of these writers mention the MIC or the war profiteers it's in a passing statement meant to trivialize this fact... and key factor.
None of this batch questions the official narrative and trigger for already planned wars, either.
"How convenient," As Dana Carvey's rendition of "Church Lady" would respond.
Apparently, Mr. Astore has been brainwashed by inculcation into this particular career niche since I have read through 75% of this article--that nonchalantly compares those who come to kill, conquer, and assault with benign tourists--and nary a mention of the million-plus casualties left behind. It's as if Astore's programming is so complete that he does not even recognize the humanity of those mowed down by all these "well-meaning tourists."
"It was a dynamic already obvious five decades ago in Vietnam: a ticket-punching mentality that involved the constant rotation of units and commanders; a process of needless reinvention of the most basic knowledge as units deployed, bugged out, and were then replaced by new units; and the use of all kinds of grim, newfangled weapons and sensors, everything from Agent Orange and napalm to the electronic battlefield and the latest fighter planes and bombers -- all for naught. Under such conditions, even the U.S. superpower lacked staying power, precisely because it never intended to stay. The “staying” aspect of the Vietnam War was often referred to in the U.S. as a “quagmire.”
The ONLY live actor in the above description is the U.S. soldier, facet of empire. It's as if the landscape is totally devoid of the actual Indigenous peoples who live in the zones designated for warfare so that the military beasts can try out new weapons and argue--with empty coffers--that their budgetary requirements demand more. Enter the always next-in-development legion of killing tool-toys! THAT is what Astore gave his naïve allegiance to!
I am a major critic of the collective WE frame since it's used to take what the most spiritually retarded persons DO and attribute their deeds to all others.
Also, some of us DID learn from Nazi Germany; and we recognize the moral imperative that renders impotent this idea of "Just following orders." Apparently, that concept is unknown to Astore. Check out this line:
"At some level, the U.S. military knows it’s screwed. That’s why its commanders tinker so much with weapons and training and technology and tactics. It’s the stuff they can control, the stuff that seems real in a way that foreign peoples aren’t (at least to us)."
Only in the article's closing statement does the actuality of killing occupants (of invaded nations) show up:
"But foreign lands and peoples? We can’t control them. We don’t understand them. We can’t count on them. They’re just part of the landscape we’re eternally passing through -- sometimes as people to help and places to rebuild, other times as people to kill and places to destroy. What they aren’t is truly real."
They would be real if decency, empathy, and morality weren't beaten out of soldiers in things like Boot Camp training... supported by the soft propaganda campaign endlessly delivered by and through Hollywood films that sex up militarism and always feature an enemy to be destroyed.
These people are very real to those of us who don't subscribe to the War Business or volunteer ourselves to its lethal, robotic, amoral machinery.
A probing mind equipped with an intellect fearless in its pursuit of Truth might ask why it is that something so theoretically altruistic as missionary work finds itself so easily coupled with abject martial militarism? But Astore doesn't wish to go there. Perhaps he is no longer mentally equipped to do so... brainwashing being what it is.
From the article:
"Denying that we’re an empire while cloaking its ugly side in missionary-speak are two enduring aspects of the American brand of imperialism..."
"... the U.S. not only denies its imperial ambitions, but shrouds them in a curiously American brand of Christianized liberation theology."
Some people have graduated beyond the Crusades mindset, Astore... even if you and your colleagues are not among those enlightened folks.
Unfortunately, the Crusades crew sees no problem with the continued use of TWISTED chaplains arguing that it's God's/Christ's will that they KILL others in obvious violation of the Ten Commandments... particularly when wars are made on the basis of false causes and fabricated triggers!
The US now has the largest "empire" in terms of territory under the US "thumb" and numbers of military forces posted outside the continental US in the entire history of the human race. In truth "The Sun Never Sets On The Stars and Stripes"... We also spend more money on "defense" than the rest of the developed world put together. We are also the world's largest arms supplier.