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War and Perpetual Adolescence


War and Perpetual Adolescence

The urgency I feel isn’t any longer to stop a particular war but to interrupt endless war: to interrupt the narrowly focused geopolitical conversation, conveyed to us over and over by media stenographers, in which lethal intervention — wherever — is always the first and only choice. The uncertainty is never a matter of “if.” It’s only a matter of “when.”


An equally apt title might also be: War and Perpetual Orgasm. Henry Kissinger once stated that, “power is the ultimate aphrodesiac” and as crude and inelegant as the statement is, there is a the reality that having the power of life and death over another is the ultimate power. For most of us growing to emotional maturity includes learning that “more” is not always better and that moderation and restraint makes indulgence a more satisfying experience.
Not so for the late teen and early to mid 20 somethings raised on the ritualized violence of professional sports, video games, and vulgar culture that is the civilization of the US. Like addictive drugs, their bodies and spirits soon enough discover that they need more and more to find the satisfaction their poisoned spirits crave. The managers and masters of war are also hooked on the perpetual orgasm orgasm of power. Even the profits cease to have meaning when you have more wealth than the next 10 generations of your family could ever consume. However, there are always new lands to conquer and new peoples to subjugate and dominate.
The ultimate outcome of all this fixation on perpetual orgasm is a culture of numbness followed by a culture of death (the ultimate orgasm of power!). Of such are the sick minds who maintain mafia-like “kill lists”, obsess on the desire to “collect everything” by invading the privacy of everyone, promiscuously rain death and destruction from the skies with missile firing drones, engage in systematic torture, and then take great umbrage at the gunning down of journalists and the burning alive of pilots by those offended or at risk of their lives from their activities.
God gave humans two heads but only enough blood to fill one at a time–the craving for an orgasm has no conscience.


To empire’s bread and circuses add too much Edward Bernays and not enough Smedley Butler and you pretty much have the recipe for where we are. As Twain quipped, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”


As always, Robert Koehler writes thought provoking articles. He says he would like to interrupt endless war. I would ask–How can we do that? What will be the catalyst that promotes change and growth to adulthood of a U.S. in the throes of a raging adolescence?

He rightly names privatization and the takeover by Corporate America as the major culprit in commercializing both Christmas and Democracy. We now have Democracy for profit…where war profiteer is no longer a dirty name.

I watched a youTube video after the SuperBowl that a friend sent me that featured Marshawn Lynch playing Mortal Kombat (the most ghastly game ever) with (I forget the name), and thought: Yes, this is just how our country views war! It’s a big game. The enemy is fair game to rip apart. We have dehumanized even ourselves! Now, our own police look upon us as the enemy! Is that what it will take for us to grow up? Slaughter within our own borders?


Thanks for the great piece. It is time to change the rhetoric and actions that the only response is war. As much as I hated the cold war with Russia it was surely better than the hot war with rogue states.


America’s main business has been war ever since WW II. There’s a good reason that virtually all the countless think tanks that address global issues are wholly owned subsidiaries – at least philosophically – of the U.S. war industry. War is extremely profitable, especially when it’s subsidized by America’s nearly $1 trillion (total) war budget. When the usual-suspect war-mongers weighed in the Ukraine situation, the report they produced was just as predictable as it was amusing. Was the cover of the report covered by logos of the main weapons manufacturers and the war-related companies in Israel and elsewhere? It should have been.


“I wish I knew how we could stop dehumanization practices just as effectively when we commit them beyond our own borders.”
The point of dehumanizing those in other countries is so that we can attack them on their turf before they can attack us on our turf. We can never again allow terrorists to do what they did on 9/11 … and if you believe this I have a bridge I’d like to sell you!
I remember saying as a child that we had to go fight in Vietnam so that Communism/Russia didn’t take over the world; strange that not long after that war was over the USSR imploded. We always seem to have a ‘reason’ for getting into a war, but as the author brought up, it’s a lot harder to justify not going to war.


Hi Armybrat, Thanks for your reply. It’s sad to think of “devolving” when a good part of the rest of the world is trying to “evolve.” My opinion on this, although it may be a bit paranoid, is that the corporations are at fault here. Their wish, IMO, is to destabalize this country so that they can then pay pennies for American labor–just as they now do to other third world countries. After the TPP passes, we’ll begin to see even worse conditions here and probably much much more violence as we transition into a third world country. I sure hope I’m wrong on this.


You’re not wrong…unfortunately. This is exactly what our “masters” plan to do.


The last war we fought primarily on our own land was the Civil War 1861-1865. I wish we could figure out how to make a war on catastrophic climate change even more profitable for each too big to fail corporation that would be involved than business as usual would be. It would be a high price to pay for ordinary working class Americans, but perhaps still a lesser evil than taking even a one in six chance of losing civilization to average global temperatures 6C higher than now in about 90 years, which our crops would be very hard pressed to tolerate. It would do enough harm to agriculture to drop Earth’s carrying capacity for humans to 2 billion from our now well over 7 billion going on 8 billion population. That is what the scientists who study climate change are telling us we risk. They predict a mean expectation of 4C higher temperatures, which would be bad enough, and only one in six chance of only 2C higher temperatures.
Our military industrial complex is well able to make renewable energy equipment. I am sure, that if our federal government decided they want to capture CO2 from ambient air, it could buy the patents from Global Thermostat and have our military industrial complex firms make Global Thermostats and add compressors to use the captured CO2 as fracking fluid in enhanced geothermal systems. Our gas and oil firms are already eager to drill and frack geothermal wells–dispatchable renewable energy. Even with economy of scale, capturing enough CO2 and compressing it to use instead of water-based fracking fluid is likely to be quite a bit more expensive. Maybe between the social cost of carbon and the great need for fresh water for irrigation, it will be possible to justify enough subsidy to persuade fossil fuel firms to use CO2 for fracking fluid.