April 23, 2014
From a Time story on Chelsea Manning, serving a barbarous 35-year sentence for committing the truth in a public place:
For starters, the Department of Defense was known as the Department of War until 1947, when the newly-created (and named) Air Force, along with the Army, gathered under the same roof for the first time with the Navy (the new outfit was known as the National Military Establishment until 1949).
War has always had, not to put to fine a point on it, a specific and violent meaning. With the end of World War II — and the beginning of the Cold War — the U.S. government found itself needing a standing Army for the first time in its history. Replacing War with Defense made the change more palatable.
It would have been immediately clear to George Orwell (who was to publish 1984 two years later) that the United States was about to embark on a series of wars that would continue, almost unbroken, for the rest of the century and well into the next one.
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at April 23, 2014 07:45 PM
And the military industrial complex seems to be the footing of our entire economy --- the only "things" America now produces in country seems to be movies, music and war.
We export all three, so as to go on telling our countrymen and women that everything is alright. Nothing is alright. And we can't afford our wars, and literally wait for the veterans to die so we don't have to keep promisees made to them.
A lot of that history is kind of creepy too. The death of James Forrestal. The letter by Albert
Einstein, Hannah Arendt and many other prominent Jews concerning the creation of the State of Israel and the fate of the former British colony of Palestine that was published in the NY Times, the creation of the National Security State, the NSA and all the events that followed up the recent appointment by Obama of Chuck Hagel to
Secretary of Defense.
And Hagel's his position on Israel and his recent announcement that the US was going to scale back the army to the size that it was before WWII. Should have done that not too long after that war. Although I guess it pissed our leaders off that the so many Russians died in WWII on their side that we had to concede a whole lot more of Eastern Europe than we wanted to. Although they did have the superior argument if one believes that the victor who fought the hardest should get most of the spoils.
It all spells one thing. We've gone ahead and done just about exactly the same thing the British did. We spent our way into national bankruptcy, morally, spiritually and physically. We have (and probably still do) tortured, we have targeted killing, and the national infrastructure is in pretty bad shape especially when you consider we spent all our money building our system designed on the theory that oil would never run out.
But we create our own myths. For example.
If you think the Germans started WWI it would behoove you to read Albert Jay Nock's "The Myth of a Guilty Nation" concerning who spent more money preparing for that war long before it occurred. Particularly his rather humorous comment about the little nation of Belgium always being ready to let troops in from either the German or the French side. Whatever way it went, the Belgiums prepared to host whatever side was there when the plundering began. Although they had their troops on the French side prior to WWWI, expecting to have to meet the French, ready to welcome them through I suppose, as they knew that it was going to come from one way or the other - it always had. So they just prepared to host whatever side decided to barge through. The only reason we ever got in that mess was because the French and the British owed us a lot more than the Germans and we wanted their money more than the Germans. The Germans being rather hard bargainers, Krupp having collected royalties from the British on arms it sold to them, the royealties based on how many Germans those arms killed. The more Germans the British killed, the more Krupp earned. We have something along those lines going here, but we haven't had the guns turned on those of us here at home.Not yet unless you count 9/11. Unless you volunteer. Not yet but we're doing a fine job of getting there. The history we read as it happens and as it is remembered is always doctored in some way to try to keep the population proud of this fine, rather shabby and raggedy compared to many others, nation of ours.
But I suspect we've just about accomplished what the British did before us when Churchill had to admit to Franklin that the gold was gone and Franklin bargained hard to get all he could. The problem with Roosevelt was that he proved to the Republicans just how much money could be made in a war and for Christ sake turned those old antiwar Republicans around and soon had them cheeering on war harder than Teddy Roosevelt who the Republicans ran out of town on a rail. The son of a bitch. (Franklin I mean). Had Roosevelt lived I doubt he would have wanted the country to have to have one of its leaders follow in Churchill's shoes. Although that's a guess.
But we've gone ahead and just about done it anyway.
So it goes.