Monday, April 12, 2010

Nine Long Years

For nine long years American men and women have been in combat in foreign lands, with no end in sight. To what end? Increasingly, it seems they are there simply because that is what America does; it fights wars.

The "Wikileaks Video" has shocked and surprised many, but it has done neither to me. I remember Vietnam all to well; this video clip is simply what war is. That is not to say that what we see in that video is acceptable; it is not. What we see in that video is exactly why this nation should be so reluctant to engage in war, and why it should disengage as promptly as possible when it finds itself so engaged.

And so what we see in this clip happens, and to maintain the status quo it is carefully and aggressively concealed from the 99.5% of the people of this nation who are not engaged in making war. As Andrew Bacevich says to Bill Moyers, this is the result of abandoning the concept of the "citizen soldier" and embracing a professional armed forces. America is not at war, America is uninvolved because the war is carefully hidden from view; only the military, about one half of one percent of America, is at war.

All of America should hear what Andrew Bacevich has to say, and the extended conversation contains much more. That conversation concludes with a discussion of the aftermath of the 2006 election, when voters gave the Democratic Party a mandate to shut down the war in Iraq and they failed utterly to follow through on their promise to do that.

Bill Moyers: But what do we make of that?

Andrew Bacevich: I think what we what we make of that is that the militarization of our political class is far more advanced or far deeper I think than most of us appreciate.

I think Andrew has it exactly right.

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