Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, October 26, 2020 01:26:06 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Opinion

A curious inversion

By
16th-Sep-2014       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Thomas L. Knapp :
When I tuned in to US president Barack Obama's televised speech on his plans for war against the so-called "Islamic State," I expected exactly what we got - a bland sundae of pseudo-patriotic drivel topped off with some whipped cream of big bucks for the military-industrial complex and the cherry of regime change in Syria. What I didn't expect was a bon mot homage to a previous era:
"[W]e are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." - US president Lyndon Johnson, October 21, 1964
"[W]e cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves …" US president Barack Obama, September 10, 2014
A curious inversion: LBJ's remark came near the end of the "advisor" era in Vietnam and prior to the massive, direct US military intervention there. Obama's reprise comes after nearly a quarter century of massive, direct US military interventions in Iraq and proposes to make history run backward into an "advisor" scenario. Curious, but clearly not accidental.
We all remember how Vietnam ended. After two lost ground wars in Asia in the last 12 years, after recourse to the history book accounts of the post-WWII era, you might expect Obama to have learned a lesson by now. And you'd be right.
Unfortunately the lesson he's learned isn't the obvious one (mind your own business, America!). Rather it's that modern American wars aren't meant to be "won." The measure of success since 1945 is not military victory over a defined enemy, but dollars fed into the maw of "defense" contractors - the more and the longer the better.
Obama's perverse hat tip to LBJ might have been better framed as an invocation of Harry Hopkins, US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest political confidant. Hopkins summed up the past history and future goals of all states in 1938 thusly: "[S]pend and spend and spend, and tax and tax and tax, and elect and elect and elect." World War II put the military-industrial complex at the center of the "spend, tax" web. It has remained there ever since and has every intention of remaining there until the end of time.
Nearly 65 years after the first shots of the Korean war, the US still maintains a force of nearly 30,000 troops along the 38th Parallel. Nearly 75 years after VE and VJ Days, the US still maintains huge garrisons and naval presences in Europe (nearly 70,000 troops) and the Pacific (80,000).
The purpose of these gigantic perpetual deployments? To justify expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars per year on weapons, gear, ships, planes, barracks and so forth, all provided by our politicians' friends in the "defense" industry. The killing isn't the point, except to the extent that the weapons wear out, the ammunition gets consumed, etc. so that more stuff can be bought.
Vietnam was a long and lucrative war but pretty much a one-off affair. When it was over it was over.
The aim of successive US administrations in the Middle East seems to be a return to the Vietnam model, with some helpful modifications. The mythology of ISIS as a substantial (even, in the overheated words of certain Capitol Hill crazies, "existential") threat to the US, combined with its actual status as an amorphous, ill-defined bogeyman that can never really be "defeated," lends itself well to the further extension of 24 years of war.
And the aim of the current administration in Ukraine? To extend NATO's 70-year career, on its own model and on that of Korea, instead of letting a long since militarily pointless "alliance" shuffle off to the retirement home.
The usual leading and fixed question set on matters of war is: "Can the state afford to have this war?" Quickly countered with "can the state afford to NOT have this war?"
The real question we should be asking ourselves is "can we afford the state and its perpetual wars?"

Tariff
Sonali-Paper
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

People don't need directives on pandemic they need deeds of help to face economic hardship


HEALTH experts on Saturday suggested taking lessons from the mistakes in last seven months and implementing scientific decisions more than bureaucratic ones to fight the second wave of the Covid-19 which is apprehended to hit the country during winter. They also recommended intensifying community engagement and risk communication, but pointed ...

Business & Economy »

Dr Sultan Ahmed, Secretary of Power Division, inaugurating the 'Bangabondhu Avenue 33/11 sub-station' at Bangabondhu Avenue in city's Gulistan area on Sunday as chief guest. Engineer Bikash Dewan, Managing Director and other senior officials of Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) were also present.


Business & Economy »

BPC gets new chairman


Business Desk :The government has appointed Md Abu Bakar Siddique as the chairman of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).The Ministry of Public Administration issued a circular in this regard on Thursday, saying the order will come into immediate effect, reports UNB.He will replace Md Shamsul Rahman, an additional secretary of ...

City »

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal speaks to officers and sailors of 'BNS Bijoy' on its arrival from Lebanon after completion of UN Peace Keeping Mission UNIFIL successfully on Sunday.


City »

Egyptian Ambassador to Bangladesh Walid Ahmed Shamseldin makes his farewell call on Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen at his office in the capital on Sunday


International »

`Demands not met`: Anti-govt protests resume in Iraq


Al Jazeera News :Protesters have gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to mark one year since anti-government protests erupted and gripped Iraq.Sunday's demonstrations renewed calls from last October which saw the start of Iraq's biggest anti-government protest movement since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein, with demonstrations in the capital Baghdad ...

Entertainment »

Neha Kakkar, Rohanpreet Singh’s wedding takes place at Gurudwara


New videos from the wedding of singers Neha Kakkar and Rohanpreet Singh have been leaked on the internet. In the clips, the two are seen twinning in shades of peach and pink, as they get married at Gurudwara in Delhi. Videos from the ring ceremony were also shared online. Neha ...

International »

Nigeria says 51 civilians, 18 security forces killed in unrest


Al Jazeera News :Nigeria's president announced 51 civilians were killed in unrest following days of peaceful protests over police abuses and blamed "hooliganism" for the violence while asserting security forces used "extreme restraint".President Muhammadu Buhari's comments in a statement released late Friday are expected to further inflame tensions after Amnesty ...

Business & Economy »

MM Monirul Alam, CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Limited, handing over its first Maturity Claim (Individual Life Policy) cheque to its nominee at its head office in the city recently. Mahmudur Rahman Khan, SEVP, Mohammad Masuduzzaman Khan, EVP, Rubayat Saleheen, SVP and other officials of the company were also present.


Entertainment »

Ananya Panday`s friends had to say after watching Khaali Peeli


Ananya Panday has carved out a special place in the hearts of the audience with her quirky looks and her ability to nail every character. After the success of Khaali Peeli, Ananya is on cloud nine with all the love and appreciation that is coming her way. Not only were ...

Editorial »

Nothings to stop stealing funds for family planning


MEDIA reports said Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) has paid ghost bills against work orders that were not either fulfilled or not implemented at all by contractual parties. Such cases of fake billing and misappropriation funds galore with another DGFP project; in which a probe committee found payments were ...

Editorial »

Transfer may offer protection from anger of local people


NINETEEN police officials including the Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) have been transferred on Thursday in the aftermath of Rayhan murder in city's Bandar Bazar police outpost on October 11.  The Commissioner has been transferred to Prime Minister's Special Protection Battalion (SPBn) as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police ...

International »

Erdogan says Turkey tested Russian S-400s, shrugs off US reaction


Reuters, Ankara :Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Turkey had been testing the S-400 air defense system it bought from Russia, adding that the objection from NATO ally United States on the issue did not matter.Washington says Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 systems compromise NATO defences, and has ...

Entertainment »

What film actors say about Pori Moni on the occasion of her birthday


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Children are very much fond of film actress Pori Moni. There is a reason for one thing. After releasing the song titled Dana kata pori performed by Pori Moni in Wajed Ali Sumon directed movie Rokto, it is still popular songs among all. In any stage show ...

Editorial »

Bangladesh should take immediate measures to cope with Kuwait's new foreign workers’ law


KUWAIT'S parliament has approved a law to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country by one year, as part of efforts to 'rebalance' its population. The new legislation, which would force hundreds of thousands of expats to leave the Gulf state, was passed with an aim to provide ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news