Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, February 24, 2018 08:17:22 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Opinion

A curious inversion

By
16th-Sep-2014       
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
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Indian Army Chief`s allegation means complicity of government of Bangladesh


REMARKS by Indian Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday that a 'planned influx' of people from Bangladesh into India's north-east is underway as part of a proxy war by Pakistan with support from China, so to keep the area disturbed. Moreover, he also said migration from Bangladesh are happening ...

Sports »

Bronze medalist in the women`s Big Air snowboard Synnott Zoi Sadowski of New Zealand, poses during the medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Thursday.


.

Entertainment »

Priyanka Chopra terminates contract with Nirav Modi, not suing him yet


Priyanka Chopra has decided to cut ties with billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi's brand following the news about the alleged banking fraud carried out by him. "In the light of recent allegations, Priyanka Chopra has chosen to terminate her contract with the Nirav Modi brand," a spokesperson of Priyanka, who ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Khaleda Zia Mukti Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday demanding release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.


.

International »

Ex-Trump campaign associates face more charges


AP, Washington  :Dramatically escalating the pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate.The filing adds allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud and significantly increases the legal jeopardy facing Paul Manafort, who managed Trump's campaign ...

Front Page »

Amnesty accuses President Trump of HR violations


Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Donald Trump of "hateful" politics and of being a threat to human rights. "President Trump takes actions that violate human rights at home and abroad," the group said. Amnesty put Mr Trump in the same group as the leaders of Egypt, Russia, China, ...

Editorial »

Serving people not making money must be the motto


PHYSICIANS must provide treatment, President Abdul Hamid said to common people at affordable cost so that no one remained deprived of receiving treatment for lack of money. He made the call while addressing the third convocation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the city on Monday. He has also ...

Sports »

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic celebrates after she beats Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Alicia Vikander loves `big adventure films`


Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander said she loves "independent and arthouse" cinema, but is also attracted towards the big adventure films.The actress, who will be soon seen as Lara Croft in the forthcoming film 'Tomb Raider', also shared that she found training and muscle-building exercise for the role, empowering. "My mother, ...

International »

Merkel calls for Europe to step up to global challenges


Reuters, Berlin  :The European Union must develop a response to growing global political and economic pressures and this will be the spirit of an EU summit this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.Merkel pointed to the crisis in Syria and the growing importance of Asian economies as needing ...

City »

SNAPSHOTS ON AMAR EKUSHEY OBSERVANCE


Editorial »

Ekushey tells us to be free and fearless against injustice


THE Nation celebrates 'Amar Ekushey' today with due solemnity and colourful festivities to remember the Martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement. It is a landmark occasion and a day of awakening in the history of Bengali people that gave us the clear realization that we have our own language and ...

Cricket »

Captain of Bangladesh National Cricket (ODI) team Mashrafe Bin Mortaza handing over a crest of honour to Hafiz Yasin Arafat at the Bashundhara International Convention Centre in the city recently. Yasin Arafat became Hafiz-e-Quran in 86 days. He was a student of Tanjimul Ummah Hifz Madrasah of Cox's Bazar. Ahlul Huffaz Foundation Bangladesh arranged the reception programme.


Sports »

Medalists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating (from left) : Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, of France (silver), Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada (gold) and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Tuesday.


International »

Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys


US President Donald Trump signaled support Monday for improving background gun checks amid mounting pressure for reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting, as the accused gunman appeared in court.Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people, sat silently with his head bowed during a procedural hearing in Fort ...

 
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