Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, March 23, 2019 03:12:55 AM
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 »

Save Halda from dying


DEPARTMENT of Environment has revealed that waste from a housing estate and some factories are polluting the Halda river in Chattogram to the extent that it caused dying of fish. Currently, the pollution of the Halda is severely affecting the livelihood of adjacent people, in particular the fishermen. In June ...

International »

Prince Charles heads to Cuba amid US tensions


AFP, Havana :Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will make the first royal visit to communist-run Cuba on Sunday at a time when ally Washington is seeking to ramp up sanctions against the island.The 70-year-old prince was asked by the British government to add Cuba to a long-planned tour ...

Football »

US beat Ecuador 1-0 in int’l friendly soccer


AP, Orlando :Gregg Berhalter's vision for the U.S. national team started to unfold as the Americans passed the ball from side to side, played diagonal balls long and short. Possession is his key to success.The style was more pleasing. But the only goal of night was pretty weird.Gyasi Zardes's shot ...

Entertainment »

Homayra Himu wants to give direction


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Five years ago, popular TV actress Homayra Himu produced a telefilm titled Bhalobashi Othoba Bashi Bhalo. But producing that telefilm she faced financial crisis during that time. She was sufferer for this and later decided not to produce any work. But she is interested to give direction ...

Sports »

Russia's Natalia Zabiiko and Alexander Enbert perform their pairs free skate during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo on Thursday.


Football »

Trinidad and Tobago's Aubrey David (left) and Wales' Ryan Hedges battle for the ball during the International Friendly soccer match between Wales and Trinidad and Tobago, at the Racecourse Ground, in Wrexham, Wales on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Deepika Padukone checks all ticks in list over a week


Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone has had an eventful last week as the actress unveiled her prestigious Statue of Purpose at Madame Tussauds and graced the Vogue International cover as the Global Talent. Both the events are key and one of the major highlights in the life of the actress. ...

City »

Holi festival celebrated with enthusiasm, fanfare


Thousands of devotees on Thursday celebrated the Holi, a Hindu religious festival of colours, across the country with due religious fervour and much enthusiasm."Marking the festival, a large number of devotees thronged the Dhakeswari National Temple in the morning to offer abir, a pink colored powder, at the foot of ...

Editorial »

Europe`s worst genocide and Karadzic`s life imprisonment


IT'S another symbol of justice against a 'genocide' that had committed about 25 years ago by a powerful European ruler; Radovan Karadzic. The 73-year former Bosnian Serb leader has been awarded life imprisonment for his crimes in the war that broke-up his country in 1990. UN judges in The Hague ...

Business & Economy »

Vivo launches V15 with 32 MP Pop-Up Selfie camera


Business Desk :Vivo, the innovative global smart phone brand, launched the long-awaited smart phone V15 after it's pro version V15 Pro was unveiled in Bangladesh last month. The Vivo V15 packs a 32 megapixel pop up selfie camera, a powerful triple rear camera set-up, stunning Ultra Full-View display 6.53 inch ...

International »

NZ bans sale of assault gun, semi-auto rifles


 AFP, Wellington :New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban on the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatics Thursday in a muscular response to the Christchurch terror attack that killed 50 people."Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban ...

International »

EU chief says Brexit delay possible if MPs approve deal


The EU could approve Britain's request for a short delay to Brexit but only if UK MPs next week vote through the withdrawal deal they have twice rejected, European Council president Donald Tusk said Wednesday.With nine days to go before Britain is due to leave the bloc, the country is ...

Business & Economy »

Bolsonaro to visit Trump to firm up conservative alliance


AFP, Brasilia :Brazil's far right President Jair Bolsonaro will meet US counterpart Donald Trump next week to strengthen ties in the nascent regional conservative alliance aiming to ramp up the pressure on Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro.After decades of fractious relations between Brasilia and Washington, things have improved with the assumption to ...

Entertainment »

Romeo Akbar Walter celebrates unnoticed people: Mouni Roy


Actress Mouni Roy, who will be seen in the forthcoming film Romeo Akbar Walter, says the espionage thriller celebrates the unnoticed people who have sacrificed their lives for the love of their country. Romeo Akbar Walter is set against the backdrop of the India-Pakistan War of 1971. In the film, ...

Entertainment »

Biased towards TV but enjoy digital: Sakshi Tanwar


Actress Sakshi Tanwar, who has featured in a web series titled The Final Call, says she is biased towards television but has started enjoying working in the digital platform as it gives an opportunity to actors to experiment in a lesser period of time.  “I feel every medium is different. ...

 
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