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January 03, 2010

New Tomdispatch


An American World of War
What to Watch for in 2010

By Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse

According to the Chinese calendar, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. We don’t name our years, but if we did, this one might prospectively be called the Year of the Assassin.

We, of course, think of ourselves as something like the peaceable kingdom. After all, the shock of September 11, 2001 was that “war” came to “the homeland,” a mighty blow delivered against the very symbols of our economic, military, and -- had Flight 93 not gone down in a field in Pennsylvania -- political power.

Since that day, however, war has been a stranger in our land. With the rarest of exceptions, like Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan’s massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, this country has remained a world without war or any kind of mobilization for war. No other major terrorist attacks, not even victory gardens, scrap-metal collecting, or rationing. And certainly no war tax to pay for our post-9/11 trillion-dollar “expeditionary forces” sent into battle abroad. Had we the foresight to name them, the last few years domestically might have reflected a different kind of carnage -- 2006, the Year of the Subprime Mortgage; 2007, the Year of the Bonus; 2008, the Year of the Meltdown; 2009, the Year of the Bailout. And perhaps some would want to label 2010, prematurely or not, the Year of Recovery.

Although our country delivers war regularly to distant lands in the name of our “safety,” we don’t really consider ourselves at war (despite the endless talk of “supporting our troops”), and the money that has simply poured into Pentagon coffers, and then into weaponry and conflicts is, with rare exceptions, never linked to economic distress in this country. And yet, if we are no nation of warriors, from the point of view of the rest of the world we are certainly the planet’s foremost war-makers. If money talks, then war may be what we care most about as a society and fund above all else, with the least possible discussion or debate.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at January 3, 2010 11:44 PM

Where's the cartoon?

Posted by: Marcus at January 4, 2010 01:44 PM

Maybe the least possible debate, but no one trapped somewhere for a days with the cable shows blaring in the background can think we do anything with the least possible discussion. For the past few days I have faintly heard in the back of my head the din of a hundred "experts" on terror talking about underwear bombs and security threats and screening and the danger of releasing prisoners from Gitmo to Yemen, and probably every other aspect of the war on terror that Joe Lieberman et al love to talk about. I actually suspect that bombarded with this noise is a milder version of part of what is done to the prisoners at Gitmo.

Posted by: N E at January 4, 2010 02:01 PM

Great post, however I do disagree with the Fort Hood episode as the only one of its kind. If you want to count Major Hasan in the "GWOT" statistics, please add the other military members who cracked and took out some folks. Not only that, there are plenty of cases where someone decided to take out mass quantities of innocents in the USA but our fear mongers have not bothered to "connect" those events to the bogieman.

Posted by: Blakenator at January 4, 2010 02:11 PM

True there's lots of discussion, but only on limited terms. Today, I heard Sec. Clinton refer to the "war in Yemen." What war in Yemen? Are we at war in Yemen? Wouldn't know it from watching CNN. I expect an uptick in secret wars
now that they know the nation has gotten war-weary.

Posted by: Paul Avery at January 4, 2010 09:32 PM

Ongoing psy-war on yammer from malcontents -- coming. Just wait until they get their duckies in line. Get their spreadsheet/db datalinks to crisis [um, not quite] stations. Or, generally, spreadshot from 12 gauge as empire lists undeniably to stabbad. Hopefully, we can find some cover and continue assaultive comment until electricity gives out. Electrolysis of meme until relative zero is reached. When alternative is depleted, Nemesis is in the curtains, fiddling the bones...

Posted by: Woodyeofalb at January 4, 2010 09:50 PM

Hmm. Doesn't surprise me that Sec Clinton referred to the "war in Yemen." She strikes me as among the more worthless of the lot of them, not much different from Lieberman in the ways that count.

The wars we're waging seemingly EVERYWHERE in the Islamic world aren't all that secret, even if nobody pays much attention to them, and mistah charley's MICFiC (that still always makes me chuckle) can move public opinion any way it wants when it has to. Without that great system of control, we could never sustain the absurd militarism of the US, which is squeezing the life of the US population decade by decade like a python eating a wild boar. Except at least the wild boar probably recognizes the situation it's in.

I need to read some more Solnit.

Posted by: N E at January 5, 2010 12:14 AM