Home > War On Terror > War. What Is It Good For? Our Militaristic Society

War. What Is It Good For? Our Militaristic Society

Today we look at out increasingly militaristic society by presenting three stories. First we look at the dirty truth about our war in Afghanistan in the form of the release of 90,000 secret documents from the U.S. military regarding the war. The web site WikiLeaks has obtained and released these secret documents and face possible jail time for there attempt to expose the truth. You may experience problems getting on to their site so we are presetning a link to the British paper The Guardian which is also breaking the story in a big way.

Afghanistan war logs

The Afghanistan war logs series of reports on the war in Afghanistan published by the Guardian is based on the US military‘s internal logs of the conflict between January 2004 and December 2009. The material, largely classified by the US as secret, was obtained by the whistleblower website Wikileaks, which has published the full archive. The Guardian, along with the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, was given access to the logs before publication to verify their authenticity and assess their significance.

A team of investigative reporters, regional specialists and database experts spent weeks combing the data for matters of public interest. After establishing the meaning of more than 400 abbreviations and military acronyms they were able to authenticate the logs by comparing them with other records and cross-checking with other sources. They were able to dismiss some of the more lurid intelligence reports as unfounded and establish that some aspects of the coalition’s recording of civilian casualties is unreliable.

But taken together, the logs provide a revealing and important picture of how the war is being conducted: the continuing escalation of the conflict; the weakness of much coalition intelligence; and the gap between the polished account of the war offered for public consumption and the messy reality experienced by commanders on the ground. This is one side’s raw, immediate first hand account of the conflict as it happened

To read more click here.

Our second story looks at another brave teller of the truth Tom Engelhardt a longtime book editor, is the creator and editor of the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute.

Published on Friday, July 23, 2010 by Huffington Post

The American Empire According to TomDispatch

The Essential, Undistractable Tom Engelhardt

by Dan Froomkin

“Foremost among those realities is the extraordinary militarization of this nation in the post-9/11 era, and the skewing of public debate such that options that don’t involve massive uses of force are essentially disregarded — actually dismissed as dangerous, when in fact it is war that is dangerous. This goes a long way to explaining so many of the poor decisions made by our leaders that individually, but only briefly, get the attention of the mass media.”

Click here to read the entire post.

And finally this post from Veterans Today which gives the point of view of William J. Astore, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who teaches history at the Pennsylvania College of Technology:

The Militarization of American Society Has Gone Too Far

The U.S. Military Has Created Its Own Reality

Here’s an excerpt from a famous article by Ron Suskind, a former Wall Street Journal reporter that appeared in an issue of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine way back in 2004:

“In the summer of 2002, I had… a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush…[who] told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend – but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’

I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

This anecdote, as related above, became a kind of Internet sensation. It encapsulated in a profound way an expansive approach to the American “exception,” one that harkened backwards rather than forward. The American exception, in its initial, colonial incarnation, had to do with the creation of a republican society that would be different than the class-ridden and soul-suffocating societies of ancient Europe. It would avoid the twin traps of governmental repression and authoritarian hubris.

To read the entire post click here.

And we round out our look at militarism in modern American government with this song from another country and another time but still carries a lot of relevant meaning today.

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