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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Empire Strikes Out

There have been a number of instances of a breakdown in military discipline and ethos recently. There are probably many more about which we have not heard. It seemed to all begin early on, at Abu Ghraib, and continued through the present two highly publicized cases of posing for photos with body parts (yet again! this is not the first time this has been reported.) reported yesterday, and the slaughter of 17 innocent civilians by Army Staff Sgt. Bales.

We and many others have spoken of the state of Constant Warfare which seems to have been in the plans for the 21st century: a constant War on Something-or-Other, whether it be Drugs, Militias, or Terrorists.
The klaxons of war would never be silenced, and we would easily slide into that drab and desperate world of the future as seen by Orwell in 1984, or - even worse - we would cakewalk into the sweet strawberry jam of homegrown Fascism as seen by Robert Heinlein in Starship Troopers.

We are now watching the Empire of Constant Warfare stress its components to the breaking point. We have been using Iraq and Afghanistan for over 20 years as a test lab for our technology,  and showing the good results on prime time TV, while trying desperately to cover up the failures.
Wars are best fought economically, smartly, and quickly, yet we have created wars with no definable end point, no definable goal, and for which there is no end in sight. What is the psychic result of tension and killing with no foreseeable end?
It is what we are looking at right now: things begin to fall apart... things beginning with people. How can I imagine the state of mind of Mrs. Bales, whose husband had multiple tours in the greatest danger, and now has to deal with the destruction of his psyche and their life together, and has to think of the dead. How much can a person bear?

We - all of us - as the people of a Democracy are the ones ultimately responsible for this.

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