Veterans For Peace

Demobilizing America: A Nation Made by War and a Citizenry Unmade By It

Tom Englehardts’ tale of the entanglement of America’s history with war and the question of whether we as a democracy can survive the next one.

In many ways, from its founding the United States has been a nation made by wars. The question in this century is: Will its citizenry and its form of government be unmade by them?

Much of VFP’s understanding of war comes from Vietnam. Englehardt decribes that experience as a launching point for the present day “American Foreign Legion” with approximately 800 bases around the World.

The Age of Demobilization

In the case of America’s wars, there’s a history that helps explain how we ended up in such a situation. It would undoubtedly begin with an American high command facing a military in near revolt in the later Vietnam years and deciding that the draft should be tossed out the window. What was needed, they came to believe, was an “all-volunteer” force (which, to them, meant a no-protest one).

In 1973, President Nixon obliged and ended the draft, the first step in bringing a rebellious citizen’s army and a rebellious populace back under control.  In the decades to come, the military would be transformed — though few here would say such a thing — into something closer to an American foreign legion.  In addition, in the post-9/11 years, that all-volunteer force came to shelter within it a second, far more secretive military, 70,000 strong: the Special Operations Command.  Members of that elite crew, which might be thought of as the president’s private army, are now regularly dispatched around the globe to train literal foreign legions and to commit deeds that are, at best, only half-known to the American people.

These activities have lead to the colonization of America by our own government. With fear and secrecy used to control the populace which once ended the war in Vietnam.

In these years, Americans have largely been convinced that secrecy is the single most crucial factor in national security; that what we do know will hurt us; and that ignorance of the workings of our own government, now enswathed in a penumbra of secrecy, will help keep us safe from “terror.”  In other words, knowledge is danger and ignorance, safety.  However Orwellian that may sound, it has become the norm of twenty-first-century America.

read the article at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/04/04/demobilizing-america-nation-made-war-and-citizenry-unmade-it

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