Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tomgram: On the Imperial Path in 2007

[Note to readers: Tomdispatch returns in the New Year ready to roll and with a year-inaugurating theme. Consider today's piece an introduction to a January-long exploration of America's imperial mission, the Pentagon's role in it, and the militarization of our society. Though Robert Dreyfuss will, this week, be laying out Iraq policy options, and Elizabeth de la Vega as well as David Swanson will soon survey this season's legal and investigatory landscape, a number of upcoming posts will focus on our militarizing future. Look forward to: Nick Turse on urban war-fighting plans for 2025; a Michael Klare two-parter on the global militarization of energy policy; Frida Berrigan on the weaponry in our future; and Chalmers Johnson on our imperial fate. Tom]

Let's Do It Again!

Doubling Down on the Imperial Mission in 2007
By Tom Engelhardt

Okay, folks, it's time for a year-opening sermon. And like any good sermon, this one will be based on illustrative texts, in this case from 2006, and inspirational passages plucked from them. Its goal, as in any such quest, will be to reveal a world normally hidden from us in our daily lives.

Every day, it seems, essential choices are being made in our names by our top officials, civilian and military, many of whom, as the year ended, only reaffirmed that our country is headed down an imperial path in the Middle East and elsewhere, a path based on dreams of domination and backed, above all else, by the principle of force. No matter their disagreements over the administration's Iraq catastrophe, on this, agreement has remained so widespread as to make all discussion of the basics seem beside the point. Despite recent failures on the imperial path, consideration of other paths remains almost inconceivable.

Naturally, the continual act of choosing the path we are on, and the hardly noticed Pentagonization and Homeland Securitization of our own society that goes with it are never presented to Americans as such. If no alternatives to what we are doing are ever suggested, then logic is with the doers, no matter the staggering problems on the horizon.

In fact, what we do in the world -- how, for instance, we choose to garrison the planet -- is seldom presented as a matter of choice at all. Either it's been forced on us by "them" -- the rogues, the jihadis, the madmen, the evil ones -- and so is the only path to our obvious safety (as defined by our betters in Washington); or it's so obvious that nothing needs to be done but reaffirm it. As in all Washington debates at this moment, what's truly important is simply to decide how to make that imperial path less rocky and those dreams of domination that pass for American "security" more achievable (or even, as in Iraq, less noticeably catastrophic).

End of introduction to sermon. Now to the illustrative texts and examples.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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