Manufacturing Insecurity and The Dangers of U.S. Militarism

December 12th, 2010 by Andy in America: Republic or Empire?

Author William Pfaff provides this insightful and informative overview on the “manufacture of insecurity” and the rise of U.S. militarism since the Second World War.

It is time to ask a fundamental question that few in an official or political position in the United States seem willing to ask. Has it been a terrible error for the United States to have built an all but irreversible worldwide system of a thousand or more military bases, stations and outposts?

This system has been created to enhance American national security, but what if it has actually done the opposite, provoking conflict and creating the very national insecurity it is intended to prevent?


The United States today displays certain characteristics of a classical militarist state, as the great modern historian of militarism, Alfred Vagts, has described it — a society in which military and internal security demands are paramount, its political imagination obsessed by vast threats yet to be realized. Vagts wrote that militarism has meant “the imposition of heavy burdens on a people for military purposes, to the neglect of welfare and culture”. It exists, he notes, as “a civilian as well as a military phenomenon.”


The United States Navy, as William Lind, the military theorist notes, maintains eleven large aircraft carrier battle groups cruising the seas, “structured to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy,” even though submarines are today’s capital ships: those that determine the control of blue water. One can add that American army officers, once rather puritan in attire, have today acquired a taste for military adornment more appropriate to nineteenth century operetta — their uniforms covered with decorations, campaign ribbons, insignia of personal accomplishments, attachments signifying previous duties, and other trivial ornamentation. General of the Armies George C. Marshall, who commanded all American armies in world war II, declined to wear the decorations he had won in the first world war because he considered this inappropriate for the desk officer he had become, sending young men to their deaths.


The United States, now in possession of military forces larger than those of all its rivals and allies combined, began as a nation that abhorred standing armies. The issue of quartering British troops became a serious irritant in relations with Britain in the mid-eighteenth century, and taxation of trade to support a British army in the American colonies was one of the principal sources of pre-revolutionary discontent during the quarter-century leading up to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.


The most important result of substituting today‚s professional army for a citizens‚ army is that it has created an instrument of national power that is no longer directly accountable to the public. During the Bush years, and to an extent under the Obama administration, it has been used in a manner, and employed methods that would have been unacceptable in the past. Thus a professional army — supplemented by a nearly equivalent number of civilian mercenaries that is directly accountable only to the Pentagon exists primarily to augment the national “military-industrial complex” leadership, with its corporate and political interests, against which Dwight Eisenhower warned many decades ago. The defense and securities industries are today he most important components of the U.S. manufacturing economy, and their corporate interests now are in a position to dominate Congress, as well as an inexperienced administration. Without excessive exaggeration, one might say of the United States today what once was said of Prussia — that it is a state owned by its army


Within its borders, the United States is invulnerable to conventional military defeat; that cannot be said of its forces deployed elsewhere. U.S. security is far more likely to be found in a noninterventionist foreign policy designed to produce a negotiated military withdrawal from both Afghanistan and Iraq, without leaving bases behind, and a general disengagement from military interference in the affairs of other societies, leaving them to search for their own solutions to their own problems. So drastic a reversal of U.S. policy will not be possible without heavy political costs, both domestic and foreign. Nevertheless, the time has come for U.S. policymakers to begin considering reversing course.

Read The Full Article

One Response to ' Manufacturing Insecurity and The Dangers of U.S. Militarism '

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' Manufacturing Insecurity and The Dangers of U.S. Militarism '.

  1. on December 13th, 2010 at 5:00 am

    […] When France falls in June 1940 more polls are published in a frenzy of worried activity revealing that 80 % of Britons are pessimistic or uncertain about the war’s outcome with an astonishing 90 % Further you can see this related post: […]

Leave a reply

Search Articles

USTV Recommended Read: