Thursday, October 11, 2012

zombie empire

The American Empire has morphed into its zombie stage. Looking at the drone attacks in the extended Middle East, the Pentagon Budgets, the proliferation of overseas bases, you can see death pushing out through the skin, from the inside, just as you can see it in the profile of the spiky-crowned 3rd-century Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus.

The empire's demise began in our most triumphant moment: a frustrated stalemate in Korea, followed by an ignominious defeat in southeast Asia, in a war that we still have not come to terms with and can't forget.

But the communists who provided the rationale for those wars are gone. We are in the field now 24/7 against a rag-tag collection of religious fanatics with a few rocket-propelled grenades and some suicide bombers, and even Osama bin Laden is dead. We are left watching an arms race with one participant, not exactly a race by any definition.

"And yet," says Tom Engelhardt in one of his as-usual penetrating analyses of the U.S. military empire, "the more dominant the U.S. military becomes in its ability to destroy and the more its forces are spread across the globe, the more the defeats and semi-defeats pile up, the more the missteps and mistakes grow, the more the strains show, the more the suicides rise, the more the nation’s treasure disappears down a black hole -- and in response to all of this, the more moves the Pentagon makes."

"Why?" You might ask, "Why must we be saddled with this empire whose grotesque failures are purchased at a price of billions and trillions we can't afford?" As usual, the answer is in the question. The amount of money paid out to groups and individuals dictates perpetuation of the disaster, and the only way this empire can be made tolerable is to end its existence.

The expenditure of unimaginable wealth -- $1.45 trillions for development of a single future aircraft as cited by Engelhardt -- guarantees this zombified war machine, whose blood is running money, will not last. The question we need to be asking now is, "When the empire goes down, will it take the whole country with it?"

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