This is not normal for the ordinary nations of the world, but the United States is pretty much never at peace, although the degree to which we are “at war” rises and falls.
And, to the degree that we are sometimes approaching that happy state where our military isn’t killing anyone and the CIA isn’t plotting the covert overthrow of any foreign government, there is at least a permanent discussion of whether we should be killing or overthrowing somewhere in “bad guy” territory.
(And, as I’ve mentioned recently, the U.S. public generally starts out believing that the war will be worth it but eventually concludes that it wasn’t.)
Washington-based journalist Robert Parry, editor of Consortium News and who broke some of the biggest elements of the Iran-Contra story, has continued to shine a light on the doings of the permanent war party.
In an overview of how this works, Parry calls the permanent war-sters by two labels, “Neo-conservatives” and “liberal interventionists,” and, in a recent effort to explain the whole phenomenon, he lumps them together as “the anti-realism.”
It’s a long piece and I highly recommend it to those who can handle an unsentimental discussion of U.S. actions in the world over recent history.
Parry starts with a great quote from John Quincy Adams, in 1821 when he was secretary of state under President James Monroe:
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [the United States’] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
For many decades now, the reality has been roughly the opposite. We are always going abroad, at least partly seeking monsters to destroy and perhaps to benefit various elements of the military-industrial complex and the U.S-based multinational corporations. The resulting wars and covert overthrows, Parry suggests, seldom deliver real democracy or the better future to the target people.
I can’t do Parry’s analysis justice here, but I can recommend that you click through and read the whole thing. Here’s one more taste from Parry’s summary section, which is in some ways a summary of his life’s work:
These interventions are always dressed up as moral crusades — the need to free some population from the clutches of a U.S.-defined “monster.” There usually is some “crisis” in which the “monster” is threatening “innocent life” and triggering a “responsibility to protect” with the catchy acronym, “R2P.”
But the reality about these “anti-realists” is that their actions, in real life, almost always inflict severe harm on the country being “rescued.” The crusade kills many people — innocent and guilty — and the resulting disorder can spread far and wide, like some contagion that cannot be contained. The neocons and the liberal interventionists have become, in effect, carriers of the deadly disease called chaos.