Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pitching for $645 billion

The Bush administration is asking the US Congress for $645bn for the military in 2008, more than all the rest of the world put together. It's part of a strategy (see Paul Rogers) to deal with all threats, wherever they may appear. On the sales talk, Tom Englehardt has this:
with rare exceptions, the language of Bush's Washington (and Baghdad) has been swept remarkably clean of the past -- and, on the tabula rasa of no-image, in place of everything that once was there, a new set of words and images have been implanted. Consciously or not, these mine a deep strain in our national mythology: the belief in an all-American right to a second chance, to light out for the territories and start anew.

As a description of reality on the ground in a country wracked by mass killing, flight, destruction, civil war, religious strife, ethnic cleansing, vast flows of refugees, private militias, insurgents, terrorists, foreign jihadis, criminals, and kidnappers, this new language may be out to lunch, but in terms of its appeal on the "home front," it has in its cross hairs the deepest realms of the American character...

...almost four years after [Bush] declared "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" against the backdrop of a banner that read "mission accomplished," all is again "new" in that country. If the pronouncements of his top military and civilian officials were to be believed, we are now at the dawn of a new military/political moment in Iraq, the kind of moment in which you just can't help using words like "first" and "early" and "beginning."

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