The Enemy-Industrial Complex



From right-wing think tanks to Homeland Security to the “drone lobby,” a lot’s riding on the constant threat of global terrorism. Here’s how it all started.   

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.  

The communist enemy, with the “world’s fourth largest military,” has been trundling missiles around and threatening the United States with nuclear obliteration. Guam, Hawaii, Washington: all, it claims, are targetable. The coverage in the media has been hair-raising. The U.S. is rushing an untested missile defense system to Guam, deploying missile-interceptor ships off the South Korean coast, sending “nuclear capable” B-2 Stealth bombers thousands of miles on mock bombing runs, pressuring China, and conducting large-scale war games with its South Korean ally.

Only one small problem: there is as yet little evidence that the enemy with a few nuclear weapons facing off (rhetorically at least) against an American arsenal of 4,650 of them has the ability to miniaturize and mount even one on a missile, no less deliver it accurately, nor does it have a missile capable of reaching Hawaii or Washington, and I wouldn't count on Guam either.

It also happens to be a desperate country, one possibly without enough fuel to fly a modern air force, whose people, on average, are inches shorter than their southern neighbors thanks to decades of intermittent famine and malnutrition, and who are ruled by a bizarre three-generational family cult. If that other communist, Karl Marx, hadn’t once famously written that history repeats itself “first as tragedy, then as farce,” we would have had to invent the phrase for this very moment.

Robert Abramson
4/29/2013 3:37:24 AM

I have no doubt war is a terrible problem. It is extreemly difficult to get it right if you are a moral nation. After billions of years God decided to do something about the earth that was inhabited by despicable murdering bands of marauders. He found Abraham and handed him a Bible with 613 commandments and asked him to get the people to follow the commandments so they could have a better world. Abraham had modest luck but before he could civilize the world the barbarians decided to eliminate all but ten commandents and not even follow the ten. In the mean time the Devil decided to work against GOD and established a new religion 1500 years ago. This religion uses murder and terrorism to gain their objective of controlling land ,enslaving people and destroying civilization. The barbaric murdering and terroristic methods has caused people all over the world to live in fear . They dread the consequences that have befallen millions of people over the past 1500 years. Most people are cowards and will do almost anything to save themselves. Therefore, they allow their leaders to spend outrageous amounts of money for defense and take any action no matter how stupid to avoid having their heads cut off or becoming slaves. If Tom Engelhardt viewed the problem like many individuals and nations he might join the military,run off to Canada or most likely give his opinion in a book. The fact is humans won't learn from history and the fact is that terrorism works really well if you have no morals and no concience. The muslims have gained control of half the world in 1500 years using terrorism. Hitler who wasn't nearly as smart as the muslim leaders, set the stage for the deaths of a 100 million people and almost got controll of Europe. In time the world will be controlled by muslims if they apply the terrorism of their ancestors as skillfully as their ancestors did.

kate s
4/22/2013 6:31:44 PM

What American does so well, analysis after the fact. I have this idea that along with sex and food we have an equal drive for fairness. Is that not what the unending onslaught of media is to keep us from seeing? Historically we might consider when Cesar defeated the Celti it was the past history version of Hitler winning.

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