A reader of my blog, James, emailed a link to the 1997 article, Constant Conflict. He wanted me to check out this “glimpse into the mindset of the power elite.” One glimpse and I was scared shitless.
The author of the article, Major Ralph Peters, shares his chilling outlook on the future of the world and America’s role in it:
- There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing. . . .
- Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar–professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority. . . .
- For the world masses, devastated by information they cannot manage or effectively interpret, life is “nasty, brutish . . . and short-circuited.” The general pace of change is overwhelming, and information is both the motor and signifier of change. Those humans, in every country and region, who cannot understand the new world, or who cannot profit from its uncertainties, or who cannot reconcile themselves to its dynamics, will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States. We are entering a new American century, in which we will become still wealthier, culturally more lethal, and increasingly powerful. We will excite hatreds without precedent. . . .
- For the majority of our citizens, our vulgar, near-chaotic, marvelous culture is the greatest engine of positive change in history.
- Freedom works. . . .
- We will outcreate, outproduce and, when need be, outfight the rest of the world. We can out-think them, too. . . .
- Culture is fate. Countries, clans, military services, and individual soldiers are products of their respective cultures, and they are either empowered or imprisoned. The majority of the world’s inhabitants are prisoners of their cultures, and they will rage against inadequacies they cannot admit, cannot bear, and cannot escape. . . .
- The next century will indeed be American, but it will also be troubled. We will find ourselves in constant conflict, much of it violent. The United States Army is going to add a lot of battle streamers to its flag. We will wage information warfare, but we will fight with infantry. And we will always surprise those critics, domestic and foreign, who predict our decline.
Oh shit. I wonder what this guy sounds like when he is talking to his kids.
Juxtapose Major Ralph Peters’ following quotes: “The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault,” and “Freedom works.” Fight to keep the world safe? Fight to keep the world free?
It reminds me of a General Dynamics ad that I cut out of a National Geographic when I was in high school in 1987 or 1988. Why a defense contractor would have to advertise I don’t know. Apparently General Dynamics has been advertising in National Geographic at least since the 1950s.
The top two-thirds of the one-page ad is a photograph of sixty or so political pins from America’s history that present slogans and or photographs of political candidates: a red, white and blue “I Like Ike” pin; a blue pin sporting the slogan, “No 4th Term;” a green and white Carter/Mondale pin; a pocket knife bearing the slogan, “Happy Days Are Here Again;” a yellow and blue pin saying, “Senior Americans for McGovern-Shriver;” a “Reagan-Bush ’84″ pin; and so on. One pin saying, “True Democracy,” caught my eye, although it is somewhat mixed in with the other pins. It’s a neat looking ad. Even now, as I look at it, it makes me think sentimentally of tradition, democracy, and politics (clearly, I don’t tend to get sentimental about such things, so you know it’s a powerful collage). The first time I saw it, I bet my Spidey sense was tingling. Even in the sentimental lull, I was not fooled by the rest of the ad.
The bottom third of the ad contains the following text on a white background:
THEY ALL PINNED THEIR HOPES ON PEACE.
They were all fighters.
The conservatives fought with the liberals. The Democrats fought with the Republicans. The Bull Moosers fought with everybody.
They fought for different policies. But for the same principles. For freedom. And the freedom to live in peace.
Americans are still fighting for those principles today. And working for them too.
That’s why every day more than 100,000 Americans work at General Dynamics to supply America’s fighting men and women with the best weapon systems in the world.
They are working for peace. And for peace of mind.
A Strong Company For A Strong Country
Confuse a cat?
“They fought for different policies. But for the same principles. For freedom. And the freedom to live in peace?” What the hell? You can fight for peace? War is peace? Damn that Orwell. He thought of everything. I’m starting to think that if he hadn’t written that bloody book, then maybe people wouldn’t think to make such reason-defying statements (it’s the opposite of Newspeak–he gave us the language to think in such ways). I want to meet the person who wrote the text for this ad. The writer is probably a Winston Smith drone who sits in a dingy cubicle and who actually thinks that General Dynamics manufactures peace tools. Peace tools! I can feel the two halves of my brain pulling away from each other.
Things haven’t changed much since the late 1980s. Now we have a “War President” (in neoconspeak, this means “Peace President”) fighting for freedom and democracy in Iraq. . . fighting for peace. Well, not exactly fighting, but he is doing a damn good job of getting others to fight for him. . . fight for peace.
Is there a way to argue logically with people who have such beliefs? Maybe we could turn it around and convince them that you can commit acts of peace for war. Yes, we will practice peace in order to preserve the principles of war.