August 25, 2006
Why They Fight
It is built around President Eisenhower's words of warning, as he was leaving office, about the "military-industrial complex" . We all think we have heard his message. This movie proves that we have not been allowed to notice the important second part of Ike's warning:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
The movie is an exposition and indictment of the dialogue of alienation that characterizes not only American militarism, but also American politics, and American society itself.
As Chomsky said in Hegemony or Survival, the interests of industry and government are not identical. Industry's only goal is short-term profit, and they will pursue that goal even when it means certain failure for the corporations in the long-term. The US government's goal is long-term strategic dominance throughout the world.
- Government policy, which properly should be set by the legislative branch, is in fact determined by private think tanks.
- American military forces have lost any kind of defensive role they might have had, and have become purely an instrument of aggression.
- An unbridgeable chasm has cut the political spectrum into two irreconcilable parts.
And so on and so forth. I think alienation was the movie's unifying theme.
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