Chickenhawk America

On Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the first guest was Jim Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic, there to talk about his article, “The Tragedy of the American Military.” And it’s certain to be a juicy piece with the following subtitle: “The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.” Yeah, I’d say that about sums it up. Hey, it’s late on a Friday night, actually, early Saturday morning now. I just got done watching Real Time, and I fully admit I have not read this article yet, I’ve only skimmed it. I intend to follow up later with more in-depth analysis, but I felt compelled to share a few things. — I’ve had this thought for a while: I tell people, particularly the many conservatives in my family, that I “support the troops.” And I’m not lying. I mean, fuck, I don’t have the balls to do what they do. But, there is also the fact that there are politicians, whether they are earnest or wrongheaded or both, that got us into these bullshit wars that were never winnable in the first place. The “troops” are just doing a job, and then we say we support them. We welcome them home. We sometimes give them parades. But here’s the problem: There is an unhealthy level of hero-worship of people serving in America’s military. Bill Maher says the military is “such a scared cow,” and he’s right. Basically, if we criticize anything related to the military, that means we aren’t supporting the troops. But maybe, just maybe, anyone who actually stops, thinks, maybe uses a bit of brain capacity, will realize how ridiculous that notion is. We can criticize the military industrial complex, and the feckless and spineless politicians who feed it, and we WILL NOT be accused of criticizing the troops in the process. And if anyone cares to do so, they shall be summarily dismissed from the realm of nuanced and careful thought, because they are the reactionaries among us. They cannot tolerate any dissent among the ranks. As President George W. Bush once said, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Because that’s about as nuanced as we can expect when it comes to the modern American military hero-worship crowd. In their myopic view, if you criticize our military, or the people giving the orders, you are against the troops, and you are aiding the enemy. — Now hand me a deflated football, because there’s a Super Bowl coming up, and I’ve got more important things to consider than militaristic geopolitical nonsense.

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