Why does this nation squander trillions of dollars on “security” and “defense”? Why does this nation maintain fleets and hundreds of costly military bases all over the globe? Why does this nation dissipate its treasure deploying the world’s most massive killing machine?
We may never solve these riddles unless we better understand both human nature and the nature of war. Toward that end, I’ll pose some questions; these may imply some answers, if only fragmentary ones.
Let’s start with “human nature” (whatever that means). Why does “human nature” seem often to lead to destruction, of others and of ourselves? (To really explore this issue, see Erich Fromm’s “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness,” published in 1973 during the Vietnam War.) Is brutality just part of who we are? Does militarism – highly organized violence – stem from our mammalian or primate pedigree? Or, as some might plausibly suggest, is it a male thing? Would women-led societies be steeped in militarism?
Who “volunteers” to be the cannon fodder and why? Don’t many enlistments – mostly male – stem from the “poverty draft” and from chauvinistic indoctrination? What impact does war have on those who serve and fight? How many come home intact? When the warriors come home, how do they and their families fare?
But maybe human nature – and men – get a bad rap. Perhaps war isn’t human or even male, but a reflex or emanation of power structures. Such structures aren’t persons: most humans have no say in the power structures’ callous indifference to life. These structures – mostly regimes and corporations – tend to be machines with connected, but blindered parts.
Each nut and bolt plays its little role often oblivious to its contribution to the machine’s malign functioning. Usually those who have risen to positions of oversight and command internalize the machine’s inhuman dynamics. Consciously or not, malevolently or not, these leaders tend to make policy detrimental to the 99 percent. The logic of their positions calls for achieving short-term gains with little consideration of anyone out of sight, whether socially, geographically or generationally.
FULL ARTICLE: Who Benefits From the Organized Violence of War?.