Thursday, September 20, 2007



Even though we know militarism is a complex of related historical currents, we have to divide them in order to grasp them and then to reconnect. Underpinning militarism, nationalism, imperialism is patriotism, a powerful engine for the others. Patriotism itself is often a congeries of contradictions. Often it functions to excite, stir up national animosities, prepare for invasions, reinforce wars. But reinforcement also works by covering up. One of patriotism’s many concentration points is Memorial Day, or “Memorial Day Mush,” as Michael Massing refers to it in his article by that title in Columbia Journalism Rev. (July-Aug. 2007). Massing excoriates this year’s Memorial Day for the mainstream media evading the realities of a USA in the ”fifth year of a calamitous war that has divided the nation, chewed up the armed forces, turned America into an international pariah, caused the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and been judge by some historians to be the most serious foreign-policy blunder in U.S. history.” Instead of telling these truths by giving the troops and their families the opportunity to speak honestly, CBS told about memory books for families of the fallen and interviewed a Marine who declared “morale is high,” ABC recounted care packages, both networks told the story of the puppy “Hero”that a soldier in Iraq had adopted, and so on. “Most mawkish of all was CNN.” ACTION: Lead a group to expose patriotism (discuss articles and books, show films, demonstrate, purchase ads, Short Takes and forums on CAT) for its destructive part in the nationalism-militarism-imperialism complex. Dick


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
SIPRI Yearbook 2007: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security. The Yearbook is SIPRI's annual compendium of data and analysis of developments in security and conflicts, military spending and armaments and non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. For more on the book and ordering details, visit the Yearbook 2007 site.

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