Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saving our Pentagon

It’s a mistake to call them imperial wars when they are little more than corporate wars fought for resources and market share.

And the way Secretary of Defense Robert Gates talks, we are going to be bouncing from war to war to war like a nine-year-old girl playing hopscotch. What else can you expect from a nation so addicted to military Keynesianism that unnecessary wars have become a way of life? If there is no enemy to fight, we will create one.

Gates is one of our tepid barbarians whose brilliance is refracted through the broken lens of adolescent groupthink. In other words, he’s your typical corporatist.

While he and his minions obsess over the corporate bottom line, they are blithely unaware of the existential bottom line that is slowly wrapping itself around the nation’s neck: we can no long afford the defense establishment so necessary for the execution of serial corporate wars.

We haven’t been able to afford them for some time, but the public tolerated them as long as it could maintain the illusion of indebted prosperity. Now that this is no longer possible, the public could well come to the conclusion that our corporate military establishment is no more than a bloated leech that is sucking our economy dry for the sake of keeping our oligarchs safe and secure in their Park Avenue penthouses.

There is, however, a way our corporatists can have their cake and eat it too.

Every time I look at the Pentagon, I see what could potentially be the world’s greatest indoor shopping mall. Hell, it’s got everything a mall needs—ample parking and loads of square footage. Its war room is the ultimate video game arcade.

Which brings me to our salvation: Instead of fighting real wars, let’s fight virtual ones. We’re halfway there already. I mean, how virtual can you get when some geek in an air conditioned room in Las Vegas, armed only with a laptop, can direct a drone over Afghanistan? The only difference between that and a video game is that a wedding party ends up getting wiped out.

It would be much more cost-effective to fight make believe wars than real ones. Lock our policy wonks in the war room and let them have at it with an elaborately plotted video game along the lines of SimCity. Call it Simnatinaldefense and they’d stay out of our hair for years.

The geek at his lap top would get the same euphoric high only state-sanctioned slaughter can bring even if the wedding party is virtual instead of real, and his elders could continue to play out their adolescent fantasies of domination and power.

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