Letters to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
The Pentagon and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are now talking about a “long war” against terrorism, laying the groundwork for an armed struggle that could take decades. I feel my neck burning because it is so transparent. What they mean is“permanent war,” and so that is what they ought to be saying. I cannot convince myself that that is not an undesirable thing for some elements within American society. Instead, it is a dream come true for the“military industrial complex” that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of. Born of war, America has always been a very military and belligerent nation despite its long history of isolationism. And today, trying to keep track of American affairs is an exercise in the Byzantine bizarre. What is happening is the evolution of a society waging permanent war on the periphery of its empire, like ancient Rome. Only in this case the periphery of the empire spans the entire globe, drawing or threatening to draw American fighting men to every place imaginable. Maybe instead of comparing it to ancient Rome I ought to compare it to some awful science fiction plot by Robert Heinlein. It will never end. Even if al-Qaida is eliminated, “terrorism”would just be re-defined as an excuse to continue waging war somewhere else, permanently. It might be bad for the societies suffering the bombing and ground assaults, but it’s good for the U.S. economy, and in Americathat’s what counts. That means that America is the most dangerous country in the world today.
I know. I enjoy an affluent, peaceful, high standard of living in a democratic society because of American sacrifice and beneficence, so who am I - how dare I? - question the manner in which these things are provided?
But that’s not really how it is, and we know it. Or, I could be wrong.