Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

On Libya

with one comment

Allow me to suggest that the most predictable failure in modern American military policy may in fact be the belief that these events represent “failures” at all. For the governmental and corporate institutions that rely on outsized military spending for their survival and growth, the inevitability of death, destruction, and destabilization in these regions and the continuing necessity of prolonged, open-ended commitment at greater and greater cost in money and lives is a feature, not a bug. The popular notion that the United States constantly propels itself into these “humanitarian interventions” with only the best of intentions, only to be undone time and time again by a tragic lack of foresight, is a self-protective fantasy calculated to short-circuit any real debate about the nation’s hundred-plus-year history of global empire. The narratives are always the same, from Spanish atrocities in Cuba to Vietnam to our twenty-first century parade of Hitlers-of-the-moment; only the details change.

The stated goals for these interventions are never achieved because they were not the true goals; the missions creep and swell because they are intended to. In this sense the persistence of these “failures” only represents the smooth operation of the machine.

See you in Iran—or Syria, or Bahrain, or the northern states of Mexico, or…—in 2013.

One Response

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  1. Yes. Thank you. Well said.

    Stephen Frug

    March 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm


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