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What happened to the "peace dividend"?
From a Salon interview with James Carroll, author of the book House of War (no link to amazon--I'm not part of their blogger payola network, sorry, and sorry for the link to subscription-only Salon; it's all about money these days):
The most important example of the momentum I'm describing in this book, this unchecked momentum, is what happened at the end of the Cold War. Because by the end of the Cold War a massive military machine had been set up and the thing that justified it, our enemy the Soviet Union, disappeared. Yet that machine was not dismantled.For future viewing (haven't seen it, just posting the link): Why We Fight on Google video (not the Frank Capra version).
There's the big clue of the momentum I'm talking about. How is it that in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 -- not so long ago -- there was a lot of talk about something called the peace dividend, but it never came? The American military did not significantly change its posture with regard to nuclear weapons, even under Bill Clinton. Why did that happen? It's the great unanswered question. And because it happened that way the responses of George W. Bush to 9/11 have all been extremely and unnecessarily militarist. We responded to 9/11 as though we were in the thick of the Cold War. The great symbol of that is an anecdote from the 9/11 Commission, which is that when we finally scrambled jet fighters to respond that morning, they went out over the Atlantic Ocean looking for incoming attacks from the Soviet Union. The other great symbol is George W. Bush fleeing to the command bunker at Offutt Air Force Base, the Strategic Air Command bunker that had been created by Curtis LeMay. That's the perfect symbol of our problem. It's not so much him I'm faulting here. [Oh, go ahead. -tm] What I'm suggesting is there was this unchecked Niagara current, a current that flows from the Pentagon to the disastrous cliff just ahead of us.