The River

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

We're number one!

In violence. We love it. We celebrate the moviemakers who give us a good jolt. We idolize the biggest, the baddest.

The only time we have ever reflected soberly on violence was on September 11, 2001. But we quickly patched back into the matrix. Our culture, TV, told us it was time to get righteously violent again. So we cheered as we bombed a poor, war-torn country, laughed about running out of good targets, and never once thought about the fact that the "Hulk will smash" routine was unnecessary. Evidence was supposedly forthcoming about who did Sept. 11, and that evidence would have been enough for even the Taliban to hand over Osama.

(Dude, I'm comin down. Gimme a hit.)

While we were craving another dose of the ol' ultra-violence, our American handlers, er, cultural arbiters spun the Osama bin talkin to Hussein/Hitler story. Yeehaw. Love it. Go git 'em. So we slammed Iraq.

And those are just the domestic consumption narratives. The ones that have many of us turning off the damned program in favor of the Internet, or dropping out altogether. There are many more areas, of course, where the Military Industrial Complex plays its market-expanding games, as the Frida Berrigan piece "America -- the world's arms pusher" makes clear. Her article is also the origin of the drug riff in this post, albeit in a, uh, altered fashion.

Maybe the only way to break through this paralysis of analysis would be to stop talking about weapons sales as a trade and the export of precision-guided missiles as if they were so many widgets. Maybe we need to start thinking about them in another language entirely — the language of drugs.

After all, what does a drug dealer do? He creates a need and then fills it. He encourages an appetite or (even more lucratively) an addiction and then feeds it.

Arms dealers do the same thing. They suggest to foreign officials that their military just might need a slight upgrade. After all, they'll point out, haven't you noticed that your neighbor just upgraded in jets, submarines and tanks? And didn't you guys fight a war a few years back? Doesn't that make you feel insecure? And why feel insecure for another moment when, for just a few billion bucks, we'll get you suited up with the latest model military, even better than what we sold them — or you the last time around.

And that's why I can't say it often enough:

Screw the United States of America (corporate/media edition). It has one goal, everything else spins off that. The goal: let's you and him fight. That's it. You need weapons? We'll sell 'em to ya. Is your fighting killing and maiming innocents and scaring the folks back home? We'll sell 'em security products. Can't reach your enemy? How 'bout some planes? Need fuel? I'll go ahead and supply it, since ya'll are so busy. Your land? The survivors can still live on it, long as you sign the resources over to us. No? Hey, those SOBs across the river just insulted your God/women/government/lifestyle/accomplishments and they are the only things that allowed you to survive that last lil fire fight. Just happen to have some assault rifles, cheap, that is, if you have the balls to use 'em. Made in Vietnam. Besides, you can't lose with God on your side. Think of the glory.

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