War becomes an ideal in itself. Every other ideal is forfeit, if only because other ideals are considered bloodsuckers, depriving the state war machine of the resources it needs. Victory is a matter of lip service, because the real victory is in waging war for profit.

When the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ideological split decided that corporations have the same right of free speech as individuals it ignored Thomas Jefferson who said of banks:

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.

And he said of corporations:

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

The transformation of the American republic to a military state is well under way. The rationale is external threat. That is always the rationale for military states. If the perceived threat is internal, civil liberties are curtailed and the police establishment is given extraordinary powers and becomes quasi-military in nature. If the perceived threat is external, the nation puts aside all other priorities in its mobilization of resources. Patriotism becomes code for repression and sometimes racism.

Dissent becomes a luxury the state cannot afford.

All this is history: witness the death of the German republic in the crush of oncoming Nazism. It has happened again and again. The circumstances and the reasons differ, but the pattern is remarkably constant. Democracy becomes an unaffordable dream. Reality requires militarization of the state.

What is interesting about America`s militarization is a kind of inexorable and yet at times imperceptible progression. The draft is canceled in favor of a volunteer army. It sounds good, but it means that the poor fight and shed blood while the rich stay home and profit "witness the lives of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. As the military budget metastasizes, politicians step up attacks on social programs, tarring them as socialistic, because the money is needed to feed the military machine. Then a national debt scare is created in order to divert further moneys to the military.

In time "we have almost reached that time "democracy and all its troublesome and difficult goals are out of reach. The nation simply cannot afford to run two wars and still help the poor, educate its people, sustain their health and better their employment conditions. And so the politicians are able to say that as a practical matter the republic really can`t afford much except its huge military. Under such circumstances, the terrorists who hate our way of life, and the bankers and corporados win; everybody else loses, most especially our founding fathers.

Generals then begin to dictate policy. Witness President Bush disingenuously announcing that he was merely the generals` supply sergeant or President Obama`s servile decision to send more troops to Afghanistan after promising voters he would end our military entanglement in the Middle East.

In such an environment a domestic agenda becomes theater because it has already been decided that the tax money required for a domestic agenda belongs to the military.

What is necessary in such an environment is to orchestrate the glorification of military prowess and to trivialize aesthetic pursuits such as the arts and literature. Science is tolerated insofar as it serves military supremacy. The arts are reduced to trivial entertainment. Anything that can be trivialized, as our media do now to a fare-thee-well, serves the greater purpose of distracting the people from the tragedy befalling them. The rest of society shrivels as the military swells and along with it the political establishment that engineered the coup.

This is the scenario I see, aided by the incitement of Islamophobia and a Fox News propaganda campaign to exaggerate a debt crisis while at the same time obscuring the real causes of over-taxation, which are not rooted in federal social problems, as ultra-conservatives claim, but in exorbitant local property taxes caused by inefficient local government, over-development, predatory lending and a whole range of problems that cannot be attributed to Washington. As always with lies and propaganda, an element of truth is present. We have a monumental debt which we must reduce, a debt aggravated by the Cheney-Bush bogus war in Iraq and irresponsible tax cuts to curry votes.

The convergence of supply-side economic thinking, personal selfishness, corporate avarice, decades of wrongheaded policies in the Middle East and the terrorist response to those policies has brewed a perfect storm from which a militarized America is emerging to the detriment of the nation`s best impulses.

Here`s a litmus test of this thesis. Would our dysfunctional Senate, which has obstructed the appointments to urgent vacancies, indulge a filibuster against military spending or the further suspension of civil liberties?


Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.  

His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal Latté first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.

He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.