The Ever Increasing Militarization Of America.

by Daniel Russ on February 7, 2012

SWAT Teams are ever militarized

Special Weapons And Tactics


Todd Purdum writes in Vanity Fair about something that I have stared in the face for a few years and have been reticent to talk about. I am a part of it. The subject is the hyper militaristic state that America has become. It began in the late 1980s and was completed after the last ten years filled us with fears about terrorism solidifying the hold that military culture has on our own country. Some interesting facts and opinion from his piece: We have sure come a long way. In 1918, France was spending $235 per capita on its military. Great Britain $188, the US just $68.


Today United States defense spending is 43% of all spending on defense worldwide.


The United States Navy is larger than the next 13 navies put together.


We spend more than $100 billion a year more on defense that we did in the heart of the Cold War.


1300 government agencies and 2000 private companies spend trillions on spying and intelligence gathering and all with little or no oversight.


My own observation is that the culture of violence and militarism is so robust that we hardly think that many reality shows are little more than remoras on the backs of the huge US criminal justice and prison industries.  Border Patrol, Lockdown, COPS, 48 Hours, Dog, Lawman, all of it is a sad report on where we are as a society. HALO, Gears Of War, Grand Theft Auto video games sell more and more violent and xenophobic plot lines. SAW I through SAW VII should probably be forbidden as they produce a generation of sociopaths inured to torture. Think about this for a moment, you are not allowed to see someone giving you the finger on TV. But institutionalized torture and unimaginable cruelty on the game shelf is just fine.


The Superbowl, or any football game becomes a jingoists dream: military color guard, the national anthem, a salute to our heroes, and a well timed flyover of combat aircraft. It’s surreal. When did the national Football League become a franchise of the Pentagon? Country music long ago became the base for the nationalism crowd. Of course they made a comfortable detente with Willie Nelson and John Prine. But the Dixie Chicks or any country music artist who steps over the line of patriotism, or refuses to tow it, is left behind.


We now torture people and can even hold someone indefinitely outside of any protections. The Andy Griffiths of police departments are all gone. Each police department gets more and more militarized and each COP show encourages the preening. A SWAT team in Peoria is more fearsome than the grunts we sent into Korea or Vietnam. By the way, UNC Charlotte just got a SWAT team. Yes, a college campus now has a fully militarized SWAT team. So whenever those students sit down and protest inequality, we don’t have to settle for half measures like pepper spraying them. Now we can put those arrogant sophomores in their places.


The real irony is that the US is engaged in combat operations all across the world (in the Arc of Instability), and most of us are totally ignorant of it. Hellfire missiles launch off the rails of a Predator across the world and cause death and destruction, and we not only do not question it, we don’t really know anything about it.


We now essentially have a large and permanent warrior caste


Lt Pike still has his job


Go figure.




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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Louis September 12, 2017 at 2:41 am

Unfortunatly I can only agree. What I do feel is that this militarisation and the glorification of violance is the expression of a lot of unfoccussed anger at the world, society and each other. And so it expresses itself in violence, in movies, comics, games, and the streets. In a way the US feels like a pot that is about to boil over….

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