Thursday, February 28, 2008

The "Will" Served by the Army is Not "National"

On February 28, 2008, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Army had just rolled out a new operations manual "putting stability operations - nation-building - on par with combat."

Doubtless it occurs to no one at AP, let alone the U.S. Army, that "nation building" (whether disguised as "stability operations" or anything else) is not a constitutionally permitted function of the federal government, and (therefore) not a constitutionally permitted function of the U.S. Army - no matter what George W. Bush (or any other usurper occupying a public office) may claim (whether via "executive order" or otherwise).

The notion of soldiers occupying foreign countries as "stability" enforcers brings to mind troop deployments of the Roman, British, Nazi, or Soviet empires each of them a blight on humanity, bloated with depraved arrogance and hypocritical self-righteousness, and subsequently eradicated by men's refusal to live indefinitely under the rule of totalitarian despots.

But exactly when and how did such an enterprise, radically contrary to both the Constitution and the principles of the men who composed it, come to be an accepted role for Americans in uniform? Americans were never asked to vote on whether or not the Armed Services should serve some function besides defending their own country. Nor are taxpayers advised as to what the swelling national debt created by such operations will truly cost them and future generations.

Yet Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV suggests in the AP article that the Army is an "instrument of national will."

There is no question that the Army has long been an instrument of a will somebody's will but much of its deployment in the past century or more (and all the more vividly during the past decade) could hardly be characterized as the carrying out of some American "national will," when the nation was never permitted an informed or expressed will on the matter in the first place.

No expression of a fully-informed American "national will" was behind American military invasions and/or occupations of Korea (1950-present), Vietnam (1964-1973), Cambodia (1970), Lebanon (1982), Grenada (1983), Bosnia (1993), Somalia (1992-1993) and dozens of other constitutionally unauthorized actions.

And no expression of a fully-informed American "national will" currently stands behind the American military's invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I don't doubt that General Caldwell genuinely believes the Army is an "instrument of national will" any more than I doubt most of the Army's soldiers genuinely believe they are "serving their country," no matter what (or whose) orders they are following.

The truth of the matter is that the Army is an "instrument" of the "will" of "the government" (not to be confused with "the nation" or, more appropriately, "The People"). Likewise, the troops themselves are serving "the government" (again, not to be confused with "their country" or "The People"), and "the government" and its Army are being used unaccountably as "instruments" of a "will" that is actually indifferent (if not wholly contrary) to national (or popular) sentiment.

That American officials (elected and otherwise) and their minions in the military-industrial-congressional-media complex nevertheless persist in pretending an American "national will" is behind their bankrupt misadventures abroad is a grand fraud.

That Americans persist in quietly acquiescing to such fraud is nothing short of a grand tragedy.