In "A Reckoning: The Price Tag for America's Wars," recently published by Commonweal magazine, Ronald Osborn asseses the economic, human, and moral costs of the Iraq War on the seventh year anniversary of the invasion. The extensive body of evidence he presents is crucial foundation for the commentary on the meaning of it all, excerpted here from the latter part of the article:
...There is every reason to fear the United States has sown seeds of hatred, suffering, waste, and insecurity that will someday return to us in forms of violence we can barely imagine. It may be, as René Girard has recently declared in conversations with Benoît Chantre (published under the title Battling to the End), that we are living in the midst of an apocalypse already set in motion. The horrific violence of
fundamentalist terrorists, Girard suggests, is now matched and raised by the violence of the state in an escalating rivalry that threatens life on our planet. In this view, the Iraq War, no less than 9/11, is filled with eschatological meaning, a revelation of what the biblical writers referred to as “the principalities and powers.” In the modern age, the spirit of war has become its own end, so that violence and massive arms spending serve as their own justifiers, without any need for rational explanation or accountability (40 percent of the defense budget, plus the budgets of all intelligence agencies, are kept secret and thus free from democratic control). The preferred term for the “war on terror” among its architects, Andrew Bacevich points out, is “the long war”—a summons to Americans to lay down resources and live in a struggle without end.
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