Pentagonism Prevails

By David Swanson, November 25, 2023

Tyler Poisson has called attention to a 1967 Spanish-language book called Pentagonism. The author was the former President of the Dominican Republic, and victim of U.S. power, Juan Bosch. You can find it online free and in English by going here and clicking to borrow it for an hour (and another hour . . .).

As we prepare to bury the Monroe Doctrine on December 2nd, it’s worth considering Bosch’s description of how imperialism had already changed by the 1960s into something worthy of a new name.

In other words, the profit motive in Vietnam or in the Dominican Republic was not principally in extracting raw materials or anything else from the nation attacked. Nor was there any humanitarian motive in slaughtering millions of people. There may have been — I would add — other motives: global power, global competition, sadism, etc. But the profit motive happens within the United States through the weapons industry. Or, as Arundhati Roy would later put it, no longer are weapons manufactured for wars but wars are now manufactured for weapons.

One might add that for pentagonist power, getting Ukrainians or Israelis to do the killing and dying is an improvement over having U.S. troops do the killing and dying in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., but the basic driving force remains the same, and the same as that behind NATO expansion, and the same as that behind keeping war alive around the globe: fabulous riches, not from looting or enslaving or even principally from sucking the oil or lithium out of the ground, but from the death industry so firmly entrenched that you’ll have a hard time finding even a peace activist who will not voluntarily call it “the defense industry” or even “the service.”

The humanitarian motive for attacking distant villages is, of course, a propaganda tool. And it depends, as Bosch notes, on transforming aggression into “defense”:

Thus the U.S. military in Syria is said to be fighting in defense against attacks on the U.S. military in Syria — with no need to explain why U.S. troops are in Syria. And the forbidden radical notions that those troops are there for oil and empire still miss the major motivation: those troops are there with their guns and their tanks in order to do the bidding of the guns and the tanks. The weapons use the humans, rather than the other way around. No AI fantasies are needed to accomplish that transformation, locked in place before most of us were born. That doesn’t mean we can’t unlock it. But we do have to first know it is there.

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