Monday, June 24, 2013


The political and economic costs associated with mindless militarism in America have been significant. Many Americans today have no understanding of why we really fight, other than to stammer something about liberty and freedom.

This is what Chalmers Johnson - author of Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of American Empire (2004) - had to say about "blowback" in the documentary "Why We Fight" ...
"Blowback, it's a CIA term. Blowback does not mean simply the unintended consequences of foreign operations, but the unintended consequences of foreign operations that were deliberately kept secret from the American public ... so that when the retaliation comes the American public is not able to put it in context, to put cause and effect together ... so they come up with questions like, 'Why do they hate us?' " 
- Chalmers Johnson

In a few words here's how Blowback works ...

Unfortunately, there are many people who can't understand the conceptual map that Matt Damon lays out here (too many discussion points to link together). These people tend to be the same group who wrap themselves in the flag and advocate for mindless militarism every time our reckless politicians tells them to be scared, and that we need to go to war.

They would rather cheerlead rather than understand the larger story behind war.

All of this will be part of the last three weeks of my American Foreign Policy class this coming fall quarter (2013).

And, yes, we will be reading one of Chalmers Johnson's books in class. For a real good case study of blowback check out Stephen Kinzer's book, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.

- Mark

For those of you interested in this topic, you can read Chalmers Johnson's trilogy: The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2002) ... Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2004) ... and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006).

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