Pondering the news–a guaranteed method of curdling one’s most recent meal–I realized once again that our new millennium paradigm shift is progressing in foreseeable ways, such as the institutionalization of a perennial conflict. Though war has always been based on economic premises (such as gaining wealth by plunder, land by seizure, etc.), the United Nations Police Action in Korea provided a new beginning for American industry. Korea provided a marked alteration in the anticipated culmination of a conflict, at least for the US. Was victory, traditional victory involving surrender of an opponent and succeeding reparations by said enemy, ever a possibility during or after the Korean Police Action? Doubtful.
A significant amount of corporate wisdom was accumulated both in the five years immediately before and during the three year period that US troops (and allies) fought the North Koreans (and their allies). Sagacious businessmen began to realize after WWII ended that victory, traditional victory, invariably involved some sort of finality. That knowledge was profound: closure occurred hand in hand with the end of big dollar defense spending. Sure, the flow of funds didn’t stop entirely but once a war ended, soldiers went home, guns were (sometimes) melted and the steel beaten into plowshares or some such sort of nonsense.
Korea became the first of a new kind of conflict, a war that would continue into the future long after the last bullets were fired. Six decades…sixty fucking years…after fighting in Korea was drawn to what approximated a close, US troops still serve there, protecting the poor (in military power, certainly not in cash) South Koreans against those crazy guys north of the 38th parallel. Yes, South Korea has quite a strong economy–Gangnam style–but the US foots the bill for standing up to the bullies across the line. Why the largess, particularly when our own economy has serious problems? Maybe because certain corporations love the endless conflict with no prospect of victory ever closing the tap. Can there ever be (was there ever even a prospect of) a traditional victory in Korea? Vietnam? Iraq? Afghanistan?
Corporations have discovered what we, the sheeple, haven’t. Endless war, leading to an Orwellian eternity lavishly furnished with truth containing nothing but lies, victory consisting of perennial defeat, and clothed with a garment of hope woven entirely from threads of disappointment. Our paradigm shift now expands 1984-think to internal considerations. The war against drugs to cite one example: more and more law enforcement employees fight against that great, amorphous enemy: drugs. The job is so exhausting that some cops can’t wait to get home and smoke a joint.
We, the shaggy ones who flock to the polls where we cast our votes for tweedle-dumb or dweedle-dee then express dismay when we discover dumb is on one side of the coin and dee on the other, stumble along from one crisis to the next hoping mostly to survive with the least amount of pain possible. Corporations (made up of us, but synergistic so that a bunch of us’s working in a company total more than the sum of our separate parts) do learn. People are necessary but technology is soooo much better. People upgrades are a waste of time, man thinks pretty much the same as he did when Priam’s guys got their asses kicked by the Greeks. Technology constantly needs upgraded, the next iteration always promising better results (but seldom delivering) than the last.
That’s the reason our fighting forces are what they are. Cops and soldiers are like interchangeable parts of a great machine. Train as a soldier, develop your discipline, become inured to the need for punishing people as a duty, then return to civilian life, get a job as a cop, make real use of your experience. Modern cops and soldiers are equipped with more devices than Dick Tracy, Buck Rogers and William Shatner combined. The gadgets are impressive, expensive, usually don’t work properly but with improvements, wow, just wait. Will the war ever be won? Will we ever celebrate victory?
Ask David Petraeus, master of the clandestine, the man who knew Paula Prodwell too well, Princeton Ph.D., about technology and victory. Poor guy didn’t know gmail drafts can be accessed quite easily; neither did his brilliant paramour. Director of the CIA and he couldn’t keep a goddamn affair secret? Is there a moral to this story about morals?
Certainly. Victory has clothed itself in new vestments, rather like truth and hope. Mr. Orwell, you were so right.