The US and its Dark Passenger, Part II: Act Of Valor
The United States is finding the occupation of other nations more and more challenging. Witness the clueless US soldiers or contractors who burned a dozen Korans at the Bagram Air Force Base trash dump in Afghanistan. The uproar in response has only begun.
Then there were the ace troopers who filmed themselves urinating on corpses. And let's not forget the perplexing US assault that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Plus a host of other disasters. We're failing at Occupation 101. Economic challenges at home only add to the difficulty.
Meanwhile, as the US tries to control an occupation AND be the nice guy, dictators like Bashar Assad in Syria and Omar Bashir in Sudan employ classic scorched earth counter-insurgency tactics and hold onto power. In such a frustrating quandary, what is a poor superpower to do? Washington and Pentagon leaders have decided to fall back on what they feel the US does best: Secret killing.
In Part One of this story, I suggested there were similarities between the new US military doctrine of Special Ops hunter-killer teams and Dexter, the popular novel and TV character who is an upstanding police forensic expert by day and a gruesome psychopathic killer by night. Dexter calls his killer persona his "dark passenger," a killer "dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue" who kills only people who deserve to die.
In Part Two, we go to Hollywood.
The US government wants its war machine to look good when the budget crunch is on. So with our ten-year Iraq occupation going south and Afghanistan headed in that direction, it’s understandable the Pentagon might want to shill its new, shiny War Doctrine in the marketplace of popular culture.
After two controversial wars, we’re now watching a situation in which Israel could attack Iran, but do it so ineffectually that it would pull the US into what could snowball into a Third World War. This is happening in the context of the Arab Spring upheavals that suggest people around the world are rising up and demanding the removal of the repressive yokes around their necks. China and India and Brazil are on the way to being competitive peers in the capitalist rat race. This dynamic is already driving gasoline prices higher and higher. The future is getting very troublesome and foreboding to contemplate for the average American.
So what better time to crank up the Pentagon propaganda machine and assault the popular American public mind with a thrilling distraction like Sylvester Stallone and Rambo, who single-handedly won the Vietnam War on the screen after the United States had failed to do it with millions of troops and materiel.