MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"We have always been at war with Eastasia," George Orwell wrote in "1984." That's the spartan message a women named Emily Othus e-mailed me in January, and it has been sitting there in my inbox like a chicken bone caught in my throat.
From time to time I would open the e-mail with fascination thinking of the bluntly eloquent analogy to the United States. After all, just replace "We" in the quotation with the US, and then fill in the blank for your replacement with Eastasia.
Let's try a few just as examples:
The United States has been at war with Native-Americans.
The United States has been at war with Britain (the Revolution and the War of 1812).
The United States has been at war with Mexico (the battle for Texas and the Southwest, including California).
The United States has been at war with itself (Civil War).
The United States has been at war with Spain (over colonies).
The United States has been at war with axis powers twice.
The United States has been at war with North Korea and China.
The United States has been at war with the Soviet-Union (call it a cold war if you will).
The United States has been at war with Vietnam.
The United States has been at war with various nations in the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States has been at war with leftist guerilla groups and leaders in Latin America (covertly and overtly.)
The United States has even been at war with small countries that are perceived threats to American hegemony including Grenada and Panama (and Cuba via the Bay of Pigs and decades-long embargo).
Of course, there are countless nations with which the US has been at war with on a clandestine basis, overthrowing Democratically elected governments around the world (including Iran and Guatemala) - while leaving in place tyrannical dictatorships that are pro-Western business.
Then you also have your "generic wars," such as the war on terrorism and the war on drugs, which consume hundreds of billions of dollars and countless lives.
This is only a partial list, BuzzFlash at Truthout, reminds you. Our national history has been one of war with sporadic outbreaks of peace. But we quickly grow antsy with not having an enemy of some sort.
After all, except for the WW I and WW II and perhaps the Korean War, the US really has a Department of Offensive War, not a Department of Defense.
America is just profoundly uncomfortable with not having an enemy.
The United States has always been at war with Eastasia, indeed.