The US Department of War

The US Department of War, a.k.a. The War Office or The War Department, existed officially from 1789 until 1947 and was headed by a Secretary of War. It was then renamed the Department of Defence. Considering US foreign policy since 1947 and the succession of wars undertaken by the United States, The Department of War seems a far more appropriate moniker than The Department of Defence.

In addition to several wars against individual countries considered to be threats to US interests, we have had a Global War on Terrorism, which covers a multitude of perceived threats including Cyberwars, and presumably, Whistleblowers.

Now, we have a new war, another one undeclared by congress, against ISIL/ISIS/IS, which, according to Obama, was not supposed to involve “boots on the ground”. However, yesterday, at Senate hearings, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sitting along side the current Secretary of War said the increasing number of US military “advisors” in Iraq should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against ISIL targets. Is this “the camel’s nose in the tent door”? Will these “advisors” be armed, will they be allowed to return fire or will they simply observe and “advise” the Iraqi troops not to cut and run?

We all know the answer to those questions, and we will soon read that the advisors engaged the enemy to defend US interests or in self-defence. This smacks eerily of the early days of US intervention in Vietnam. And, if so, here we go again or, more accurately put, a continuation of US policy?

The book “Report from Iron Mountain”, published in 1967, was a fictional account of analyses of a US government panel in the 1960s, which concludes that war, or a credible substitute for war, is necessary if governments are to maintain power, the key words being, “war or a credible substitute for war”.  World War II was a major factor in the US recovery  from the Great Depression and it laid the basis for subsequent US global economic dominance. That success, born from war, seems to have had lasting influence on US administrations.

The Report from Iron Mountain, although fiction, seems to be another case of fact copying fiction.



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