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Broken soldiers.

"See all that dark stuff?" asked Lt. Col. Robert Carroll, an Army field surgeon, displaying a digital photograph of the inside of a wounded soldier's head to a Washington Post reporter. "That's dead brain. That ain't gonna regenerate. And that's not uncommon. That's really not uncommon. We do craniotomies on average, lately, of one a day."

A craniotomy involves removing a large part of the skull in order to treat a severely traumatized brain. U.S. Army field doctors in Baghdad "are reeling from a stream of young soldiers with wounds so devastating that they probably would have been fatal in any previous war," reported the Post. Many of those wounds are inflicted by remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs) designed to nullify the effects of Kevlar body armor: IEDs hurl loads of shrapnel and dirt upward into the faces of our men, leaving them blind, brain damaged, or both.

Of those troops suffering brain trauma, nearly half will never recover consciousness. Yet they are kept alive and sent home in the belief that "loved ones will find value in holding the soldier's hand before confronting the decision to remove life support." Those who recover will be "functional," their athletic bodies performing mundane tasks with great difficulty. "I'm actually glad I'm here and not at home, tending to all the social issues with all these broken soldiers," comments Carroll.

War--even when justly fought--is a singular plague that claims the courageous and spares the craven. As James Madison said, it is among the most dreadful enemies of public liberty, "because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."

Marx, by way of contrast, embraced war as a means of building the total state. Writing in 1851, Marx told his disciples: "You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."

Appropriately, Marx's words resonate with those of his modern disciples, the Trotskyite "neoconservatives" who perceive the Iraq war as the first of several intended to "liberate" the Mid die East--and then to unite the world under a single global "rule set."

Insists neocon theorist Michael Ledeen, "we are the one truly revolutionary country in the world, as we have been for more than 200 years. Creative destruction is our middle name." A Trotskyite socialist who also expresses admiration for Mussolini (a largely disavowed disciple of Marx), Ledeen candidly extols "total war" against the Muslim world as a revolutionary strategy: "I mean the kind of warfare that not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place.... A total war strategy does not have to include the intentional targeting of civilians, but the sparing of civilian lives cannot be its first priority.... The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people or group."

American troops in Iraq, who arrived believing themselves to be liberators, are being taught the tenets of total warfare. "Whether [an opponent] is somebody who is trying to defend their city ... or somebody who's just out to kill an American, both of those will find the full force of the United States Marine Corps and the coalition brought down on them," warned Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmett, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, a Marine commander in Fallujah, offered a similar prospect to that city's inhabitants: "What is coming is the destruction of anti-coalition forces in Fallujah. They have two choices: Submit or die."

"Submit or die" would actually be a better title for The Pentagon's New Map, the new book by key Defense Department "futurist" Thomas P.M. Barnett. "Whether we realize it or not, we are all--right now--standing present at the creation of a new international security order," writes Barnett--an order in which "we the people needs to become we the planet." Dividing the world between the "functioning core" of nations plugged into the UN-defined global matrix and the "non-integrating gap"--those yet to be assimilated--Barnett calls for a series of military campaigns aimed at "eliminating the Gap altogether."

Lenin and his Soviet successors offered an earlier version of that map, dividing the world between a Communist-dominated "zone of peace" and a non Communist "zone of war." Communist efforts to "eliminate the gap" filled millions of graves and shattered scores of societies. The same would be true of Barnett's proposed war against the "forces of disconnectedness."

How many "broken soldiers" must our nation endure in order for global "connectedness" to prevail? How many will return sightless, crippled, or lobotomized as a result of military battles fought in the "gap" with people whose sole offense is to resist assimilation? How many Americans will be rendered barely "functional" as they fight to expand the "functioning core"? And how many will return sound of limb, but not of mind, subtly programmed to look upon fellow Americans as potential threats to the new global order?
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Title Annotation:The Last Word
Author:Grigg, William Norman
Publication:The New American
Date:May 17, 2004
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