"Now, if the Democratic rank and file haven’t necessarily learned to love the bomb - though many certainly have - they have at least learned to stop worrying about it. Barack Obama may have dramatically expanded the war in Afghanistan, launched twice as many drone strikes in Pakistan as his predecessor and dropped women-and-children killing cluster bombs in Yemen, but peruse a liberal magazine or blog and you’re more likely to find a strongly worded denunciation of Rush Limbaugh than the president. War isn’t over, but one could be forgiven for thinking that it is."
TV presenter Rachel Maddow’s latest book speaks out against war, but not the system which makes wars inevitable. - Charles Davis.
Such an important critical analysis of how many liberal democrats and “peace” activists speak against the idea of war but rarely engage in actively criticizing the Empire that enables the possibility, funding and activation of war.
For one, Maddow, a self-described “national security liberal” who is “all about counterterrorism”, writes more like a politician seeking to flatter her US audience than a teller of tough, uncomfortable truths. While at times briefly alluding to its war-filled past, Maddow repeatedly paints a picture of the US as, at heart, a peaceful nation, one with a government structured by its noble founding founders with a “deliberate peaceable bias”. It is only recently, she maintains - post-World War II, but especially since Ronald Reagan - that war and a gargantuan military-industrial complex have been deemed “normal”.
Though many might perceive it as an anti-war work, Maddow’s overriding concern seems to be not so much the wars themselves - certainly not the non-American victims of them, who are never once mentioned - but the modern, unilateral way in which we go about fighting them. Reagan, for example, invaded Grenada without first seeking approval from Congress and armed and funded right-wing insurgents in Nicaragua despite a congressional prohibition, facts she holds responsible for the creation of all that “‘imperial presidency’ malarkey”.
Maddow doesn’t tell her readers any of that. Nor does she advocate a radical break from the system of hierarchical power that allows a few people in Washington - one if you’re a unilateralist, 535 if you’re not - to have the literal power to destroy the world. Rather: “The good news is we don’t need a radical new vision of post-Cold War American power,” she says. “We just need a ‘small c’ conservative return to our constitutional roots, a course correction.”
Just read the damn thing. It takes guts to face the Empire, the big guns that engage in war. Rarely will you find a media personality, political entity or activist questioning the validity of the Empire, of the Super Power. Those who do, have very little control and representation in the spheres where political narratives are established.
Mehreen makes a very good and important point - those who routinely challenge conventional wisdom aren’t given the platforms that those who don’t are. It sounds cynical but it’s a reality. Rachel Maddow is a talk show host on a once heavily pro-war network that still touts neoconservative talking points. The U.S. media is all about access, that is, never angering politicians or government officials in hopes that they’ll appear on and return to your show or allow you to interview them in the future so you get your high ratings, pricey ad spots, and you sell more copies of your printed media. The heads of MSNBC have said that they are “the [Washington] establishment.” This is true of every mainstream cable network and media outlet. The military industrial complex is, arguably, the most powerful and largest actor in U.S. politics so, of course, presenting a challenge to U.S. foreign policy is going to be seen by Washington as unfavorable.
It’s not exactly fair to single Maddow out but using her as an example does a nice job of making the point that even the mainstream media giants who seem to be representative of leftist/progressive viewpoints really aren’t and there are a number of reasons why this is true, including all of the silly patriotic ideals we’ve absorbed, but much of it has to do with the nature of our media and their reluctance to challenge Washington conventional wisdom.