Author: American 'way of war' has replaced American way
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday October 21, 2008

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Documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki has a new book, The American Way of War, which discusses how the military-industrial complex has become all-pervasive in our society, to the point of pushing aside what was formerly the American way of life.

Jarecki told the Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Monday that the military-industrial complex is not only more entrenched today than when President Eisenhower first warned against it 50 years ago, but also "much more generalized," amounting to "a kind of corporate-political complex at work in this country ... corporations and people in Congress working a bit too closely."

"You absolutely have to have defense," Jarecki acknowledged, but he also cited Eisenhower's warnings that "The world is not a secure place. You cannot have perfect security."

"And what you can do by trying to pursue perfect security," Jarecki continued passionately, "is you can literally bankrupt yourself as a nation -- on every level. Spiritually, economically -- we're seeing so many levels on which we've damaged ourselves."

"I don't see how that could ever happen, Eugene," interjected Stewart, "That's crazy talk." He then added, with mock anxiety, "Are we still on the air?"

"The country changed," resumed Jarecki. "The American way of war came to replace the American way. ... The Framers want a modest republic that doesn't go to war too much because they know ... that if the country goes to war all the time .. the president's going to say to you, 'It's a time of war. No time for civil liberties, no time to deliberate.'"

"What's the longest period you think we've gone in this country without some war?" Stewart asked.

"A year or two in the last couple of hundred years," Jarecki replied, breaking Stewart up. "They've done studies," he added.

"I'm on a real mission," stated Jarecki. "It's about looking past the election. ... The forces that control whether we go to war or not honestly don't care who's in the White House."

"The worst thing that's happened is that we have become disengaged by this," Jarecki concluded. "We all wake up, we work too hard, our jobs don't pay what it costs to make a living. ... At the end of the day, to think about your society and what's wrong with it is just one more big add-on."

In an interview with Amy Goodman, Jarecki enlarged on this theme, saying, "You've got to take some of that time and figure out how to direct it toward social change, because if all you do is vote at election time and sort of wake up and go, 'Oh, my god, something's happening, I'll throw my vote in,' it services your conscience, it services your desire to feel like you're doing something, but the actual practical implications of that are that a single candidate, up against the incredibly tangled corruption of this system, is hopeless."

"And they're made more hopeless by the fact that we are disengaged," concluded Jarecki, "because without a public mandate, somebody like Barack Obama will enter the White House, and, as you see, it's already happened in the evolution of his policy paradigms, he'll enter the White House without a mandate. And if he doesn't have a mandate, those enormous forces of power will give him a mandate. They'll give him a very clear mandate."

This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast October 20, 2008.

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