The Forever War (1974) is a science fiction novel by Vietnam veteran and author Joe Haldeman, relating a tale of soldiers fighting an interstellar war between humanity and an enigmatic alien species called the Taurans. The novel explores the inhumanity of war and bureaucracy, and the psychological effects resulting from the time dilation of space travel (a soldier returns home from months on the “front” only to find that centuries have passed on Earth), won the Nebula Award in 1975, and the Hugo and the Locus awards in 1976.
As the story goes, one William Mandella, a physics student is conscripted for an elite task force in the United Nations Exploratory Force being assembled for a war against the Taurans, an alien species discovered after they allegedly attacked some ships bearing human colonists. The UNEF ground troops are sent out for reconnaissance and revenge. Their first encounter with unarmed Taurans turns into a massacre, with the unresisting enemy base being wiped out. Mandella reflects on how the encounter seemed typical given humanity’s previous record when interacting with other alien cultures.
Mandella returns to civilian life, only to find humanity drastically changed. He and his fellow soldiers have difficulty fitting into a future (for them) society that has evolved almost beyond comprehension. The veterans learn that to curb overpopulation, which led to worldwide class wars caused by income inequality, homosexuality has become officially encouraged by many of the world’s nations. The world has become a very dangerous place because of widespread unemployment and the proliferation of deadly weapons.
The changes within society alienate Mandella and the other veterans to the point where many re-enlist to escape, even though they realize the military is a soul less construct. The inability of the military to treat its soldiers as more than highly complex valuable machines is a theme of the story. The alienation experienced by the soldiers on returning to Earth – here caused by the time dilation effect – becomes a clear metaphor for the reception given to US troops returning to the United States from Vietnam, including the way in which war ultimately proves to be useless and its results meaningless for them.
Almost entirely through luck, Mandella survives four subjectively experienced years of military service, which time dilation equates to several centuries. He soon becomes the oldest surviving soldier in the war, attaining high rank through seniority, not ambition. As the commanding officer of a strike force, Mandella commands soldiers who speak a language largely unrecognizable to him, whose ethnicity is now nearly uniform and are exclusively homosexual. He is disliked by the soldiers because he is not like them; they have to learn 21st century English to communicate with him and other senior staff, and because he is heterosexual.
During the time that has since passed on Earth, humankind has begun to employ human cloning, resulting in a new, collective species calling itself Man. Man has developed a means of communication unique and inherent to clones, which allows them to communicate with the Taurans, who are also clones themselves, leading to peace. When Man finally gains the ability to communicate with the Taurans, it is discovered that the Taurans were not responsible for the millennium-old destruction of the colonial vessels in question. The futile, meaningless war – The Forever War – that lasted for more than a thousand years finally ends.
We have our own Forever War. The citizens of the United States, a country arguably called the “world’s only superpower”, have been willing participants in and witnesses to more than 60 years of continuous warfare, starting with the “Korean Conflict” and ultimately leading to the drumbeat for attacking Venezuela, North Korea, China, and Iran any of which may physically happen at any moment as of this post. Make no mistake, the economic offensive of this perpetual crusade has already begun and is un-relenting, at the center of which are the leading enablers for the global plutocracy; including the likes of the IMF, the World Bank, the ECB, the BIS, plus a number of so-called “think tanks” personified by the Atlantic Council, the Council For Foreign Relations (CFB), and the Bilderberg Group. The targets of this Forever War read like a litany of belligerent campaigns designed to dominate the world economic order. Here is a list inspired by William Blum’s chilling book “Rogue State: A Guide To The World’s Only Superpower“.
List of countries bombed in the preceding 60 years:
• Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
• Guatemala 1954
• Iran 1954
• Indonesia 1958
• Cuba 1959 to Present
• Guatemala 1960
• Congo 1964
• Laos 1964-73
• Vietnam 1961-73
• Cambodia 1969-70
• Guatemala 1967-69
• Chile 1973
• Grenada 1983
• Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
• Libya 1986
• El Salvador 1980s
• Nicaragua 1980s
• Iran 1987
• Panama 1989
• Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
• Kuwait 1991
• Somalia 1993
• Bosnia 1994, 1995
• Sudan 1998
• Afghanistan 1998
• Yugoslavia 1999
• Yemen 2002
• Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
• Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
• Afghanistan 2001 to present
• Pakistan 2007 to present
• Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
• Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
• Libya 2011
• Syria 2013 to present
• Iraq 2014 to present
• Iran 2014 to present
• North Korea 2017 to present?
• China 2017 to present?
• Venezuela 2017 to present
• Honduras 2017
• Nicaragua 2018
• Puerto Rico 2018
• California 2018?
• Julian Assange 2018 to present
• The Climate 1880’s to the present
• Mars 2???
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the mad scientists at the Pentagon ; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States, and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations.
We were even led to believe that Syria attacked it’s own citizens with sarin gas. Sarin. There are conflicting stories, published by independent sources including Mint Press News that cite interviews with local residents, rebel combatants, and victims on the scene when the attack happened stating that the weapons were in fact provided by Saudi Arabia – long time foes of Assad – to rebel factions (who are defacto jihadists) that were mishandled by the rebels, causing an explosion. These stories must be further explored for accuracy, but they seen to hold more water than the one’s mouthed by John Kerry and succeeding diplomats that cannot be verified because of “national security” concerns. It’s just hard to resist asking what or whom is threatening the national security of the US?
Let’s make sure we’re clear on the script for this “play”, and the players, and their “affiliations” in this theater of the absurd.
The Assad regime, although secular, is dominated by the Shiite faction of the Muslim faith. They are aligned with Iran, China, and Russia who together form an economic system that directly competes with western Neoliberal Capitalism and the Petrodollar.
The loose confederation of rebels are Sunni jihadists, supported directly by Saudi Arabia (you remember Saudi Arabia; 15 of the 19 terrorists that took part in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Saudi Wahabists). Saudi Arabia is an economic partner of the US and strategically aligned with the State of Israel.
So the scenario in this dystopian drama has the US engaged in a scheme to support a jihadist movement – of Wahhabist/Salafi terrorists, backed by Saudi Arabia, that is bent on overthrowing the secular sovereign governments that seeks to determine its own economic direction — not only in Syria but also in Yemen and most recently in Venezuela and Iran. Sounds a lot like the history of failed US involvement in Afghanistan, doesn’t it? Remember Dan Rather in mufti, “undercover” with the Mujahadeen? To say that the US foreign policy of “humanitarian aid” is not mere neoliberal “truthspeak” for regime change is just asinine.
These events are sounding more and more like the bully on the block — U.S. Empire — drumming up support for The Forever War, which if history is any indication, appears to be the only thing propping up neoliberal capitalism anymore besides debt creation being re-branded as “growth”. Maybe perpetual war is the only foreign and domestic policy that has ever proved effective for sustaining capitalism because, you know, there are profits to be made and the taxpayer has deep pockets and it’s Fiat Money anyway so who cares about the $22 trillion in National Debt with interest payments due the Rentier Class approaching $1 trillion annually? The Corporate State’s appetite for profits is the driving force behind what these crusades are and have been all about; money and economic hegemony – not just about the control of a fossil fuel based energy supply, or a monopoly on the manufacture and development of WMD’s, or even about whose god is more righteous. It is just about mammon. The elites of the Rentier Class demand protection from competing ideologies and economies. That protection comes in the form of missiles, drones, JSOC assassinations, and economic sanctions. We have to be asking: “When is enough enough? Who are the real terrorists? Are we next?”
As former president Jimmy Carter recently stated, “America has no functioning democracy.” It is a police state in which the executive branch has placed itself above all law and the Constitution. This police state is now planning to involve the country in yet another war crime of unprovoked aggression. What is the agenda here?
Washington has endeavored to turn Syria over to jihadi terrorists by helping them to overthrow the secular, non-terrorist Assad government — and has failed. This agenda all along was to undermine alternative economies in the area – Iran, Russia and China. It has always been about economic dominion – not terrorism. The US and its allies in this travesty are acting like the terrorists. Ask Russia. Ask Iran. Ask Syria. Ask China. Ask Saddam Hussein. Ask Gaddafi. Oh yeah, we can’t. They’re both dead.
What is the full extent of The Forever War, and more to the point what is it’s cost? Look at this map featured in a recent post by Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch….
For the last 16 years, we, the American people, funding this complex set of conflicts to the tune of trillions of dollars, have lacked a single map of the war Washington has been fighting. Not one. Yes, parts of that morphing, spreading set of conflicts have been somewhere in the news regularly, though seldom (except when there were “lone wolf” terror attacks in the United States or Western Europe) in the headlines. In all those years, however, no American could see an image of this strange, perpetual conflict whose end is nowhere in sight.
Let’s end The Forever War before it ends us.
Revised from the original September 4, 2013 post.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.www.parrhesiastes.net. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.parrhesiastes.net.