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a time for fear
Wednesday, June 18, 2003  
Liberal-baiting Trotskyite Christopher Hitchens points out something amazing in a recent essay on the Iraq War ('After the Fall'): apparently 30,000 'American' soldiers sent out to the Gulf were green card holders! A substantial bloc of America's army is comprised of economic immigrants without papers of citizenship. Even better, if you happen to be a green card holder in the American army and you are killed in action, you recieve full citizenship posthumously. Great deal!

This means that the American army is, in part, a mercenary army, probably the largest mercenary army in recent history, at least since the nineteenth century when armed conflict was firmly tied to national ideology and destiny. What's funny, though, is that the American army is still very much defined as a national army, defending the idea of the homeland, the national ideal and mystique. Which is still possible, actually, if you think of America as an abstract political and cultural idea/l, based not on territorial alliance, but mental allegiance, aspiration and empathy (across the world, from Bhutan to Russia, America is not just the Enemy, Satan, etc., but the Promised Land, the Ideal of Liberty, however flawed, the centre of power = freedom, security, luxury.)

Norman Mailer said that when he last went to Russia he was requested to give a lecture to a group of students and afterwards they asked him what he thought the main difference between America and Russia was. He replied: "you have better McDonalds over here". They were delighted!

12:48 PM

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