INSIDE THE WASTELAND - Troy Southgate Examines T.S. Eliot's Use of Fear
Notas al margen de
“TIERRA BALDIA - La Crisis del Consenso Secular y el Milenarismo en la Sociedad Postmoderna
SE NON E VERO E BEN TROVATO
Cuando en el año 1995 salió a la luz mi libro de este título traté en lo posible de satisfacer la necesidad de precisión de los lectores haciendome tan exhaustivo y exacto como me lo permitiera mi fichero en las referencias sobre fuentes y bibliografía que introduje como pies de página. En algunos casos, sin embargo hubo fichas imprecisas y memoria algo borrosa que se me confabularon y me forzaron a la inexactitud. Ese fue el caso del pie de página 57 de la página 93 que dice así: “Un informe sin fecha y anónimo, difundido en los Estados Unidos hacia fines de la década del 1960, sugería la oportunidad de inventar extraterrestres para fines de guerra sicológica. El título era, si mal no recuerdo, On the possibility and desirability of Peace. No he podido encontrar en mis ficheros la referencia exacta. Es posible que se pueda hallar en la colección de Ramparts Magazine, San Francisco, a partir de 1966”. Recordaba mal, aunque no totalmente mal. He logrado finalmente, esta semana, reconstruir la referencia. Ofrezco ahora los datos detallados al lector.
Author: Special Study Group.
Title: Report from Iron Mountain on the possibility and desirability of peace Special Study Group.
Publisher: New York : Dial Press 1967.
Description: xxxii, 109 p. ; 22 cm.
Notes: 'Background information,' an edited transcript of interviews between L. C. Lewin and 'John Doe,pseudonymous group member who released the report: p. xvii-xxx. Bibliographical references included in 'Notes' (p. 103-109).
Subjects: Peace...War..Disarmament--Economic aspects..
Added Authors: Doe, John.Lewin, Leonard C.
Series Added Entry: LIBRARY.
"Report From Iron Mountain was published October 16, 1967, by the Dial Press of New York City. It has an introduction by Leonard C. Lewin, a New York free-lance writer. Leonard Lewin, who pretended that the secret report was leaked and did not claim authorship until five years later. Mr. Lewin wrote that the manuscript was made available to him in 1966 by a member of the 15 man "Special Study Group" which produced the work.
That person is referred to as "John Doe" and is described as a professor of social science from "a large Middle Western University." The manuscript identifies "Iron Mountain" as the assembly point for the study group, near Hudson,N.Y. According to an introduction that Mr. Lewin wrote under his own name, John Doe and 14 other scholars were part of a top-secret "Special Study group" summoned to a huge underground bomb shelter near Hudson, N.Y., in summer 1963. For more than two years, Mr. Lewin wrote, they worked "to determine, accurately and realistically, the nature of the problems that would confront the United states if and when a condition of permanent peace should arrive, and to draft a program for dealing with this contingency."
The 1967 edition of Report From Iron Mountain was the most talked about book of the year. The Library of Congress, on November 10, told "U.S. News & World Report" that "Iron Mountain" has not been registered. To do so would require divulging at least the nationality of the author.The Iron Mountain document was intriguing and relevant enough to make its way to the New York Times bestseller list. Many people discussed the Report with the perspective that whether or not it is an actual government plan for dominating the populace, the logic and strategies it contains deserve serious contemplation. A number of people, including some prominent intellectuals, believed the Report was authentic. Many others, including most book reviewers, labeled it satire. John Kenneth Galbraith, former Ambassador to India, was quoted by "The Harvard Crimson" as having parried the question of authorship. In November 1967, Dial's president vouched for the work's authenticity on the front page of the New York Times. Esquire magazine published a 28,000-word condensation of "Iron Mountain" in its December 1967 edition and dozens of publications ran commentaries on the issues raised in the Report. Even book reviewers who questioned its authenticity praised it as an important piece of political satire. Meanwhile, publications from Time magazine to The Wall Street Journal sought the real John Doe. John Kenneth Galbraith´s review of the book written under the pseudonym "Herschel McLandress" appeared in the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune (1967): "As I would put my personal repute behind the authenticity of this document, so I would testify to the validity of its conclusions. My reservations relate only to the wisdom of releasing it to an obviously unconditioned public.". Mr. Galbraith, the economist, who reviewed "Iron Mountain" under a pseudonym, was reported to have said: "I seem to be, on all matters, a natural object of suspicion." And he added: "Dean Rusk,Walt Bestow, even Robert Bowie could as easily have written the book as I.Yes, Rusk could." Later, John Kenneth Galbraith said he was "a member of the conspiracy" that produced the book [London Times January 5, 1968].
By early 1968, the report had climbed onto the New York Times list of nonfiction bestsellers. For the next few years, university seminars and scholarly journals continued to debate it. The book was translated into 15 languages before Mr. Lewin decided he had had enough . "I wrote the Report," he confessed in a 1972 essay in the Times Book Review. "All of it." Mr. Lewin said he had decided to end the charade after reading the "Pentagon Papers" and other government reports and think-tank studies that were then being leaked. "Some of the documents read like parodies of Iron Mountain, rather than the reverse," he wrote. In 1976, Taylor Caldwell summarized the Iron Mountain Report: "There will be no peace in the tormented world, only a programmed and systematic series of wars and calamities - until the plotters have gained their objective: an exhausted world….and total and meek enslavement - in the name of peace." [Taylor Caldwell, Ceremony of the Innocent 289 (Fawcett Books 1976)]. By 1980 the book was out of print, and the controversy all but forgotten by the mainstream press and public. Unauthorized transcripts of the Report still appear frequently on the Internet, and Simon & Schuster said letters threatening lawsuits were necessary to persuade the operators of seven web sites to cease distributing the book in electronic form. Chip Berlet, an analyst for Boston-based Political Research Associates who tracks movements, says countering the deep-set suspicions about the Report is "like trying to get rid of mildew in your shower -- Report from Iron Mountain will never die.". Colonel Fletcher Prouty a national security aide in the Kennedy Administration (and the model for the Donald Sutherland character in Oliver Stone's JFK), continues to believe the report is authentic and cited it in his memoirs.
Did a select group of prominent Americans meet in secret sessions between 1963 and 1966 and produce a report that advised the U. S. Government it could never afford an era of peace?. Yes-according to the mysterious new book, "Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace."
IS WAR NECESSARY? The stated purpose of this Report (taken from the first paragraph of the cover letter) is: to consider the problems involved in the contingency of a transition to a general condition of peace, and to recommend procedures for dealing with this contingency.". Central theme of the book, which purports to reflect the unanimous view of 15 of the nation's top scholars and economists, is this: War and preparations for it are indispensable to world stability. Lasting peace is probably unattainable. And peace, even if it could be achieved, might not be in the best interests of society. Instead, the Report argued, it is in the "best interest of stable society" to identify and perpetuate the "essential, non-military functions of war." These include the economic stimulus of defense spending and a host of other war-related factors that favor the traditional institutions of social and political control. "The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers," the Report says, direly predicting that chaos and disorder would result without the nation-rallying opportunities that armed conflict provides. Absent the national security priorities that empower the military-industrial system, the status quo could expect a major shakeup.
The Report ends by concluding: "the permanent possibility of war is the foundation for stable government (p. 145)." The Report thought it would be very difficult to find a substitute for war that wastes vast amounts of resources and that the public would so readily accept. People accept political authority during war. War allows class distinctions to exist unquestioned and ensures "the subordination of the citizen to the state (p. 145)." The study had to understand why people who would most likely be killed so readily accepted war. The Study Group found that people pull together to defend their country when a external enemy threatens them.
In theory, the report pointed out, a perceived threat from extraterrestrial beings might provide an incentive for human civilization to abandon its internal strife and present a unified front against the alleged menace from alien beings. A threat from "extraterrestrials" was one of several suggested means for helping to unify human society and discourage warfare on Earth. The report presented other possible scenarios including the threat of ecological catastrophe. The study also suggested that some flying saucer reports were actually experiments in manipulating public belief, with the aim of reshaping society by encouraging belief in hostile extraterrestrial powers menacing Earth. The report ultimately dismissed the threat-from-aliens scenario, however, as "unpromising" and encouraged investigation of other ways to manufacture "fictitious ... enemies" that might serve to unify humankind. The report termed
environmental pollution "promising" as an "apparent" species threat: "But from present indications it will be a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution." A program of deliberate environmental poisoning was considered politically unacceptable. [Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace 73 (1967)].
Limiting procreation "to the products of artificial insemination" was discussed, to allow direct eugenic management. [Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain On the Possibility and An
anti-reproduction "pill" to be added to water supplies or essential foodstuffs was "already under development." [Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace 73 (1967)]. Proposed replacements for war included: a comprehensive social-welfare program, an open-ended space program aimed at unreachable targets, a permanent inspection program for disarmament, an international police force, an extraterrestrial threat, massive global pollution, fictitious alternative enemies, enslavement programs, derived from the peace corps model, new religious and other mythologies, socially oriented blood games, and a program of eugenics. [Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace 84 (1967)].
Here are a few basic Iron Mountain, assumptions that most of us will find hard to accept:
Most medical advances are problems, not progress. Public posturing by politicians notwithstanding, poverty is necessary and desirable. Standing armies are, among other things, social welfare institutions that serve functions similar to nursing homes and mental hospitals. The main purpose of space programs and ultra-costly weapons is neither defense nor the advancement of science; it is the wasteful spending of vast sums of money. The military draft is only remotely related to defense. Organized repression of minorities and perhaps the reestablishment of slavery would likely be necessary products of genuine peace. Deliberate intensification of water and air pollution could be vital steps in a program leading to world peace..Universal test-tube procreation would have to be an inevitable feature of a world at peace. Government "budgeting" of lives to be destroyed by warfare is a high priority for maintaining prosperity. Another shocking and disheartening assumption of Iron Mountain is that war is not a function of political systems, but that societies and political entities are formed for the purpose of waging war. Although it is a universally accepted social cliche that war is subordinate to the social system, the truth is that "war itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. It is the system which has governed most human societies of record, as it is today."
Conclusions & Recomendations
quoted directly from
REPORT FROM IRON MOUNTAIN
Although war is 'used' as an instrument of national and social policy, the fact that a society is organized for any degree of readiness for war supersedes its political and economic structure. War itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. It is the system which has governed most human societies of record, as it is today. War is not, as is widely assumed, primarily an instrument of policy utilized by nations to extend or defend their expressed political values or their economic interests. On the contrary, it is itself the principal basis of organization on which all modern societies are constructed.
The Functions of War
The most obvious and spectacular function of war is economic. War is an unequalled stimulator of the economy because it is superbly wasteful.
Massive waste is essential to keep the nation's economy pumped up, and nothing wastes like war. Like Christmas, it creates artificial demand for otherwise useless items, and, as one writer explains, it "solves the problem of inventory," which means that you never finish the job: as soon as you have enough Formula X missiles, you declare them obsolete and go to work producing Formula Y missiles, and since the enemy also has missiles, you have to build anti-missile missiles, and since the enemy has anti-missile missiles, you have to build anti-anti-missile missiles. Iron Mountain views war as not only as an unequalled economic stimulator, but also as a sort of giant balance wheel, which allows the Back-Room Boys to fine tune the economy by controlling defense spending. For example, employment figures can be manipulated by adjusting defense spending. War is the great controller of the nation's economic metabolism.
One obvious political function of war is the establishment and enforcement of national sovereignty. "The elimination of war implies the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state," says the report. It is by war that we enforce our boundaries. Patriotism and national stability have their roots in war. "The historical record reveals one instance after another where the failure of a regime to maintain the credibility of a war threat led to its dissolution .... The organization of a society for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer."
Equally important politically is war's function as "the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary social classes." War promotes the separation of classes and assures that there will be "hewers of wood and drawers of water."
Sociological functions of the war system include the control of delinquent and hostile social groups, both through police action (police activity is merely one segment of society waging war against another) and military service. Armies also offer jobs for the unemployed. War has been traditionally the main motivating factor in assuring allegiance to the political system. "Allegiance requires a cause: a cause requires an enemy." War breeds patriotism and patriotism breeds war--a perfect, self-sustaining system. Social cohesiveness erodes and societies crumble unless people can be made to believe that a formidable external menace, a life-and-death enemy, exists.
The ecological function of war seems so obvious that elaboration is unnecessary. Organized violence together with the disease and famine that often follow it have through the ages been our most effective tool for destroying surplus members of our species. In addition to all-out wars of mass destructive scope, people have throughout history experimented with smaller wars against selected segments of their societies for the purpose of limiting their numbers. These have been far less effective than all-out war. Examples are infanticide, sexual mutilation, monasticism, forced emigration, and extensive capital punishment. Currently, abortion, war against the unborn, is openly promoted as a population limiter.
One of the many ironies involved in thinking of the life-destroying properties of war as our main life-preserving tool in the overall picture of species survival is that nuclear weapons, which threaten us with extinction, are becoming increasingly necessary if war is to limit population significantly. Improved sanitation, nutrition, and medical advances now protect armies more effectively against disease mortality, so more destructive weapons are needed. For example, during Napoleon's Peninsular campaign, 400,000 of the 460,000 French casualties were from disease, but in World War II only about 16,QQQ of the 3Q0,000 Americans who perished died from disease. Iron Mountain concludes that conventional weapons will almost certainly prove inadequate in future wars "to reduce the consuming population to a level consistent with survival of the species."
The cultural and scientific functions of war are equally obvious. From the Iliad on, war has inspired countless artistic masterpieces. Have you read any great epic poems about peace? Scientific research and medical technology have profited immensely from the war system. The transistor radio, steel-frame buildings, and the concept of the assembly line are typical war-inspired advances. Even the power lawnmower has its origins in war It developed out of a revolving scythe designed by Leonardo da Vinci for the purpose of lopping off enemy heads when pulled by horses through their ranks. War has contributed most heavily to medical technology. "The Vietnam war alone has led to spectacular improvements in amputation procedures, blood-handling techniques, and surgical logistics. It has stimulated new large-scale research on malaria and other tropical parasite diseases; it is hard to estimate how long this work would otherwise have been delayed, despite its enormous nonmilitary importance to nearly half the world's population."
I'll mention just a couple of the more interesting lesser functions of war covered by the report. One is "war as a general social release," which is explained as necessary for "the dissipation of general boredom, one of the most consistently undervalued and unrecognized of social phenomena." As such, our Gulf Wars might be viewed as something to fill TV time between the Super Bowl and the onset of the pro basketball playoffs. The start date depends on the TV ratings of the Winter Olympics. Another lesser function of war is as a "generational stabilizer," which "enables the physically deteriorating older generation to maintain its control of the younger." Finally, there is the important function of war "as an ideological clarifier," which is needed to screw our heads back on straight when we start to become deluded into thinking there might be ways to look at things other than the ways we have been taught. Dualism, us vs. them with no room for compromise, "characterizes the traditional dialect of all branches of philosophy and of stable political relationships." Iron Mountain concludes: "Except for secondary considerations, there cannot be, to put it as simply as possible, more than two sides to a question because there cannot be more than two sides to a war." That's right, that's right!
Substitutes for the Functions of War
The Iron Mountain researchers were able to find no "peaceful" endeavors that could waste resources as effectively as the general depicted in the cartoon. Maintaining readiness for war fulfills the need for "planned annual destructions of at least 10 percent of the gross national product" and does so while operating outside the normal supply-demand system. Substitute suggestions usually center on vast expenditures in health, education, housing, transportation, and alleviation of poverty; these are rejected as inadequate because they are far too cheap. The most promising substitute is the establishment of a grandiose and unimaginably expensive space research program. "Space research can be viewed as the nearest modern equivalent yet devised to the pyramid-building, and similar ritualistic enterprises, of ancient societies," yet it is unlikely that governments could "sell" people on such expenditures without some real or imagined threat to their security. Seen in this light, the defense strategy commonly called Star Wars might be viewed as a transitional effort to shift from massive military to massive non-military spending.
In the area of politics, the end of war would equal "the end of nationhood as we know it today." No suitable substitute has been devised, and most suggestions, such as maintaining order by means of an international peace force, border on merely substituting one form of war for another. There have been experiments with imaginary external threats (e. g., bogus flying saucer reports), but so far nothing works as well as Saddam Hussein.
In sociology, a suitable control function might exist in slavery, "in a technologically modern and a conceptionally euphemized form." Slavery relieves unemployment and provides a niche for social misfits. It could easily be argued that we are moving toward widespread slavery "in a technologically modern and a conceptionally euphemized form" through debt. College students, for example, who incur massive debts and spend the rest of their lives working to pay them are in a very real sense indentured servants--slaves of our very demanding economic system. Desirability of Peace 67 (1967)]. A first step to enslavement was some form of universal military service: "It is entirely possible that the development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world of peace." [Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace 70 (1967)].
In terms of motivation, a typical Iron Mountain suggestion is the deliberate intensification of environmental pollution to create a genuine non-human enemy to do combat with. The development of "blood games" to control individual aggressive impulses is also suggested, but its effectiveness would be limited.
As for ecology, the solution is easy: simply limit procreation to artificial insemination. The tough part is getting people to accept it. It would likely involve universal administration of a variant on "the pill" via public water supplies and essential foods. If people will accept mass drugging of the water with a powerful toxin like fluoride because they are told it will lessen tooth cavities, they can surely be convinced to accept contraceptive treatment of municipal water.
The Iron Mountain panel concluded that the world would probably survive even if no peaceful substitute could be found for war's stimulation of culture. As for science, grandiose space projects and massive eugenics programs might serve man almost as well as war.
The overall conclusion? "The war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until 1) we know exactly what it is we plan to put in its place, and 2) we are certain, beyond reasonable doubt, that these substitute institutions will serve their purposes in terms of the survival and stability of society .... The war system, for all its subjective repugnance to important sections of 'public opinion,' has demonstrated its effectiveness since the beginning of recorded history; it has provided the basis for the development of many impressively durable civilizations, including that which is dominant today."
THE NONMILITARY FUNCTIONS OF WAR:
Economic Function: War has provided both ancient and modern societies with a dependable system for stabilizing and controlling national economies. No alternate method of control has yet been tested in a complex modern economy that has shown itself remotely comparable in scope or effectiveness.
The "wastefulness" of war production is exercised entirely outside the framework of the economy of supply and demand. As such, it provides the only critically large segment of the total economy that is subject to complete and arbitrary central control.
Substitute institutions proposed for consideration as replacement for economic function of war: (a) A comprehensive social-welfare program, directed toward maximum improvement of general conditions of human life. (b) A giant open-end space research program, aimed at unreachable targets. (c) A permanent, ritualized, ultra-elaborate disarmament inspection system, and variants of such a system.
Political: The permanent possibility of war is the foundation for stable government; it supplies the basis for general acceptance of political authority. It has enabled societies to maintain necessary class distinctions, and it has ensured the subordination of the citizen to the state, by virtue of the residual war powers inherent in the concept of nationhood. No modern political ruling group has successfully controlled its constituency after failing to sustain the continuing credibility of an external threat of war.
Since it is historically axiomatic that the existence of any form of weaponry insures its use, we have used the word 'peace' as virtually synonymous with disarmament. By the same token, 'war' is virtually synonymous with nationhood. The elimination of war implies the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state.
Substitute Institutions: (a) an omnipresent, virtually omnipotent international police force. (b) An established and recognized extraterrestrial menace. (c) Massive global environmental pollution. (d) Fictitious alternate enemies.
Sociological: War, through the medium of military institutions, has uniquely served societies, throughout the course of known history, as an indispensable controller of dangerous social dissidence and destructive antisocial tendencies...the war system has provided the machinery through which the motivational forces governing human behavior have been translated into binding social allegiance. It has thus ensured the degree of social cohesion necessary to the viability of nations.
Substitute Institutions: Control Function: (a) Programs generally derived from the Peace Corps model. (b) A modern, sophisticated form of slavery. Motivational function: (a) Intensified environmental pollution. (b) New religions or other mythologies. (c) Socially oriented blood games. (d) Combination forms.
Ecological: War has been the principal evolutionary device for maintaining a satisfactory ecological balance between gross human population and supplies available for its survival. It is unique to the human species.
Substitute Institutions: A comprehensive program of applied eugenics.
Cultural and Scientific: War-orientation has determined the basic standards of value in the creative arts, and has provided the fundamental motivational source of scientific and technological progress.
Among primitive peoples, the war dance is the most important art form. Elsewhere, literature, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture that has won lasting acceptance has invariably dealt with a theme of war, expressly or implicitly, and has expressed the centricity of war to society. The war in question may be national conflict, as in Shakespeare plays, Beethoven's music, or Goya's paintings, or it may be reflected in the form of religious, social, or moral struggle, as in the work of Dante, Rembrandt, and Bach. Art that cannot be classified as war-oriented is usually described as 'sterile', 'decadent,' and so on...It is also instructive to note that the character of a society's culture has borne a close relationship to its war-making potential, in the context of its times. It is no accident that the current 'cultural explosion' in the United States is taking place during an era marked by an unusually rapid advance in weaponry.
Substitute Institutions: Cultural: No replacement institution offered. Scientific: The secondary requirements of the space research, social welfare, and/or eugenics programs.
Commission Conclusions and Assumptions:
? Lasting peace, while not theoretically impossible, is probably unattainable. Even if it could be achieved it would almost certainly not be in the best interests of a stable society to achieve it.
? War fulfills certain functions essential to the stability of our society. Until other systems of filling them are developed, the war system must be maintained.
? Poverty is necessary and desirable.
? Standing armies are, among other things, social-welfare institutions in exactly the same sense as are old-people's homes and mental hospitals.
? The space program and the anti-missile missile and fallout shelter programs are understood to have the spending of vast sums of money as their principal goals, not the advancemmt of science or national defense.
? Military draft policies are only remotely concerned with defense.
Some proposals that were seriously considered:
? Organized repression of minority groups
? Reestablishment of slavery
? Deliberate intensification of air and water pollution
? The idea of a real peace in the world, general disarnment and so on, was looked on as utopian. Or even crackpot.
"What they wanted from us was a different kind of thinking. It was a matter of approach. Herman Kahn calls it 'Byzantine' - no agonizing over cultural and religious values. No moral posing. It's the kind of thinking that Rand and the Hudson Institute and I.D.A. [Institute for Defense Analysis] brought into war planning. To give the same kind of treatment to the hypothetical problems of peace as they give to a hypothetical nuclear war."
"The report which follows summarizes the results of a two-and-a-half-year study of the broad problem to be anticipated in the event of a general transformation of American society to a condition lacking its most critical current characteristics: its capability and readiness to wage war when doing so is judged necessary or desirable by its political leadership."
"It is surely no exaggeration to say that a condition of general world peace would lead to changes in the social structures of the nations of the world of unparalleled and revolutionary magnitude. ...The world is totally unprepared to meet the demands of such a situation."
The "world war industry" accounts for approximately a tenth of the output of the world's total economy.
"A national economy can absorb almost any member of subsidiary reorganizations within its total limits, providing there is no basic change in its own structure."
"Given genuine agreement of intent among the great powers, the scheduling of arms control and elimination present no inherently insurmountable procedural problems."
"No major power can proceed with such a program, however, until it has developed an econonic conversion plan fully integrated with each phase of disarmament. No such plan has yet been develped in the United States."
"Furthermore, disarmament scenarios, like proposals for economic conversion, make no allowance for the non-military functions of war in modern societies, and offer no surrogate for these necessary functions."
" It is the incorrect assumption that war, as an institution, is subordinate to the social system it is believed to serve. "
"This misconception, although profound and far-reaching, is entirely comprehensible. Few social cliches are so unquestioningly accepted as the notion that war is an extension of diplomacy (or of politics, or of the pursuit of economic objectives)."
"The point is that the cliche is not true, and the problems of transition are indeed substantive rather than merely procedural. Although war is 'used' as an instrument of national and social policy, the fact that a society is organized for any degree of readiness for war supersedes its political and economic structure. War itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. It is the system which has governed most human societies of record, as it is today."
"It must be emphasized that the precedence of a society's war-making potential over its other characteristics is not the result of the the 'threat' presumed to exist at any one time from other societies. This is the reverse of the basic situation; 'threats' against the national interest' are usually created or accelerated to meet the changing needs of the war system. Only in comparatively recent times has it been considered politically expedient to euphemize war budgets as 'defense' requirements. The necessity for governments to distinguish between 'aggression' (bad) and "defense' (good) has been a by-product of rising literacy and rapid communication. The distinction is tactical only, a concession to the growing inadequacy of ancient war-organizing political rationales.
"Wars are not 'caused' by international conflicts of interest. Proper logical sequence would make it more often accurate to say that war-making societies require - and thus bring about.- such conflicts. The capacity of a nation to make war expresses the greatest social power it can exercise; war-making, active or contemplated, is a matter of life and death on the greatest scale subject to social control. It should therefore hardly be surprising that the military institutions in each society claim its highest priorities."
"...The 'wastefulness' of war production is exercised entirely outside the framework of the economy of supply and demand. As such, it provides the only critically large segment of the total economy that is subject to complete and arbitrary central control. If modern industrial societies can be defined as those which have developed the capacity to produce more than is required for their economic survival (regardless of the equities of distribution of goods within them), military spending can be said to furnish the only balance wheel with sufficient inertia to stabilize the advance of their economies. The fact that war is 'wasteful' is what enables it to serve this function. And the faster the economy advances, the heavier this balance wheel must be."
"...A nation's foreign policy can have no substance if it lacks the means of enforcing its attitude toward other nations. It can do this in a credible manner only if it implies the threat of political organization for this purpose - which is to say that it is organized to some degree for war. War, then, as we have defined it to include all national activities that recognize the possibility of armed conflict, is itself the defining element of any nation's existence vis-a-vis any other nation. Since it is historically axiomatic that the existence of any form of weaponry insures its use, we have used the word 'peace' as virutally synonymous with disarmament. By the same token, 'war' is virtually synonymous with nationhood. The elimination of war implies the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state."
"The war system not only has been essential to the existence of nations as independent political entities, but has been equally indispensable to their stable internal political structure. Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence in its 'legitimacy,' or right to rule its society. The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power. The historical record reveals one instance after another where the failure of a regime to maintain the credibility of a war threat led to its dissolution, by the forces of private interest, of reactions to social injustice, or of other disintegrative elements."
"In advanced modern democratic societies, the war system has provided political leaders with another political-economic function of increasing importance: it has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary social classes. As economic productivity increases to a level further and further above that of mininun subsistence, it becomes more and more difficult for a society to maintain distribution patterns insuring the existence of 'hewers of wood and drawers of water.' ... Until it is developed, the continuance of the war system must be assured, if for no other reason, among others, than to preserve whatever quality and degree of poverty a society requires as an incentive, as well as to maintain the stability of its internal organization of power."
"The most obvious of these [sociological] functions is the time-honored use of military institutions to provide antisocial elements with an acceptable role in the social structure. ... The younger, and more dangerous, of these hostile social groupings have been kept under control by the Selective Service System."
"Informed persons in this country have never accepted the official rationale for a peacetime draft - military necessity, preparedness, etc.- as worthy of serious consideration. ...The arrmed forces in every civilization have provided the principal state-supported haven for what we now call the 'unemployable.' The typical European standing army (of fifty years ago) consisted of '...troops unfit for employment in commerce, industry, or agriculture, led by officers unfit to practice any legitimate profession or to conduct a business enterprise.'"
"In general, the war system provides the basic motivation for primary social organization. In so doing, it reflects on the societal level the incentives of individual human behavior. The most important of these, for social purposes, is the individual psychological rationale for allegiance to a society and its values. Allegiance requires a cause; a cause requires an enemy. This much is obvious; the critical point is that the enemy that defines the cause must seem genuinely formidable. Roughly speaking, the presumed power of the 'enemy' sufficient to warrant an individual sense of allegiance to a society must be proportionate to the size and complexity of the society. Today, of course, that power must be one of unprecedented magnitude and frightfulness."
"War provides for the periodic necessary readjustment of standards of social behavior (the 'moral climate') and for the dissipation of general boredom, one of the most consistently undervalued and unrecognized of social phenomena."
"War as an ideological clarifier. ... Except for secondary considerations, there cannot be, to put it as simply as possible, more than two sides to a question because there cannot be more than two sides to a war."
"Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat; it is possible that a few of the more difficult-to-explain 'flying saucer' incidents of recent years were in fact early experiments of this kind."
"Another possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political processes, of slavery. ... The traditional association of slavery with ancient preindustrial cultures should not blind us to its adaptability to advanced forms of social organization, nor should its equally traditional incompatibility with Western moral and economic values. It is entirely possible that the development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world at peace. As a practical matter, conversion of the code of military discipline to a euphemized form of enslavement would entail surprisingly little revision; the logical first step would be the adoption of some form of 'universal' military service."