Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us - less than 1% - serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washington's constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans.
And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate. The Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself, with a staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near to challenging this country's might.
In the era following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the military-industrial complex has been thoroughly mobilized under the rubric of "privatization" and now goes to war with the Pentagon. With its US$80 billion-plus budget, the intelligence bureaucracy has simply exploded. There are so many competing agencies and outfits, surrounded by a universe of private intelligence contractors, all swathed in a penumbra of secrecy, and they have grown so large, mainly under the Pentagon's aegis, that you could say intelligence is now a ruling way of life in Washington - and it, too, is being thoroughly militarized.
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