The American Bear


Violence, USA | An Interview with Henry A. Giroux

Michael Slate: You also talk about something you call a permanent warfare state.  I do think one thing that has become increasingly clear to anybody who is honestly watching what is going on in the world, and what the US is doing in the world, is that there is a permanent state of war on the world launched by the US and fought by the US. It is really trying to establish this globally unchallenged and unchallengeable empire. You talk about this being a permanent warfare state and the consequences of that. Why do you see it as a permanent warfare state and what are some of the consequences?

Giroux: Of course, George W. Bush intensified this policy and one consequence is that the US government now spreads death and destruction all over the globe in the name of advancing democracy. The hypocrisy inherent in that sort of formulation, the way in which it is endlessly legitimated is almost overwhelming. Think of the lies that were produced by the Bush/Cheney regime in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. I also claim that the United States is a permanent warfare state because military adventures now being waged in the name of democracy are illegal, immoral and unjustifiable, but also because the notion of permanent war operates domestically in the name of homeland security and the conservative Christian extremist ideology to which it is harnessed. Take for example, the rise of the right-wing Christian extremists in the Republican Party and the war they are waging on women, workers, youth, and immigrants. Even the lexicon used by United States by some US senators used to justify the despicable National Defense Authorization Act is highly militarized given that the rhetoric refers to the US as a battleground that demands military action.  

The consequences are terrible. We have to ask ourselves a number of questions.  What are the social costs of having a permanent war state? Who does it benefit and what are the consequences in terms of the massive destruction that it reproduces?  What effect does it have on policy at home? How does it become a tool for governance? How does it function as an ideology? How is the logic of war central to a massive cultural apparatus that now uses violence as the ultimate form of entertainment, if not sport itself? [++]