"Peace with Honour" or "The Will Is Gone."
What is America? What will America be in 10 or 20 years? The United States is a country undergoing rapid change and, to some extent, dragging the West along with it. Its government is deeply dysfunctional, presided over by a "bought and paid for" Congress. The vaunted democratic republic has become a transactional democracy, another term for oligarchy. In some ways the US seems to be following a form of governance that plagued Rome in the final two centuries before its fall.
Dwight Eisenhower, before leaving the White House, warned the American people to be wary of the emerging "military-industrial complex."In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
But mark me down as skeptical. Only when Americans openly acknowledge their imperial transgressions will genuine repentance become possible. And only with repentance will avoiding further occasions to sin become a habit. In other words, only when Americans call imperialism by its name will vows of “never again” deserve to be taken seriously.
In the meantime, our collective obligation is to remember. The siege of ancient Troy, which lasted a decade, inspired Homer to write the Iliad. Although the American war in Afghanistan has now gone on almost twice as long, don’t expect it to be memorialized in an epic poem. Yet with such poetry out of fashion, perhaps a musical composition of some sort might act as a substitute. Call it — just to suggest a title — “Requiem for the American Century.” For one thing should be clear by now: over the course of the nation’s longest war, the American Century breathed its last.