Welcome to the 10 Years + Counting blog. This space is a container for impressions of war. These impressions won’t always comment explicitly on the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will always speak to the costs of those wars by evoking the overwhelming human, economic, spiritual waste all wars leave in their wake. They will come from poetry, history, cinema, literature, and more. Wake up and attend to the waste, they will tell us. Stay awake and bring the war, the waste to an end.
The New York Times of June 11, 2011, on the occasion of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ final policy speech before leaving office, reported a senior NATO official as saying, “If the United States did not have large stockpiles of ammunition…the NATO campaign [in Afghanistan] would already have come to a halt. The Americans are selling the ammunition, but it was the American military budget that paid for its manufacture and stockpiling.”
This brought to mind the farewell speech of Dwight D. Eisenhower, delivered in 1961. It is a speech well-known for the president’s coinage of the term “military-industrial complex.” Especially, eerily, in our current moment, the context of that term, Eisenhower’s entire speech, warrants revisiting: