The Future of the Forever Wars
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a historian who studied the human effects of war. He had studied PTSD in soldiers who fought in wars, and whether PTSD was an inevitable result of war. He believed that this was the case, although the public support for the war was also a significant contributing factor to outcomes in soldiers’ mental, physical, and social health. Of course, I’m much more focused upon the human costs in the countries we’ve bombed, invaded, etc. One part of his presentation that grabbed my attention was his studies on how war was changing, and how automation in the war industry was contributing to lesser rates of PTSD in veterans who fought in foreign wars.
He concluded that the decreased actual human contact between the people in the United States and the countries it imperialized would lead to decreased public awareness of war. This would mean that the field of war would shift to less sophisticated tactics. His conclusion was that imperialized countries would stop attempting to fight the ground forces in their own countries, instead choosing to fight wars of attrition and terrorism against the heart of the empire. This would form a type of protracted people’s war which no longer took place on the soil of the enemies, but upon that of the United States, with increased burdens placed upon the security forces of the imperialist heartland. What would this mean? It would mean that mass-shootings, bombings, and other guerrilla tactics would take precedence over the attacks on the troops on the ground overseas. The heart of empire will become the battleground of the future, and this will lead to increased fascistic attempts to prevent the protracted warfare on Amerikan soil.
This will lead to increased alienation between social groups and the government, which would necessarily become more repressive. The increased security forces will lead to more forceful occupations within the United States of the internally colonized communities, increased political surveillance, and further attempts to suppress dissent.
Over time, the Amerikan Empire would become the equivalent of Nazi Germany, with internal colonies forced further into the margins of social structures. The United States would perpetually be “rallying around the flag,” as increased efforts by foreign adversaries to end the war would escalate the conflict. The forever wars would truly become forever wars, where the oppressors rally their forces around their wounded pride, and oppressed minorities would attempt to mitigate their oppression by buying into the same process of nationalism which occurred after the 2001 terrorist attacks. In the United States, historically oppressed minorities have often bought into the nationalist visions of the oppressor classes, at times with the active interference of the oppressor classes to eradicate dissent. In the homosexual community, this was referred to as homonationalism, a process most prominent during the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, which has led the queer community to demonize Islam itself and participate in the same racialized imperialism as their prior oppressors.
These processes will exacerbate with the future of warfare. As there are fewer troops on the ground, people will pay less attention to war; adversaries will be forced to target the United States homeland, and this will lead to increased nationalism, right extremism, and colonialism at the heart of the Amerikan Empire. While this is occurring, the government will start programming AI to target and eradicate threats overseas, removing even the human element in acquisition of threats and threat assessment. This will further displace the burden of war onto the countries that are bombed, and then ultimately, onto the whole of Amerikan society, as I have described. The future of wars such as Afghanistan will be increased terrorism, increased violence in the Heart of Empire, and eventually social collapse within the imperialist country. Sharpening contradictions will exacerbate the already violent politics of the United States, and fragmentation of the political center will lead, in all likelihood, to the increased power of fascists and imperialists, unless the left can arise to this future challenge.