“Rebuilding America’s Defenses”- a Response

I’m curious—where did the funding for PNAC come from? This non-profit, educational organization strikes me as born of conservative values seeking to reinscribe American exceptionalism. I found it difficult to digest PNAC’s jingoistic tone. Erroneous statements such as—“it [the U.S.] faces no immediate great-power challenge…and its political and economic principles are almost universally embraced” (iv); “today the task is to preserve an international security environment conducive to American interests and ideals” (2); “[we need] a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad” (preamble)—not only conflict with international realities but downright make me uncomfortable. The report reads like a propaganda piece. Moving beyond my affective response to more critical points…

1) I very briefly researched PNAC and discovered that of the 25 members, 10 went on to serve in former President George W. Bush’s administration. Not surprising as the report could have (or perhaps actually did) serve as an outline for Bush’s foreign and defense policies. Which brings me to my next point…

2) This report pre-dates 9/11/2001; however, the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 eerily satisfied PNAC’s four essential missions on p.6: homeland defense, large wars, constabulary duties (increased military and non-military surveillance bracketed under the “war on terror”), and advanced military technologies (for instance, drones have become so commonplace post-9/11 that they’re influencing cultural and artistic expressions in Pakistan—http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/in-pakistan-drones-have-made-their-way-into-love-poems-20140512).

3) Finally, I couldn’t get Foucault’s panopticon (footnote to Bentham, of course) out of my head with all the demand for increased surveillance and centralized power becoming decentralized (yet still framed in strictly U.S. terms) as it permeates living bodies, the environment, the internet, and whatever else is left to cannibalize—“the hegemonic gaze is alert and everywhere.”

All said, I found the contents of this report disturbing.

– Christina S.

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