Not so long ago in the salad days of our empire, it was the all-powerful combination of our economy and military that made the rest of the world buy or die.
It’s sheer coincidence that we mark the demise of both this week. On March 18th a year ago, the debt rattles of our financial system emanating from Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers became scary enough for the Fed to assign Wall Street to a ward halfway between intensive care and hospice.
Today, March 19 is the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, which pitted the world’s most powerful military against what our leaders dismissed as a “very small minority of dead-enders and losers.” The inability of our best units to overcome this force after four years obliged the Bush administration to pay cash tributes to the “losers” for not attacking American troops. Meanwhile, our military was thoroughly privatized and transformed from a combat focus to a profit center.
So we are left in a condition on this March week of 2009 of having an economy that no longer impresses and a military less and less able to oppress.
Zombie is the word that’s come into style recently to describe our failed institutions. That’s because even though they look and smell like corpses, they still move among us doing the zombie version of their former live acts.
How other than zombie-ish can you describe Obama’s extension of our war on Afghanistan, a country renowned as the graveyard of empires? Or the administration’s increasingly ridiculous and self-destructive efforts to hide the enormity of Wall Street's arrearages and breath life into Citi morgue and Merrill lynched? It’s only been two months for our new prexy and it already looks like the honeymoon is over and the zombie jamboree is getting underway.