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War Politics: Numb and Number

Normon Solomon @ Common Dreams - Playwright Lillian Hellman said: "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."

The statement was in a letter to the House Un-American Activities Committee. The year was 1952. We tell ourselves that the McCarthy era was vastly different than our own -- but what about the political fashions of 2010?

This year's fashions cut mean figures on Washington's runways. Conformities lie, and people die.

While the escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps setting deadly blazes, the few anti-war voices on Capitol Hill usually sound like people whispering "Fire!"

In 2010, this is what the warfare state looks like: a largely numbed state, mainlining anesthetics that induce routine torpor. In that context, the conformity of mild dissent is apt to be mistaken for outspoken moral acuity.

On the back of an envelope, or anywhere else, check this math:

$1,000,000 x 100,000 = $100,000,000,000

In round flat numbers, that's the cost of deploying 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for one year -- $100 billion. The initial "cost" includes none of the human consequences. Read more.

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