[This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.”]
We keep hearing that Iraq is not Vietnam. And surely any competent geographer would agree. But the United States is the United States — still a country run by leaders who brandish, celebrate and use the massive violent capabilities of the Pentagon as a matter of course.
Almost fifty years ago, during the same autumn JFK won the presidency, John Hersey came out with “The Child Buyer,” a novel written in the form of a hearing before a state senate committee. “Excuse me, Mrs., but I wonder if you know what’s at stake in this situation,” a senator says to the mother of a ten-year-old genius being sought for purchase by the United Lymphomilloid corporation. “You realize the national defense is involved here.”
“This is my boy,” the mom replies. “This is my beautiful boy they want to take away from me.”
A vice president of United Lymphomilloid, “in charge of materials procurement,” testifies that “my duties have an extremely high national-defense rating.” He adds: “When a commodity that you need falls in short supply, you have to get out and hustle. I buy brains. About eighteen months ago my company, United Lymphomilloid of America, Incorporated, was faced with an extremely difficult problem, a project, a long-range government contract, fifty years, highly specialized and top secret, and we needed some of the best minds in the country…”
Soon, most of the lawmakers on the committee are impressed with the importance of the proposed purchase for the nation. So there’s some consternation when the child buyer reports that he finally laid his proposition “squarely on the table” — and the boy’s answer was no...
Read the full excerpt.