President John F. Kennedy had new ideas. If we had think tanks for war, why not try a think tank for peace? A fifteen-member commission began meeting at Iron Mountain, New York, near the town of Hudson, New York. The controversial movie “JFK” depicts the Kennedy administration moving away from involvement in Vietnam. Then, President Kennedy was murdered, and the new president, Lyndon Johnson (image above), assured top Pentagon brass, “Gentlemen, you shall have your war.” (Background: “Report From Iron Mountain”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of July 25, 2013)
The report by the Iron Mountain commission was secretly printed in 1966. One of the commission members, “John Doe” (pseudonym), had misgivings about keeping the report secret from the American people. Dial Press published, as non-fiction, “Report From Iron Mountain” (1967) when “John Doe” did an Edward Snowden and leaked the report. President Johnson had a fit of rage over the report being published. “Suppress it!” he ordered. However the cat was already out of the bag, so to speak, so suppressing the report was not possible. Instead, “Report From Iron Mountain” was discredited when one Leonard C. Lewin “confessed” it had all been a joke.
So what were the findings of the Iron Mountain commission which so enraged Lyndon Johnson?
1.) The common misconception is that war is subordinate to the society it serves. This cliché has got it backwards. War itself is the social system and all else is subservient to IT. This is proven, for example, by how the military is exempted from social and legal standards of behavior we all else must follow. WE cannot legally torture people; IT can do so. WE cannot detain people indefinitely without trial; IT can do so. WE cannot break and enter into people’s homes; IT can do so.
2.) The “law” originated when one group made war on a different group. What would be the rules for how to treat a conquered people? The rules for dealing with a defeated enemy were eventually expanded to include all subjected populations – subjected by IT. And of course IT need not obey the “law”. (See number 1, above.)
3.) War is the main organizing force of society. Many under-recognized functions are served by war:
a) Forget Ben Bernanke and his pitiful “stimulus” measures. War is the big stimulator of national economies. Artificial fiscal tools like “Quantitative Easing” can only reflect an economy, not motivate it. In 1780, Luigi Galvani discovered that when two different metals (e.g., copper and zinc) are connected and then both touched at the same time to two different parts of a nerve of a frog leg, then the leg contracts. Bernanke and his “stimulus” is like vivifying the leg of a dead frog. Dr. Bernanke each month applies the stimulus. The frog’s leg economy twitches. “Ah hah!” says Bernanke. “There are signs of life in the economy!” But fiscal and monetary measures do not give life to the economy. Given the permanent war system we have, it is only war which can give life to the economy.
b) Without war, what is a “nation”? The nation only exists in the context of belligerence against other nations.
c) Inventories of war matériel build up. How to deal with these surpluses? Answer: War, which creates demand for the surplus materiel. War solves the problem of inventory.
d) Populations increase. The excess population itself becomes “war matériel.” On the one hand, the possibility of war causes the nation to maintain maximum possible population. On the other hand, the population must be periodically culled. So there is a paradox: excess population as “war matériel” becomes unsustainable and the population must be culled by war. Lemmings maintain an ecological balance by having some of their members jump off a cliff. Humankind does this in their own unique way, via wars.
e) War motivates development of science and technology. What is now the lawnmower began when Leonardo da Vinci invented a revolving scythe meant to mow down enemy armies. Improvements in amputation procedures are due to war.
f) War works as a social release, a sort of mass celebration.
Much more detail is provided in the book, “Report From Iron Mountain.” The point here is that it is naïve to think simply having protest marches and such will do anything much to change the “permanent war economy.” It needs to be recognized how war serves many functions besides just killing people. Replacements for these under-recognized functions of war must first be devised before war itself can be done away with. Unfortunately, the Iron Mountain commission could only guess at what might work as replacement for the many functions of war. The best the commission could come up with was an “extraterrestrial aliens” threat combined with massive expansion of the space program. Because of the outlandish nature of a “space aliens” threat it would be difficult to convince the public it was real. On the other hand, because space is infinite, there would be no limit to growth for the space program aspect. The ecological problem of population control seems to be being handled in the United States by massive promotion of gay and lesbian “lifestyles.” After all, gays and lesbians do not naturally breed!