Friday, July 07, 2006

Valiant Shield

NPR produced a piece on the build-up of US military might in the Pacific that might as well have come from the Pentagon. The piece--highlighting a massive US war game, "Operation Valiant Shield"-- is completely uncritical; we hear about the growing dangers of China (from Rumsfeld!), North Korea, and "terrorist" threats in the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Malacca Straits. The thrust of the story is that the US must project its military might as a counterweight to China and that the US military buildup and presence there makes us (and the world) safe. Significant is any lack of information on the cost of such a buildup, the effect it might have on human rights in places like the Philippines, or the possibility that it may actually increase the arms race in the area. Is it really impossible for NPR to find a scholar who questions the assumption that the US has the right to dominate every corner of the globe? Is it so hard to find someone who can counter the premises for militarism given by the Pentagon? Is NPR unable to find even one "expert" citizen from one of the countries of the Asia/Pacific area who might critique the military (dare one say imperial) ambitions of the US in this region--or even some US critics? In reality even the most cursory bit of research would have turned up some possibilities such as the signatories at the bottom of the Statement of the Asia-Pacific People's Forum on Sustainable Development (Nov. 25-26, 2001 in Phnom Penh) or some folks from the American Friends Service Committee.

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