Sunday, December 12, 2010

Iron Man - Jon Favreau

“Weapons that will help the world stir back on course, put the balance of power in our hands. The right hands.”

Released in 2008, Iron Man is a critique to the Bush 43 presidency. Obadiah Stane portrays Dubya, corporate America, and the neo-cons, who try to control the World through war and destruction. Tony Stark represents the enlightened elite that pledges for disarmament. The message of the movie is the following: voluntarily or not, the United States ends up providing its enemies with weapons.  Therefore, disarmament will be the only effective national security strategy.

Like all the critiques to war and the military in the United States, Iron Man simply reflects that Americans do not discuss the issue of warlike adults. Let’s face it: Americans really do not care that much about war. They talk about it and all that, especially in elections, but war is rarely a determinant issue.

Americans used to care about war when there was a draft and ordinary citizens were forced to think twice about going abroad with a gun. The reason why the resistance to Vietnam was such a big deal (in comparison to say, Iraq) is because middle classes were facing the real possibility to die horribly far away from home. Just look at who is fighting the US wars today: foreigners looking for a fast track green card, the poor looking for a career, and “private security contractors” (i.e., mercenaries).

Throughout History, there has been only one case of a Republic that turned itself into an Empire: Rome. The decay of the Republic and the establishment of the Empire was a long process, but some historians agree on when the transition started: when the army was open to foreigners looking to become Roman citizens, plebeians looking to live like the patricians, and mercenaries. Shortly, when the elites forgot about their responsibilities to the polis and decided to have all the benefits of going to war without bearing the costs…

And by the way, Iron Man is an OK movie. You can read the plot in Wikipedia.

For more on the need to reinstitute the draft in the US, you can read Tom Ricks’ blog, who posts on this regularly.

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