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the role of history

Posted By: Scott Metzger on September 17, 2004
Giroux's critique of market neoliberalism actually ressonates with some conservatives. It is a shame this book decided to take such a polemical tone, because it could have been an interesting outreach across the ideological poles, opening a dialogue between radical progressives and classical conservatives who both share a distate of the market turn, especially in education.

Based on this review, I find it disappointing that the book chooses to make inflated or alarmist claims. If the "militarization" of society is such a fundamental threat to democracy, why didn't the American republic fall apart in 1945 when 15 million people (some 10% of the population) were mobilized? If society today has been so militarized and mobilized for war, how come the U.S. is stretched so thin because of just one war in Iraq? In 1946 the U.S. occupied Germany, Japan, and a host of other territories after having lost 250,000 killed in combat fighting over the previous 5 years. The U.S. today has lost around 1,000 killed while occupying a much smaller region, yet complaints of the U.S. being overburdened and the effacacy of the military being undermined are widespread. This strikes me as the depiction of a far less militarized society than one increasingly militarized. Returning to education, I don't see schools funneling future troops to the armed forces anywhere near the extent to which this has been performed in the past.

Nor does the book's thesis, as presented in this review, provided a workable alternative to the Bush administration's unilateral-militaristic interventionism. The "war on terror" may be a political smoke-screen, but what is the alternative besides, to varying degrees, ignoring terrorist attacks? The authors of this book are deluding themselves if they think that only the U.S. public would have backed militarized aggression in response to terrorism--as we are currently seeing in Russia in the aftermath of the elementary school attack. Those would might counter that Russian and American aggression is a knee-jerk response, that both countries should have entered into multilateral discussions with the UN to adopt a global response, might do well to consider the case of Darfour in Sudan. If that is an example of how the UN provides security, the American public can hardly be faulted for favoring Bush's pre-emptive strategy.
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 the role of history by Scott Metzger on September 17, 2004
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