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War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.
— General William Tecumseh Sherman

Fall 2011   Making War, Making Peace

Public Lecture - American War Machine: Deep Politics and the Road to Extended Wars

Peter Dale ScottPeter Dale Scott, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

When: Thursday, September 15 @ 7:15-8:45 pm
Where: Jordan Hall 124

Departmental Sponsors:
College of Arts and Sciences, American Studies Program





Since well before 2001 I have argued that American politics have been given a militaristic direction by the recurring intrusion of what I call “deep events:” interconnected events which remain mysterious, because of the evident gap between what is known to researchers into them and the restricted accounts of them presented in the mainstream U.S. media. Two conspicuous deep events – the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11 – were each soon followed by the two longest wars in U.S. history; and Watergate was also followed by the huge and unexpected defense budget increases soon after the final end of the Vietnam War.

This deep political substrate to American politics has contributed to the continuous evolution since World War Two of the American War Machine now steering America’s drive towards global dominance. Crucial to this evolution was the little-noticed development of an American rollback strategy in Southeast Asia. Here and elsewhere America used drug-financed proxy armies, first in Burma, Thailand, and Laos, later in Nicaragua, and now again (as in the 1980s) in Afghanistan. The global drug traffic developed in part through its importance for this strategy, first in the Golden Triangle and now today in the Golden Crescent. American militarism and drug-financed terrorism like al Qaeda’s are alike dependent on the global drug traffic.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His diplomatic service from 1957 to 1961 included two years of work at UN conferences and the UN General Assembly, and two years in Poland.

His political books have focused on war, covert operations, the politics of crime, and the international drug traffic. Recent titles include The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008), and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (2010).

He is also a poet, and in 2002 received the Lannan Poetry Award.  His poetry volumes include Mosaic Orpheus (2009), Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror (1989), Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse (1992), Crossing Borders: Selected Shorter Poems (1994), and Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000 (October 2000).  The former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass has written (Agni, 31/32, p. 335) that "Coming to Jakarta is the most important political poem to appear in the English language in a very long time."

Background reading: 
Scott PD. 2007. Preface: The America We Knew and Loved: Can It Be Saved? pp. xi-xvii In: The
Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scott PD. 2007. Introduction: Wealth, Empire, Cabals and the Public State. pp. 1-25 In: The Road to
9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America
. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scott PD. 2010. "Is the State of Emergency Superseding the US Constitution? Continuity of
Government Planning, War and American Society,"
The Asia-Pacific Journal 48-1-10.

Scott PD. 2011. The Doomsday Project, Deep Events, and the Shrinking of American Democracy, The Asia-Pacific Journal 9-4-3.