Once upon a time, dystopian fiction was left to the novelists: Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick. And once upon a time, the futuristic dreams of the military were distinctly upbeat. They were of generals leading armies to victory, of air power causing the morale of enemy nations to collapse (with surrender on the menu), of admirals dominating the seven seas with a fleet beyond compare — 11 aircraft carriers included — that would awe the rest of the world.
That was then; this is now. These days you’re likely to hear the word “victory” in Washington about as often as “peace.” In fact, according to the Washington Post, the futuristic phrase of the moment at the Pentagon, the one regularly on the lips of “senior officers,” is the dystopian “infinite war.” In translation: almost 17 years after the administration of George W. Bush launched its Global War on Terror and American military conflicts began to spread across the Greater Middle East, Asia, and Africa, no end is in sight. Ever. And that’s not just a passing phrase in the Pentagon’s arsenal of words. As TomDispatch regular Nick Turse makes clear today, as early as 2016, the Pentagon’s fantasists were already producing dystopian scenarios of the first order, bloodcurdling tales of a forever-war-fighting future as an over-muscled replication of the present never-ending war on terror. They were already, that is, beginning to write their own Brave New World (of War), their own 2084, their own The Lieutenant’s Tale, their own Do Drones Dream of Electric Terrorists?; they were, in short, creating stunningly well-funded gravestones for the American (and global) future. But let Turse tell you the rest.