CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnR o s s PEROT has thrown his hat intornthe ring, or at least halfway into the ring,rnsince the billionaire has only promised tornuse his wealth and fundraising abilities tornstart a party which may or may not putrnhim at the head of the ticket. The weekrnbefore, another billionaire, Steve Forbes,rnannounced that he would spend $25rnmillion of his own fortune to make himselfrnPresident over the heads of millionairernpolitician Robert Dole and millionairernS&L in’estor Bill Clinton. Waitingrnin the wings is millionaire author andrnformer soldier Colin Powell, who withrnthe slightest effort could milk a wholernherd of contented fat-cow contributors.rnMoney talks and Phil Gramm knowsrnwhat walks: in announcing his candidacy.rnSenator Gramm boasted of hisrnbulging bank roll as his single greatestrnasset, and both Bob Dole and LamarrnAlexander have seen his bet and raised.rnThe voters who did not turn out to supportrnJerry Brown must have thought hernwas kidding when he declared that ourrndemocratic elections are for sale to thernhighest bidder. Poor Governor Brownrnwas virtually booed by the press when hernmerely hinted that Bill and Hillary Clintonrnhad some strange dealings withrnWhitewater Savings and Loan.rnWhat does it mean for America,rnwhen only billionaires or people who sellrnthemselves to billionaires can run forrnhigh public office? History gives us thernanswer. In 193 A.D., the death of the emperorrnPertinax incited a bidding warrnamong rich Romans eager to buy thernsupport of the Praetorian Guard whosernswords could make and unmake emperors.rnThe high bidder was Didius Julianus,rnwho stayed in power for onlyrntwo months until he was murderedrnby his successor, a very tough soldierrnwho turned the empire into a militaryrndictatorship.rnPower is for sale in America; we allrnknow it, but it will not be too long beforernsome people—generals or business tycoonsrnor gang lords—will get sick of therncharade and get down to the seriousrnbusiness of ruling by decree.rn—Thomas FlemingrnABC NEWS recently broadcast contradictoryrnstories about the Balkans War.rnThe hrst story highlighted a press conferencernwhere NATO personnel deniedrnthat Americans were engaged in warfarernand that any Serb civilians had beenrnkilled during the thousands of roundthe-rnclock sorties conducted by NATOrnforces. Reporting this “news” without arnhint of skepticism, Peter Jennings thenrnsegued into a story about the bravernAmerican pilots flying these missionsrnfrom their base in Aviano, Italy, showingrnhome-based warriors breakfasting withrntheir families in the morning, going offrnto war in the afternoon, and returningrnhome in time to tuck their children in atrnnight. How Americans can go off to warrnwhen they are not engaged in war, ABCrnNews never explained.rnThe soldier’s life has radicallyrnchanged since the days of Antietam,rnYpres, and Okinawa. When the worldrnpowers wage war today, it’s a sanitizedrnbusiness, which can annihilate an enemyrnwhile dirtying neither the nails nor thernconsciences of the warriors, who sufferrnno deprivations, run few risks, and witnessrnnone of death and destruction theyrninflict; let the poor of the Third Woddrnbloody their hands with physical combat.rnFor our part, we have the luxury ofrndropping bombs from high altitudes,rnlaunching cruise missiles from distantrnwaters, and blasting tonnage from tanksrnstationed miles from their targets. Andrnas long as cumbersome ground forces arernnever introduced, which only confoundrnthe situation from the military’s pointrnof view by breeding controversies overrnbody counts and quagmires and lightsrnat the end of tunnels, all such actionsrncan be justified as measures “short ofrnwar.”rnThat this high-tech, low-risk approachrnto warfare succeeds was proved in America’srnAgincourt-like victories over Iraq.rnBut its military benefit goes beyond thernmere tactical: by detaching soldiers fromrnthe devastation they wreak, the militaryrncan better prevent them from associatingrncause with effect, from experiencing anyrnsense of guilt or responsibility for theirrnactions that could hinder their blindrndevotion to the task at hand. Moreover,rnby keeping its distance from the actualrnbattlefield, the military can relv onrn”plausible denial” if ever questionedrnabout “killing fields” or “collateral damage.”rnLike the tree that doesn’t exist becausernno one can sec it or hear its fall, sorntoo with the cries of the wounded andrnmaimed.rnBut in the Balkans War, America hasrntaken New Age warfare to a novel level,rnbeyond anything even witnessed in thernPersian Gulf War. Though armed withrnthe same high-tech weaponry now in usernagainst Bosnian Serbs, soldiers of DesertrnStorm were nevertheless uprooted fromrntheir homes and families and friends;rnthey were still susceptible to the boredomrnand psychological dislocations historicallyrnassociated with war and whichrncan over time erode a soldier’s confidencernin his country’s war aims. ThernAmerican pilots in Aviano, however, neverrnhave to sever these critical ties thatrnbind; they go off to war in much thernsame fashion as a machinist would leavernhome for the factory. They kiss the wiferngood-bye, drive the kids to school, bombrnpeople in the afternoon, and returnrnhome in time for dinner with the family.rnABC’s message was clear: though busyrnwith round-the-clock airstrikes, America’srnmilitary hasn’t forgotten the importancernof “family values.” As the childrenrnof one pilot replied when asked what itrnwas like to have daddy go daily off to war,rn”It’s really not bad.”rnFive, 50, or even 100 years from now,rnthe Serbs will still hate the Groats, thernMuslims still despise the Christians,rnand the Balkans will remain the powderrnkeg it has always been; no number ofrnNATO bombings will alter this reality.rnOf greater consequence will be America’srnperfection of modern warfare, for byrndepersonalizing war while at the samerntime personalizing life for the warrior,rnthe country has mastered what empiresrnthroughout history have always sought:rnthe most efficient and effective mannerrnof using the empire’s forces abroad.rnIngenuity of this sort is quintessentiallyrnAmerican. It is the logical outgrowthrnof our obsession with scientific managementrnand the managerial state, andrnwhether the pilots of Aviano realize it orrnnot, they are mere tools in a long searchrnfor the maximum efficiency of man andrnmachine. Call it a mission of mercy orrnrank gunboat diplomacy, but Taylorismrnis alive and flying sorties at the front.rn—Theodore PappasrnHIGH COUNTRY NEWS, the environmentalistrnnewspaper founded byrnTom Bell, a former rancher, in Lander,rnWyoming, in 1970 turned 25 this year.rnDECEMBER 1995/5rnrnrn