Five months have passed since Joe Biden, then merely the president-elect, announced his intended nomination of erstwhile Army General Lloyd Austin as the next Secretary of Defense—which, in the coy, euphemistic jargon of the American Empire, really means the Secretary of War. The mass media coverage of his planned appointment focused entirely on the supposedly historical element thereof, as Austin would be, and has since become, the first African-American to assume nominal control of the Pentagon; the implication being, as it was with many of Biden’s selections of staff, that categorical representation is virtuous. No prominent journalist, however, was interested in his political ideology, a subject on which there appeared to be no published information.
Our conclusion at Overwritten.org, stated in December of last year, was that this absolute absence of documentation was precisely the point: Biden selected Austin because the public knew nothing about his political positions, specifically his penchant for warfare. We didn’t have a concatenation of damning quotations in which Austin rationalized the Empire’s increasingly suicidal militaristic misadventures, so we hadn’t any evidence of his hawkish sensibilities—although his directorship of Raytheon was an awfully unsubtle indication. Today, however, we have that proof, for Austin has finally visited the State of Israel and declared, to no unexpected effect, the Empire’s “enduring and ironclad” loyalty to the Israeli government.
Let us clarify: this public disclosure was of no unexpected effect unto us, for we have recognized the elemental corruption of the Biden Administration since a time before its inception. Alas, there are still millions of people who believe in the possibility of influencing its members, of “moving” them “left”, whatever these terms are supposed to mean. We have long understood that Austin was a sedulous adherent to the doctrine of American imperialism because we knew that Biden would never have entrusted him with the powers possessed by the Secretary of Defense unless he had proven his fidelity thereto. Clearly, this had been Biden’s criterion in selecting Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, with the only difference being that Blinken’s penchant for imperialist carnage was well-documented—or, at least, publicly documented.
Fortunately for Austin, there is only the slimmest chance that the neoliberal apologists who saw in him a viable opponent to the imperialist autocracy have learned of his devotion to the Israeli state, or would even understand the trouble thereof. As we explained in our coverage of the manufactured scandal concerning Michael Che, the mass media teaches us unconditional, irrevocable faith in the moral authority of the Israeli government—and, by extension, the Israeli Defense Forces. Ergo, it is inherently likely, although it is not certain, that the neoliberal—who invariably maintains some confidence in the mass media—would believe it is righteous to defend Israel, too, and therefore would not find cause for concern in Austin’s proclaimed commitment to this cause.
We confess our own not entirely unpleasant surprise at having read of this subject in a mainstream publication. On Monday afternoon, NBC News reprinted a report by the Associated Press that not only quoted Austin’s declaration but also explained, in limited detail, the problem of maintaining an “ironclad” bond to the Israeli government while simultaneously discouraging an armed conflict with Iran—or so the Biden Administration purportedly intends. As a force of brutal bellicosity, the State of Israel could scarcely contend with the American Empire’s bloodstained record, though it proves its ambition on a daily basis, and is doing so today in its intensified antagonization of Iran. Clearly, the Biden Administration is encouraging and even participating in this provocation, but if it wishes to present the appearance of responsible dovishness, then it must reconcile its support for imperialism generally and its partnership with imperialist nations.
Such homogeneity of militaristic ideology reminds us of the neoliberals’ celebrations of diversity at the time of Austin’s unofficial nomination. Categorical representation is only the representation of surface, as is becoming increasingly obvious in this inchoate stage of the Biden Administration. Austin has described the personally transformative effect that racial violence had upon him in the 1990s, but evidently this experience failed to teach him the immorality of such—because if it had, then he would not support the Israeli military’s genocidal ambitions unto the Palestinians. Each of our most cynical expectations for the Biden Administration, presented in haste just a few months ago, is finding confirmation in the present year—and we can expect Secretary Austin to prove us right again before his term expires.