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American Militarism and Blowback: The Costs of Letting the Pentagon Dominate Foreign Policy

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"Blowback" is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of covert operations against foreign nations and governments. The suicidal attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were instances of blowback from American clandestine operations in Afghanistan. They have greatly accelerated tendencies toward militarism in the United States, which is defined as the phenomenon in which a nation's armed services come to put their institutional preservation ahead of effectiveness in achieving national security or a commitment to the integrity of the governmental structure of which they are a part.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2002

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