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Empire of DefenseRace and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War$
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Joseph Darda

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226632896

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226633084.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021

How to Tell a Permanent War Story

How to Tell a Permanent War Story

Chapter:
(p.28) Chapter One How to Tell a Permanent War Story
Source:
Empire of Defense
Author(s):

Joseph Darda

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226633084.003.0002

This chapter returns to the Korean War to locate the genesis of the idea of defense. The architects of the war remade the American empire for an anticolonial age by designating its enemies illegitimate for ideological rather than racial reasons, reframing wars fought along the color line as antiracist defense. This story begins with the National Security Council, which, three years after its formation, in the spring of 1950, drafted National Security Council Report 68 and delivered it to President Harry Truman. The NSC struggled to resolve the internal tensions of imperial defense by dividing the world into human, deferred human, and nonhuman categories of being—reframing war as either the endless policing of illegitimate societies or the conversion of “friendlies” to the West’s liberal democratic values. Some writers, including radical journalist I. F. Stone and antiracist activist William Patterson, met the Cold War state on its own terms by drawing out the contradictions in official accounts of the Korean War, demonstrating how to tell a permanent war story through the contradictions and failures of the idea of defense.

Keywords:   Korean War, Cold War, national defense, NSC 68, Paul Nitze, I. F. Stone, William Patterson

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