Vietnam, was a full-blown war. The U.S. Government under Johnson and Nixon, insisted upon calling it a “police action,” because they didn’t want the American people to know just how nasty it really was. So, they turned the war into a metaphor for an athletic event and lied about the daily “body count,” using what some believed were inflated body count numbers of Vietnamese dead to keep score while thousands of American kids were coming home in body bags. It was all supposed to be okay, because the body count was weighted in our favor. So we were winning the game. Or at least that’s what they said.
Afghanistan and Iraq were (or are, in the case of Afghanistan) police actions, but the nation’s hawks insist upon calling them wars because they want the American people to fear the consequences of our military not being there. War, is far more serious than a police action, right? Oh sure, there were wars in both countries when the U.S. initially attacked, but they were over and done with in a matter of weeks. After that, our military and the thousands of “private contractors” supporting the “war effort,” were engaged in ongoing police actions. Something our military was never trained to do.
And now we are out of Iraq, where we went to war even though Saddam Hussein had done nothing to us and was in fact, opposed to Al Qaeda. Saddam, was our ally against Al Qaeda. Instead of offering our support, we blew his country to pieces and sent him to the gallows. It should be an issue.
We have been promised we will be out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. And yet, the United States Senate has passed a $630 billion Pentagon budget as we continue to spend more on our military than the next dozen largest developed nations combined. Why? Will we really withdraw from Afghanistan, or will we leave bases there? A permanent military presence? Why the continued heavy duty military funding?
Remind me again where the war is? It’s not in Iraq, right? We’re pulling out of Afghanistan, where we will presumably turn over all control to our puppet leader Hamid Karzai, who feels compelled to bad-mouth the United States at every turn. So we won’t need all those billions of dollars for that, will we?
It’s true that we nearly tripped over ourselves and let the hawks take us into another quagmirian mess in Syria. Only a verbal misstep by Joe Biden, saved us from that. Officials in Iran, appear determined to pull their nation back from the brink of war with the United States, while certain factions in the U.S. appear determined to go to war with Iran, irrespective of improved prospects for peace.
So remind me again, who are we fighting? The war on terror? That never was a conventional war, or it never should have been. It was and is, an international criminal conspiracy. Fighting it in a conventional fashion was Dubya Bush’s first monster mistake. Letting Osama escape when we had him trapped in Tora Bora, was his second. Lying to the nation to take us into Iraq to get at the Iraqi oil fields was his third. He didn’t stop there, but my purpose is not to document what may have been the most disingenuous presidential administration in the nation’s history. Some have offered the theory that he needed a war, any war, to escape being a one-term president. I’d rather not go there. It’s just too terrible to contemplate. Like thinking FDR knew the attack on Pearl Harbor was coming, but took no action. That he just sat there reading “My Pet Goat.”
There are though other conclusions to draw, and not without good reason. It’s taken some time, but if you believe the polls, it appears the American people are beginning to figure it out.
In a baseline sense, this has all been about big oil and the other various business interests that make up the military industrial complex. They all need an ongoing state of war to keep their profits coming in. They needed an enemy to fight, one that would put the fear of God into the American people. Someone so evil (an “axis of evil” would be good) that the President would be able to convince the populace to freely surrender their constitutionally guaranteed liberties for the unconstitutional dictates of the Patriot Act. Something so scary (anthrax in the mail?) that we the people would do nothing when we learned that our government had turned truly Orwellian, and was collecting our emails and telephone records without any need for court orders for specific documents. A guarantee that we would freely surrender our liberty in return for their assurances that it was all necessary for our protection as we cowered in our homes, armed with sheets of plastic and gaffer’s tape to seal our doors and windows should a mushroom cloud appear above the city. As we were told it might. Smallpox, anthrax, dirty bombs and sarin gas were all potentially on the way. We had been told it could happen to any of us at any moment and nothing was standing between our safety and the horrors of dying a terrible death but the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
The following quote from former Nazi Party official and Luftwaffe Commander, Herman Goering, may be relevant:
“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
The Goering quote was widely circulated among journalists in the mainstream media during the buildup to the Iraq War. I know it was, because I was there. To the best of my knowledge, the journalism community kept it pretty much to themselves because the concept of American leaders following in the theoretical footsteps of a high-ranking Nazi, was just too hot to handle. Too unpatriotic.
Later, when Edward Snowden had the courage to step forward and blow the whistle on how out of control our government had become, he would be forced to seek refuge in Russia.
I don’t know who killed JFK, or why. It is though, commonly known that he was at odds with the American military establishment over the way he handled Cuba. Some, wanted Castro out of Cuba at any cost and thought a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union would have been preferable to peace - that our losses, potentially tens of thousands of Americans, or more, would be acceptable. Kennedy disagreed. He opted for an uneasy peace. He was also exploring the feasibility of a total U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, just prior to his assassination. Since then, with the exceptions of the Carter and Clinton Administrations, we have been involved in almost endless warfare.
When it would have been too politically dicey to send in the troops, the government pumped in cash to support one rebel army or another. When the Congress, which has the sole responsibility for declaring war, was in opposition to the funding, a shadow government was established and the money kept flowing with the apparent purpose of “protecting American interests” abroad. What interests? Surely you remember the words of former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, when he said, “..the Iraq War, is largely about oil?”
Over the years the war’s location might have changed, but one has the uneasy feeling that our “interests” remain the same.
Fears about the spread of Communism took the United States into Vietnam. Beyond that, you’re kidding yourself if you think the wants and needs of American business interests provided no incentive to continue a war we could not win.
Edward Snowden, threatens not the United States, but the facade of what we have become.
We now are the military industrial complex former President Eisenhower warned us about so many years ago. Our leaders need an ongoing threat, an ongoing state of war, to keep the giant war machine running. And the U.S. Senate has just passed a $630 billion budget for the Pentagon? Why do our leaders insist upon funding a wartime economy, even when there is no actual war?
By one account, the U.S. military is stationed (”deployed” as our militarized society likes to say) in more than 150 countries, including Germany and Australia. Why are we there? Is it because that for a relative few, ongoing war is a practical and simple way of extracting tax dollars from the American people? Is it just that simple?
I never thought it would come to this in my lifetime. I never thought my country could be in such denial about who and what we’ve become. And why.
Eisenhower knew. He saw it coming. Here is some of what he said in 1961. It needs to be re-printed and repeated, until Americans awaken from their slumber.
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”
- Five star general, Supreme Commander of the forces in Europe and former United States President, Dwight D. Eisenhower