Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why We Fight

I just watched an interesting documentary entitled, "Why We Fight." The documentary traces the radical transformation between Eisenhower's warning about the "Military Industrial Complex"and the Bush era doctrine (actually developed in a think-tank that contained Chaney and Rumsfeld) of premptive strikes and a "We are the new Rome" American Empire.
First, we need to read Eisenhower's warning from his farewell speech regarding the Military Industrial Complex.

"A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
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."

You can read the entire speech here,
In looking ahead to every succeeding President, Eisenhower warned, "God help our nation when someone becomes President who knows less about the military than I do." What he was saying is that there are forces more powerful than a Presidentthat, for their own financial preservation and even growth are constantly pressuringthe Federal Government to spend way more than necessary on the military budget and to even beginunnecessary wars.

Though he followed with other Presidents in using Christian rhetoric to describe the US's mission(a serious blasphemy that ought to offend every Christian who understands the role of the Christ's church)while himself not seeming to have much of a practiced faith, Eisenhower seemed to understand the moral need to avoid wars at all costs. It was likely his first-hand experience of the terrors of war that caused him to object to Truman's dropping of The Bomb and Kennedy's eventual engagement in Vietnam. But decades later, as we've invaded a country that never did us any harm to take about a leader that we put in place to fight Iran (Iraq) and while we're still in a nation that had a group of radicals kill almost 3,000 Americans and has itself suffered over 100,000civilian deaths (Afghanistan), Eisenhower's words are very timely.

Another great quote comes from Charles Johson, who was in the CIA from 1967-1973, "Blowback. It's a CIA term. Blowback does not mean simply unintended consequences of foreign operations. It means the unintended consequences of foreign operations that were deliberately kept secret from the American people. So that when the retaliation comes, the American public's not able to put into context cause and effect together. So that they come up with questions like,'Why do they hate us?'"

The documentary makes the assumption then that since the American public is mostly ignorant of the assinations, government overthrows and other things that if done to us we'd call "terrorism,"that results in blowback like the 9/11 attacks, those 9/11 attacks provided a group of people deeply committed to the expansion of the American Empire the opportunity to implement plans that they had been laying since 1992.

Iraq and Afghanistan - to the few who actually lead this country, our nation fights wars that expand our empire and fatten a few bank accounts. Iraq and Afghanistan - to most Americans, even those who risk their lives in these illegal wars,the wars are actually fought for freedom and righteousness.

Dang, they're good.

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