Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why We Fight

I spent a bulk of the past week with some very mis-guided people who think that Michigan’s economic future lies in military defense spending. When I step back and look at these people, I see typical day-to-day Americans who are so engulfed in the American militaristic culture that they have mostly stopped questioning the dangerous, violent, and ugly road we have traveled as a nation for the last 60 years. Historians will ponder why America – a supposedly Christian nation – chose and accepted militarism as its way of life.

In most third- world countries, the military takeover happens in a public coup d’etat. Here in the United States, our coup d’etat was a deliberately slow process moved along by the military-industrial complex, our corporate oligarchy, an accommodating Congress, and a citizenry with eyes wide shut. Our third-world status has only recently followed the de-industrialization and de-capitalization of the country, leaving us dependent upon militarism to keep our economy afloat. For those of us at the wrong end of this one-sided deal, we either work for defense industry directly or indirectly, and for our children it is becoming the only option if they want health care, housing, and college money.

Nobody seems to notice that the military establishment is beginning to freely and blatantly exert its control over us through the use of blackmail. In early December 2007, the Washington Post reported on one example when the Pentagon threatened to layoff 200,000 workers if the Iraq occupation was not fully funded by Congress. Of course, our increasingly-irrelevant Congress always capitulates under these threats. Apparently, what’s good for the Department of Defense, is good for America.

If you have not viewed it already, I highly recommend the documentary “Why We Fight,” which provides an excellent overview of America’s cultural of militarism, starting with President Eisenhower’s warning and prediction that an unchecked military-industrial complex would be a threat to our liberty. A video of Eisenhower's warning is provided below.

Interestingly, NPR’s Guy Raz reported on “What Drives Record Spending on Defense?” on February 4, 2008, on Morning Edition. Raz’s report – nearly 8 minutes long – provides some subtext to the same topic of “Why We Fight.” I don’t know how NPR’s censors let that report slide by, but I recommend that you take full advantage and listen to this excellent news report. For the NPR report click here.

There are no more excuses for us, as Americans, in not knowing or recognizing our reliance on militarism and militaristic tendencies for jobs, oil, profits (for a limited few) and a false sense of security. Plus, with threats to our liberties from our own government and military, who needs terrorists? Whatever you do, however, don't look for the coup d'etat in our streets. It has already happened.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

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