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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
This is not a way of life at all in any true sense.
Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
The United States Military Industrial Complex has might. General and former President Eisenhower understood this. He warned Americans. Abundant might does not make right; it only advances the notion of righteousness. Patriotism is promoted through militarism. His words fell on deaf ears. The sound was hollow in contrast to the drone of drumbeats. At the time, Americans were as they are today; dedicated to the customs we think characterize democracy.
We see this in many a war and peace policy. Questions are asked of the government and the people. Testimony is taken. Think tanks assess Foreign Policy. Conclusions are drawn and decisions made. Still, in 2010, a few within the electorate wonder as General Eisenhower had.. With Al-Qaida Fading, Why Expand the Afghan War?
Nationalists take up arms in the name of the greater good. Compatriots will do anything to defend and protect the principles that guide the American way of life. Patriots wave the flag and pledge allegiance to this country. Loyalists are looked upon as heroes. Soldiers voluntarily sign up for service. Troops are sent to foreign shores. Combatants fight for what citizens know is correct. Few suspect that their tax dollars pay to fund allies who are what has been defined as enemies of democracy. Headlines herald; Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert. The business of endless battles goes on as usual.
Perchance, countless citizens surmise, only Presidents past and present, know the secrets that necessitate endless engagements. Confidential papers might provide clues to the American practice; today’s US-armed ally will be tomorrow’s enemy., A few question group-faith. Individuals inquire, why might this war or that be deemed “absolutely essential.” Most are satisfied with each Administrations answers. Indeed, Americans accept as General Eisenhower espoused. Money moves us to war.
Millions more are spent by and on mercenaries. Billions are paid to private industries that produce weaponry. Worldwide, economies whirl on with thanks to the war machine. Whistleblowers are silenced. When documents are leaked, the persons who snitched are sought out. Presumably, dissent will be punished by the law. Prosperity and profits, people’s livelihoods are dependent on the illusion the Military Industrial Complex has created.
So, strike up the band. March on and march forward. Follow in lockstep, or follow the leaders history has left behind. Ponder a time, when the marketplace will not dictate doctrines and military deeds, a democratic system not defined by deliverance, liberation, or occupations. Think to pursue a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and provide for the common defense. Henceforth, let us promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Endless engagements need not be recognized as ideal.
So please. Pursue peace. Promote peaceful negotiations. Develop the power of diplomacy. Move On. Progress. Speak out as President Eisenhower did! Do not allow your voice to be muffled!! En masse, the people can be the absolute power!
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war, a few people make huge fortunes.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.
~ by Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC Retired
References for a Military Industrial Complex reality . . .
- Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert, By Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt, and Andrew Lehren. The New York Times. July 25, 2010
- Foreign Policy Research Institute.
- With Al-Qaida Fading, Why Expand the Afghan War? By William Pfaff. TruthDig! October 16, 2009
- Afghan war remains ‘absolutely essential,’ Obama says. March 28, 2010
- Obama to Bring More Mercenaries to Afghanistan — Sound Familiar? By Jim Hightower. AlterNet. March 28, 2009
- Will Today’s’ US-Armed Ally Be Tomorrow’s Enemy?? By Tom Engelhardt. Mother Jones. October 19, 2009
- Wikileaks Data: The American Information Revolution Failed in Afghanistan. Talking Points Memo. August 6, 2o10
- Send a Fax. Demand an Exit Strategy. MoveOn.org 2010
- MoveOn: Obama Afghanistan Exit Strategy Needed. Huffington Post. June 25, 2009