Monday, May 07, 2007

Have We Become Dependent on the Military-Industrial Complex?

With 737 military bases in over 130 countries, it's hard to argue that the United States has not become dependent on "The Military-Industrial Complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of in his farewell address to the nation, January 17, 1961.

The weapons industry survives only if the creation of local, regional, and global conflicts continues. Therefore, the United States, being the largest manufacturer and exporter of weapons in the world, has a huge stake in making sure there is always great demand for this industry's products.

From a very practical point of view, it only makes sense that the planning and plotting of present and future wars is ongoing. This may also answer the question why America consistently contributes toward the creation of dictatorships that prove afterwards to be so brutal, and why we augment the weaponry of both our ally and foe at the same time as we are currently doing in Iraq.

Chalmers Johnson, in a trilogy of books, tells us that history has shown there is no more unstable combination than that of a domestic democracy and a foreign empire. In his first book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, published the year before 9/11, he explained why we are hated around the world and why our long history of secret operations overseas would surely lead to retaliation at home.

In a follow up called The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic , Chalmers Johnson described a global network of military bases he says creates a modern version of colonialization.

Johnson's final book, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic demonstrates why he believes the maintenance of the American empire will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and lead to either military dictatorship or to its civilian equivalent.

In addition to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, other great leaders have warned us about the military-industrial complex:

"Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

- George Washington 1796.

"Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear."

-- General Douglas MacArthur
"As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

There is still time to take back our country on the principles of which it was founded if "We the People" start paying attention to the actions of those we elect to lead us with the same fervor we have when watching our favorite team play. With that kind of scrutiny, our government could never get away with the atrocities it is capable of creating.

"We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen, as long as we remain honest which will be as long as we can keep the attention of our people alive. If they once become inattentive to public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves."

Thomas Jefferson


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