Monday, May 31, 2010

Time to Move Away from the Perpetual War State

"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 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 cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953 address.

"The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. "- George Orwell

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises the germ of every other. As the parent of armies, war encourages debts and taxes, the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few”- James Madison

It is now more than ten years and counting since the Pentagon "misplaced" more than one trillion dollars of defense funding, as was then elaborated by former defense analyst, Chuck Spinnery. See also:

See also:

Given the exploding deficits of this country right now (with military spending consuming 17.1% of the national budget) , it's high time the U.S. cease pursuing ruinous policies of "Pax Americana" - in trying to force its will on other nations at the point of weapons of war. Even President Obama acknowledged as much in his first formal national security paper, in which he pointedly notes that the U.S. "will have to learn to live within its limits." He made specific mention of the fact that a situation of two wars (actually occupations) cannot be sustained much longer given the known spending parameters.

The hard fact right now is that each new dollar approved for Afghanistan, if not paid by U.S. taxes in a pay-go modus operandi, will have to come from Chinese bankers. Already, they own $896 billion in U.S. debt in the form of treasurys. How long can this insanity continue? Not much longer.

Either the U.S. must pull out of Afghanistan, acknowledging it can never accomplish what every other invading empire has failed to do in a territory (3 times the size of Iraq) of twenty distinct tribes, or it will spend itself into the same sovereign debt crisis as has Greece. And will likely have to go cap in hand to the IMF to have austerity measures imposed.

For reference, it is useful to take a historical perspective to ascertain how the current perpetual undeclared war state emerged. Few people in the country know, or are aware, but then few follow deep politics or the undercurrents of our hidden history very closely. It requires much hard research and diligence, and few are prepared to invest the time.

The key issue is to locate which special documents, or papers, conceived a role for the United States to endlessly meddle in the affairs of other nations - at enormous ongoing cost to its domestic fabric. If one looks back at the document track, one can pretty well discern that the incentive to meddle in other nations’ affairs – as part of U.S. foreign policy – probably commenced with The National Security Council (NSC) Directive ‘NSC 10/2’ on June 18, 1948. A key element therein warned that all activities to be conducted against “hostile” foreign states – on in support of “friendly” ones, were to be executed so that “no U.S. Government responsibility would be evident to any unauthorized persons.” The provision also had to be included that if such activities were discovered “the U.S. Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.”

The scope of activities enumerated under the directive included: “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action – including sabotage; subversion against hostile states including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerillas and refugee liberation groups and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”

Ratcheting up the effect, and consolidating the impetus to Empire building was the document NSC-68, prepared by Paul Nitze of the National Security Council – completed by 1950. The document essentially contained the blueprint for unending strife and undeclared wars, all of which would be invoked on the basis of a zero tolerance threshold for foreigners’ misbehavior. The putative basis? To enable U.S. agitation, overthrow (or assassination) of democratically-elected leaders, and large and small occupations (ranging from the few thousand troops in the Dominican Republic in 1965, to more than 200,000 in Iraq by 2006.)

The motivating force of the document was clear in this regard:

“a defeat of free institutions anywhere is a defeat everywhere”

In other words, any place for which the U.S. even remotely construes a “defeat of free institutions” gives it license to intervene at will. This critical aspect is described thusly by Morris Berman[1]:

Nitze emphasized the importance of perception, arguing that how we were seen was as crucial as how militarily secure we actually were. This rapidly expanded the number of interests deemed relevant to national security”.

In other words, it provided the formula for unending war, and the building of Empire. Gore Vidal pinpoints the emergence of the American Empire when he notes[2]:

“Since 1950 the United States has fought perhaps a hundred overt and covert wars. None was declared by the nominal representatives of the American people in Congress…they had meekly turned over to the executive their principal great power to wage war. That was the end of that Constitution”.

The key point to note here is not only did the U.S. invoke a specious doctrine[3] to entitle it to engage in warfare wherever it deemed the “need” (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) but also to take out democratically elected leaders where and when they threatened U.S. corporate interests, such as Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran (1953)- threatened U.S. Oil interests, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1954)- threatened United Fruit Corp. by giving land to farmers, and Salvador Allende in Chile (1972)- strategic interests threatened.

Even when specious doctrines weren't invoked, lies and deceptions often were in order to involve the U.S. in massive troop deployments and years of ruinous (to lives and treasure) military intrusions. For example, LBJ employed the ruse of the North Vietnamese firing on the Maddox and Turner Joy in international waters in August, 1964 as the basis to ramp up the Vietnam War. Similarly, Bush and Cheney employed the ruse that Saddam had "WMD" to justify Operation "Iraqi Freedom" (a bogus name if ever there was one) and invade Iraq - which had not one damned thing to do with 9/11. (Though the numskulls who watched FAUX News would argue with that!)

Meanwhile, at last count, the estimates of the total of Iraqi civilians killed (by the World Health Organization) exceed 600,000. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan it continues to grow each day – ranging from ordinary civilians slain in misplaced gunfire on the streets of Kandahar to wedding parties obliterated by remote drones. As with Vietnam, when so many innocents were butchered and others' saw crops destroyed by Agent Orange, this does not win hearts and minds. Rather, those hearts and minds side with the enemy when the mighty power isn’t around.

But why be amazed that our representatives voted for this atrocity, any more than that they voted for the misguided Patriot Act (in 2002), or the Military Commissions Act in 2006 which repeals habeas corpus, or voted for nearly $200 billion to assemble 130,000 troops for a "mini-surge" in Afghanistan? Do freedoms, real ones, matter any more? How can they when the most despicable provisions of the Patriot Act – due for expiry in February, 2010, were re-approved by the Senate earlier this year? To remind readers, these provisions include allowances for “black bag” searches of one’s home and papers without any consent or knowledge- in total and direct violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. (But since 83% of the country can't name 6 of the Bill of Rights, maybe they don't even matter any more!)

This is Memorial Day. But, along with the fallen soldiers, serious citizens (not just empty headed consumers or mindless bible punchers) need to ponder unemotionally and sincerely why those troops died and whether, in fact, they were actually fighting for our "freedoms" as the mouths of propaganda endlessly screech, or whether they were rendered expendable cogs to promote a Pax Americana - via the engineers of a perma-war state. One that is ruining this nation on multiple fronts - from snuffing out thousands and millions of young lives with promise, to the money wasted on drones and bombs not going toward infrastructure repair(of crumbling roads, bridges etc), to money not going to paying down our immense debt as opposed to increasing it by $20 billion a month. We would do well do ponder these other words of Orwell:

"War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair... war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. "

I would only make a small correction here to the end: "keep the structure of a FASCIST society intact"

[1] Gore Vidal: 2002, Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, Thunders Mouth, p. 124.

[2] Of course, the ignominious “Bush Doctrine” – crafted under the auspices of the 2002 National Security Strategy – was even more noisome and outrageous, allowing for pre-emptive war as it made Iraq the gold standard for precedence. See: Berman, op. cit., p. 203.

[3] Morris Berman: 2006, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire, W.W. Norton, page 118.

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