When one decides that they wish to enlist in the military one of the first things they are required to do is swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I wonder though, how many have ever stopped to ask what purpose our military serves; I know I have. Although the U.S. military does not have a mission statement of its own, the Department of Defense does, and theirs says, “The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.” (Source: https://www.defense.gov/About/)
You can’t go anywhere on any public road without seeing at least one vehicle that has one of those ‘Support our Troops’ stickers plastered across it somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 14 years before deciding to call it quits and return to civilian life; so I know the hardships our military men and women undergo to defend our nation; not to mention the hardships suffered by their families as well. But that’s just it, are they really defending America from legitimate threats when we have men and women stationed all over the planet?
Did you know that, according to reports, the United States has 662 military bases outside the continental U.S.; spread across 38 different countries? As Korea has been in the news recently, let’s take a look at how many bases and personnel are in South Korea. I did a tour in Korea, stationed at Kwang Ju Air Base in the southwestern part of that country. During the time I spent there I did tdy’s to 11 different bases there; and I know for a fact that I didn’t go to all of them. As of current statistics there are 28,500 U.S. military forces stationed in Korea; that’s over a quarter million U.S. servicemen and women stationed in Korea alone. If the goal of the U.S. military is to defend the United States, how are those 28,500 troops accomplishing that mission while stationed in Korea?
Yet if I were to suggest that the U.S. withdraw every single U.S. serviceman/woman from overseas and bring them back to U.S. soil people would look at me as if I was a madman. But, what would YOU think if Russia or China was to begin deploying troops all over the world, with 28,000 Russian or Chinese troops stationed right here in the U.S.? Wouldn’t that upset you just a little bit? Why should it be any different for the people of those countries who view U.S. troops on their soil as an invasion of their sovereignty, and view those occupying their country as ‘the enemy.’
Then there is this whole War on Terror initiated by President George W. Bush. America is fond of declaring war on things it cannot defeat. Look at our wars against crime, obesity and drugs if you don’t believe me. How can we win a war when we have no clear idea of who the enemy is? How can we win a war against an ideology or belief?
I know this is going to offend the politically correct, but let’s face the facts; out of all the recent supposed terrorist attacks against the U.S., what has been the overwhelming common thread? Of all these so called terrorist attacks almost every single one of them has been perpetrated by a follower of Islam. Now I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists, but I am saying that most terrorists are Muslim. I keep hearing that the radicalized Muslims who want to bring about death and destruction to the U.S. constitute anywhere from 5-25% of the total number of practicing Muslims. Let’s say the number is 10%, if there are a billion practicing Muslims in the world that still means there are an estimated 10 million who seek to kill us or bring the U.S. to its knees.
Now let me ask you something; if you were to see a room full of Muslims peacefully praying to Allah, can you tell me with any certainty which ones have hate in their hearts for America and which ones don’t? Yet not only do we not wish to address the fact that Islam does pose a threat to our way of life, we want to open our doors to more refugees who may or may not be coming here because they are pissed that our military intervention in their country has forced them to flee their homeland.
Makes perfect sense to me; yet how many people protested when President Trump attempted to put a halt to all refugees from predominantly Muslim countries until they could be properly vetted to ensure they had no ties to terrorism?
Make no mistake about it, Islam, and more specifically, radicalized extremist Islam is our enemy in this war on terror, and until we accept the fact that we cannot tell a good Muslim from a bad Muslim, we should be very careful about who we allow to come to live in our country where they could commit possible acts of terror against the American people.
But I’m beginning to stray off topic, and I want to remain focused on the real issue here; the fact that the U.S. military is being used not to defend our country from attack, but to project U.S. might and protect American business interests abroad.
Of all the ventures our government touches upon, war is the most profitable for all involved; except of course for those who do the actual fighting and dying. How many of you know the name Smedley Butler? Butler was a major general in the United States Marine Corps, and at the time of his death the most highly decorated United States Marine who had ever served his country. Butler once said that war is a racket, that “It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
Have you ever stopped to think about the cost of waging a war? Not only do you have to pay the soldiers who fight them, you also have to buy the bullets, guns, planes, tanks and ships as well. Then there are the logistical costs of moving armies into the field of battle to do the actual fighting. Whenever war is fought, someone is making huge profits. And it’s not just those who make the bullets, tanks, planes and ships who profit, it is the banks as well. Typically when war is fought the nations involved have to borrow the money to finance these wars. What happens when you borrow money? Why, you pay interest upon it. And who gets that interest? Why, the banks which do the lending.
Depending upon which source you go to, this war on terror that we have been fighting since 9/11 has cost the U.S. upwards of $4.7 trillion, and the debt that we are incurring to fight it has no signs of slowing down. It would seem we have not paid attention to the warning issued by James Madison all those years ago, “Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.”
But war is profitable not only for the bomb makers and banks; it is also profitable for U.S. business interests, who, just like parasites, thrive off a perpetual state of war. Look at Halliburton, the company which former President Dick Cheney was once the CEO of. In the Iraq War alone Halliburton made a whopping $39.5 billion in profits from the contracts it got to do everything from providing services to our troops to rebuilding Iraq after we had bombed it to hell and back. And that’s just one company, there are many more who profit mightily from war and the destruction it causes.
With all that money being made by all these companies, do you honestly believe that they want peace in the world? War is their business, and profits are good only as long as a state of war exists for which they can sell the services they provide. You must be very naive if you don’t think that this military industrial complex does not exert a great deal of pressure and influence upon our government; especially as it pertains to our foreign policy and the use of military force abroad.
Did you know that in 1961, when I was but 3 years old, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his Farewell Address which has become known also as his Military Industrial Complex Speech? In it Eisenhower warned of the dangers which an ever present and growing military industrial complex posed to our country and our liberty.
A portion of Eisenhower’s speech is as follows:
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 militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Yet it is his final sentence which sums up all that has gone wrong with the growth of this military industrial complex; “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
And since I’ve already quoted James Madison once, I may as well do it again. Madison also gave us another warning we have failed to heed, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst.foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
Madison also warned, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” Does that not even remotely cause you to think about all the losses of liberty we have suffered since 9/11? If it doesn’t I have to ask; what rock have you been hiding under?
If our military’s sole purpose is to defend America from attack, then is that why it actually does; or does it serve the purpose of perpetuating the profits of the military industrial complex and the bottom line of the banks that finance a perpetual state of war? Is our military truly defending freedom as we are being told, or are they defending U.S. business interests abroad?
For an answer, I return to the decorated war hero Smedley Butler, “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
So, the next time you think about putting one of those ‘Support our Troops’ stickers on your car, or criticizing someone who doesn’t stand behind our governments use of our military to wage its wars of imperialism abroad, I would ask that you think back to the oath that all enlisted personnel take upon entering the armed forces. That oath does not say that those entering the service are bound to support whatever their government tells them is their mission; it does not say that their mission is to secure profits for U.S. business interests, it states first and foremost, “I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
To me, patriotism is not standing behind our government and its use of our military whenever it sees fit. To me patriotism is standing behind our Constitution and the principles upon which this nation was founded.
If some country directly attacks the United States I will be the first to get in line to stand behind our military in defending our country; only to the extent to which our enemies are vanquished from our shores and the safety and security of America restored. I will not, however, stand behind the unlawful use of our military to make the banking industry and the military industrial complex rich.
If you really want to stand behind our troops, let them do their job of defending our country from whatever enemies come our way; let them go in, kick some ass, and then come home. Nation building and occupying a sovereign nation after war is NOT part of their job description. And if companies like Halliburton want to profit from war, let them bid on the open market with all the other countries of the world, and let the country that needs the services they provide decide which company to choose from. But keep our government out of it; they have no right to give out contracts to anyone to rebuild a country after our military has gone in and blew it all to hell.
This may not sound very patriotic to some of you, but maybe that’s because your understanding of what it means to be a patriot is misguided, if not flat out wrong. Mark Twain once said that patriotism is standing behind your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. When our government uses our military to make others rich at the cost of the lives of our men and women in uniform, then that is not a case in which I choose to support my government; and truthfully if the men and women in uniform understood their oaths of enlistment, neither would they.