“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive
will not long be safe companions to liberty.”
“The Congress shall have the power to … raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years…”
(Article 1, Section 8)
Unlike most Americans today, our Founding Fathers were well versed in all the forms that government may take, and the perils associated with each form. In framing our system of government they sought a balance between providing the government they were creating with the requisite power to perform the functions it was being established for, while at the same time seeking to preserve the rights of the States and the general public.
As students of both history and government they knew that certain things were fatal to the liberty of the people; things such as a powerful government accompanied by a perpetual standing army. Yet today, if one questions the need for a massive standing army, or the constant use of that army against enemies who have never directly attacked the United States, one’s patriotism comes into question and they can, and do, lose friends over it. This blind support for our military is both dangerous and foolish; for it is often the military which is the tool by which tyrants enforce their will upon a powerless society.
Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I support the troops and the fact that at any moment they could be called upon to lay down their lives in the defense of their country. After all, for over 13 years I served in the United States Air Force; so I know what it’s like to sign a blank check to Uncle Sam for up to and including your life in the defense of your country.
But you see, there is a fine line of distinction between the defense of America and the defense of business interests or the sustaining of an American Empire which spans the globe; and unfortunately our government has crossed that line and our troops are the pawns who pay the price for it. I can honestly say, without any reservations, knowing what I know now I would never enlist in the military… NEVER!!!
I know it may seem like I’m suddenly switching tracks; changing subjects, but bear with me, it will all make sense in a minute. Basic economics teaches that for a company to make a profit it must sell enough of the product it produces to offset the overhead costs associated with manufacturing that product. If it costs a company $5 in parts and $10 in labor to produce one widget, then they must sell that widget for $15 to break even, and $16 to make a profit; and that’s assuming that there are no costs associated with ad campaigns to spread the word about their widget. That’s basic economics and it applies to every company which produces a product; including the defense industry; or as Eisenhower called it, the Military Industrial Complex.
Most companies produce goods which are then purchased by the general public; clothing, food, automobiles, televisions, etc. etc. However, the military industrial complex sells a specific category of goods which, typically, is only purchased by those who engage in war; such as governments. Therefore, economics demands that for them to continue making a profit, and keeping their stockholders happy, there must be a constant need for the products they produce; in other words, a constant state of war. It is simple common sense that in times of peace there is less need for bombs, bullets, tanks and fighter planes than there is in times of war.
There is something else, our elected representatives aren’t the ones piloting those planes; they aren’t the ones driving the tanks; they aren’t the ones on the battlefield expending all that ammunition and ordinance–it is the men and women serving in our military. Therefore, along with a constant state of war, there needs to be a standing military force who will utilize the goods produced by the Military Industrial Complex.
While I’ll be the first to admit that warfare has changed from the times when you just put some fatigues on a soldier, gave him a rifle, and sent him off to the trenches to fight, and that the technologically advanced state of warfare demands that we have better trained people ready to defend our country, I do have a problem when our military is used for anything other than the defense of the United States from outside attack.
I have a serious problem with our service men and women being sent off to some shit hole of a country in support of some Resolution passed by the United Nations. Our military is not the enforcing arm for resolutions passed by countries, many of which despise the United States. The list of countries which our military members have been deployed in support of the United Nations is almost endless; Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Somalia, El Salvador, and it goes on and on and on.
Excuse the language, but fuck the United Nations. I didn’t vote for them, they don’t represent me, and they damned sure don’t have any authority to pass resolutions which affect me or deprive me of any of my unalienable rights. As far as I’m concerned, the UN can shut its doors, its ambassadors can pack their bags and return to their own country, and we can use the UN building to house the homeless.
Former Marine General Smedley Butler said this about war, “It is the only one [racket] in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” Who profits from war? Well first off there are the arms dealers who make the bullets, bombs, tanks, planes and even the uniforms our soldiers wear. Next in line of profiteers are the bankers who loan the huge sums of money it takes to conduct a war.
Are you aware that the Father of our Constitution, James Madison, once said, “Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.” Right now our national debt stands at $21.13 trillion and it adds about $1 million every 30 seconds. Much of that money being borrowed, or added to the debt, is going towards our current war on terror.
In all our past wars we could find a map or a globe and point to where our enemy was. Not this time. Can you find the country of terror on a map? This war on terror, declared by George W. Bush all those years back, is an open ended blank check to our government which gives them the ability to wage war against whomever, whenever, our government deems that there is a valid threat of global terrorism. We don’t have to be attacked, we only have to decide that some country poses us a threat and that is sufficient cause for the US to use military force to reduce or eliminate that threat.
I think most Americans live in this little cocoon which protects them from the real world. Some people I know have never left their home State, let alone travelled to another country. Yet these same people believe that our military is fighting the good fight to keep us safe back here in the US of A. Let me ask you something; are we at war with Germany? I thought a peace treaty was signed after the defeat of the Nazis. So why do we have almost 35,000 troops stationed in Germany?
What about Japan, we are at peace with them too; right? Well why are there almost 40,000 U.S. troops assigned to Japan? While technically the Korean Conflict never ended, it is only a cease fire, there are still 23,468 U.S. servicemen and women stationed in South Korea. There are 12,000 in Italy and almost 8,500 protecting our good friends by setting up shop in Great Britain.
According to the PEW Research Center, there are approximately 200,000 U.S. military personnel assigned outside the continental United States; and those numbers are at an all time low. Are we defending our country, our empire, or could it be that our military is being used to defend the interests of powerful special interests who have holdings in those countries?
In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a speech in which he said, ” Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
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.”
Now you tell me, do you think that those whose very survival as businessmen depends upon a constant need for the weapons they produce are going to lobby Congress to decrease the size of our military, or call for cutbacks on our involvement in foreign wars? That’s not to mention all the other companies that have holdings, or interest in the resources of another country, but face obstacles due to anti U.S. sentiments by their duly elected leaders. How much better for them if our military went in and toppled the existing government, or the CIA orchestrate a coup to pave the way for U.S. business interests to get a foot in the door.
Think things like that never happen? You ought to do some research into the joint U.S./British organized coup which saw the democratically elected leader of Iran toppled so that the Western Friendly Shah of Iran could be installed in his place. It didn’t matter that the Shah brutalized his own people; as long as the profits kept rolling in to U.S. and British petroleum companies.
That wasn’t an isolated incident either; the U.S. has been meddling in the internal affairs of other nations for a very, VERY long time. Getting back to Smedley Butler, he said this about his time in the United States Marines, “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.”
Are you aware that currently there are over one million people serving as active duty servicemen/women? While most of them are serving in the capacity of National Defense; whatever our government declares to be in the National Defense that is, a huge standing army like that could easily be used to enforce the will of our government should it go full blown tyrannical on us. You tell me, with a population who can’t be bothered to question whether or not their government is violating the Constitution, do you think the average soldier, sailor, marine, or airman is going to hesitate to fire upon U.S. citizens if given the order to do so by their Commander in Chief? Sure, there will be some who refuse to follow orders, but for the most part they will shoot first and question the legality of the order later. Think about that before you decide to slap on that ‘Support the troops’ bumper sticker.
There is another aspect of warfare that is closely tied to it which also is being used to deprive us of our rights. Every war depends upon intelligence gathering. Heck, Nathan Hale, who famously said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” was hung for spying on the British during the Revolution. Spies, scouts, and other means of gathering intelligence are crucial to effectively defeating your enemy. But the same means by which your enemies are spied upon can also be used to spy upon the people of a country to monitor against anti-government sentiment; even when that sentiment is wholly justified.
Thomas Jefferson rejected the idea that government should be allowed to punish those who spoke out against the actions of their government, and when President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts he secretly wrote the Kentucky Resolutions in opposition to these laws. But that never stopped government. During the Civil War members of the Lincoln administration monitored the Northern Press and shut down, or imprisoned editors who wrote anti war editorials.
For a very long time our government has had the ability to spy upon us without our ever knowing we are being spied upon. Way back when I was in high school Senator Frank Church made the following comments, “The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.”
Of course we all know that Edward Snowden had to flee the country when he released Top Secret files which revealed the extent to which our government has been spying upon us; just a Senator Church feared would happen, and in clear violation of the 4th Amendment; and FISA warrants be damned!!! The shroud of secrecy that surrounds the issuing and executing of FISA warrants gives our government all the cover it needs to perform unconstitutional and unwarranted surveillance upon every man, woman and child in this country; without our knowledge or permission.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that our government built a special building, the size of numerous football fields, all specifically for the purpose of storing all the information they are gathering on every person they have spied upon; including you and I. Each of us has our own electronic file with all our communications stored away for easy access. The only difference between your folders and mine are that mine probably have a few more red flags in them and are a bit thicker due to the fact that I’m most likely on their radar as a potential threat to national security, or the public safety; or whatever other code phrase they have for standing up for the Constitution and Bill of Rights these days.
For crying out loud people, think about it; they already have, not only an army, but a fully militarized police force that has no qualms about enforcing unconstitutional laws upon the citizenry. They already spy on us to the extent that any kind of organized resistance to government would be no secret to them. Now, once again, they are coming after our guns.
When I was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida there was a low security prison on the base where the prisoners worked on base doing lawn maintenance and other chores as part of their time spent in prison. Hell, they even had their own softball team that played in the base league; and they were tough to beat. Yet with all that freedom they were still prisoners.
That’s the state I see Americans as living in today, low security prisoners where they have a few meaningless rights to do as they please, but those rights are conditional upon their obeying the important laws; like not questioning government and making sure you keep the life blood of tax dollars flowing into their coffers. As long as you do these things you are free to do as you please; or free range slavery as I like calling it. But try exercising any real freedom and they will come down on you like a ton of bricks; just ask the Branch Davidians if you don’t believe me.
Our Founders left us plenty of warning signs to look for and things we needed to do to ensure that we retained the liberty this system of government was designed to protect. We have ignored them all and now the only thing missing from our servitude is a ball and chain shackled to our ankles.
But that’s okay, Trump’s gonna fix everything, and if he doesn’t then the Democrats will when they get their guy in the Oval Office. The Two Party Paradigm keeps on turnin’ and the people are none the wiser.
Well, one of these days reality is gonna pop up in front of you like those old clowns in the wind up music boxes; and when it does don’t blame me, blame yourselves; you’re the ones who placed football, Facebook, Reality TV and even your children and grandchildren over the preservation of your freedom. Liberty comes with a cost, and for generations the average American has been delinquent in paying that cost. Now the time is almost here to pay the piper.
Pop goes the weasel…