Here we go again. It has been reported that this past week, the United States has once again sent military troops into a foreign country. We are currently engaged militarily in so many countries right now that you need a scorecard to keep track of them all. In just the past decade alone, we have invaded or are conducting drone missile attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and now in central Africa, chasing after the Lord’s Resistance Army and its sadistic leader Joseph Kony in Uganda. When you consider that our government is seriously talking about taking aggressive action against Iran, one cannot help but wonder how we are paying for all these missions, in terms of not only dollars and cents but that also of human life. Since World War I, ninety percent of all causalities of war are civilians.
In his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower stated that “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Coming from a five-star general, many who credit for winning World War II, America should have listened.
Instead, during the past two decades America has become the world’s most war-mongering nation. I have written many times during the past five or six years that we are heading down the same path as that of the former Soviet Union, in that we are bankrupting ourselves with all our military endeavors. America has nearly 750 official military bases located in other countries. We still have fifty thousand troops stationed along the 38th parallel in Korea nearly sixty years after that war ended, for Pete‘s sake.
With an annual defense budget of nearly $900 billion, we spend nearly as much on our military as the rest of the world combined. When combined with intelligence, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year. Moreover, this does not include America’s ultra secret intelligence budget. Since September 11th, our government has build up such a top secret network of intelligence agencies that no one knows how much it cost, how many it employs or how many agencies it runs. The defense budget itself has nearly doubled since 2000, yet where has all this spending gotten us? As a nation, we live in fear of another September 11th attack; all the while, our country is falling apart. America is bankrupting itself and it is not from our spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is from our imperialistic attitude and our attempt to dominate the world we call Earth.
In a rather sad, ironic twist, America is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, again nearly selling as many armaments as the rest of the world combined. Thus, not only are we bankrupting ourselves with our military spending, but we are also heavily arming the rest of the world. One must remember that America armed Saddam Hussein when he was at war with Iran in the ’80s and we armed Osama bin Laden when he fought the Russians in Afghanistan, also during the ‘80s. America has a very extensive history of arming and supporting malevolence dictators and lunatics, in the name of what is best for this country, not necessarily what is best for the rest of the world.
That great 1960s philosopher, John Kay was right when he wrote in part in his masterpiece, Monster/Suicide/America:
“The cities have turned into jungles,
And corruption is stranglin’ the land.
The police force is watching the people,
And the people just can’t understand.
We don’t know how to mind our own business,
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us.
Now we are fighting a war over there.
No matter who’s the winner, we can’t pay the cost.
‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose,
It’s got our heads into the noose.
And it just sits there… watching.”
Steven H. Spring