Here we go again. It was reported yesterday that tensions are running high between North Korea and the United States, with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un threatening to attack American military bases in South Korea, Japan, Guam and Hawaii in a show of force against U.S. imperialism. I am not saying that Kim Jong-un has the right to attack America, however 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, the U.S. has invaded or are conducting drone missile attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Uganda. When you consider that our government is seriously talking about taking aggressive action against Iran and Syria, one cannot help but wonder how we are paying for all these missions, in terms not only of dollars and cents but also that of human life. Since World War I, with the advent of the airplane as a military weapon of mass destruction, ninety percent of all casualties of war are civilians.
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 our intelligence agencies, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year. Moreover, this does not include America’s newly created ultra secret intelligence budget. Since September 11th, our government has built 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 planet 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 1980s 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.
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 “…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 seven or eight 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 thirty thousand troops stationed along the 38th parallel in Korea sixty years after that war ended. We have numerous military bases located throughout Europe nearly seventy years after World War II ended.
Be it the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 or the horrendous attack of September 11th, America still has yet to learn that our foreign policy always has consequences, many times dire. I do not support what Osama bin Laden did on September 11th and I am not saying that we deserved it; however, I know just enough to understand that for every action there is a reaction. Bin Laden stated during an interview that the reason he attacked America on that horrific day was that we left our military stationed in Saudi Arabia, the most holy of land in the Islamic religion, long after the first Gulf War ended, which based on our extensive history of military engagements, is a very common practice.
I came of age during the 1960s and ‘70s listening to Walter Cronkite report the casualty statistics from the Vietnam War and that of the anti-war protests as well during his nightly news broadcasts. All those old hippies, who spoke of peace and love, who now hold power turned out to be just as sadistic as that of their parents’ generation. When will we ever learn?
Steven H. Spring