I have to share some thoughts about how we are being manipulated into repeating the falsehood that our military men and women are “fighting to protect our freedom.” Everywhere you look, we are forced to see and hear this over and over… at ballgames, big ads in the paper, fundraisers for military families, etc. The fact is that humans have been fighting for power and over resources since the first caveman hit his neighbor over the head with a club in order to steal his food.
Wars have always been about power and resources, and they still are. Empires… Roman, Ottoman, British.. have all been about expanding the limits of their power. The British bragged that the “sun never sets” on their empire because they controlled territory all over the globe. And they were merciless in the way they treated their subjects.
Fast forward a couple of centuries. As the United States grew, the decision makers were just as brutal as the British, Germans, Spanish, Dutch had been centuries before. We eliminated the people who had settled our territory before we Europeans came. Once “westward expansion” was accomplished, we looked beyond the oceans. The Spanish American war was all about resources and distant ports needed for refueling military and domestic ships. After the Spanish surrendered in the Philippine Islands, we stayed another year to put down a rebellion by the people who lived there. That part of the story didn’t used to make it into the history books, but it does now. We took control of those islands and Cuba.
Latin America…. vital resources again. Post WW II, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother were on the board of United Fruit Company. The history of our involvement in Central America is nothing short of shameful. No, it wasn’t about stopping the spread of communism, but that made a great fear tactic to get Americans to look the other way when Catholic priests and nuns who had been helping the poor were murdered.
Once the Soviet Union fell apart, the war mongers had to find a new scapegoat/bad guy in order to continue to spend resources on the military. Even though President Eisenhower warned against the “military industrial complex,” and who knew better than he did, we allowed the Pentagon budget to expand to today’s $700 billion a year.
The war on terrorism is the new enemy, and, conveniently for the military industrial complex, terrorists pop up everywhere and will never be “defeated.”
This is not to say there are not good jobs in the military branches of service. I know a local young man who is in the Marines and trained to maintain and repair helicopters and jet planes. That’s a skill he can use as a civilian. But let’s face it, it’s all volunteer now, and that might work for some who want job training or to further their education. But our “freedom” is not in jeopardy. The biggest threat we face today is either nuclear war brought on by our insane president or being killed by a neighbor or family member. We have the “freedom” to own and carry guns anywhere we want. And that is more of a threat to us as individuals than terrorist bombs.
So spare me the nonsense about “fighting for our freedom.” I’d rather have most of that $700 billion spent on education, job training and universal health care for everyone living in our country. And we’d have a lot fewer enemies abroad if we spent some of that money helping desperately poor families overseas instead of bombing them.