WWII … Korea … Vietnam … Iraq Desert Storm … Iraq again … Iraq-Afghanistan … I rode the streets of Anderson, IN 65 years ago with Eugene Dawson and several other college students celebrating the end of WWII. Since that time we have been in at least six major wars plus numerous minor skirmishes, and off the record experiences like assisting Afghanistan (Osama bin ladin) in preventing Russia from defeating Afghanistan (under Bush 41).
Since WWII we have gradually let ourselves be dominated by a “corporate and military elite which furthers national foreign policies that make for war-proneness.” The people in authority and those who make foreign policy decisions have as their economic and political interest the development of a strong military posture by developing bigger and better weapons systems.
War-readiness is now regarded as an appropriate policy; we call it “national security.” Because of the huge allocation of money for military contracts, many in industry, labor, and the research community, we have whole regions of our nation that have become economically dependent upon huge military contracts. And that is considered “legitimate.”
This military elite also has access to a huge public relations and advertising budget which they use to elicit public support for their policies. One CBS program back in the 80s described “The Selling of the Pentagon“ and tried to demonstrate the presence and power of such a propaganda force in America.
Lest you think that mere tripe, consider the power and influence today of Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) on our college campuses, and the more recent move to establish Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp programs at the High School level. Or, consider those forces today that regularly influence you to support the Pentagon and its policies, all of which are oriented by definition to military solutions to problems.
Is this a problem? I believe it is. Once the public has been thoroughly propagandized by this militarist point of view, public opinion can be mobilized by politicians for their own political uses. The fact is, a peace-maker view today is considered unpatriotic. The Republican Party has in particular become the party of Military choice and the budget they protect most is “military spending and defense” although even our top generals now tell us we can’t win our present military engagement by military means! Even segments of the church, which should be the conscience of the country, now think so completely in military terms that they consider Jesus followers liberal, left-wing propagandists.
Have 65 years of wars and armaments brought us greater security? The last 65 years has brought us into a “military economy” that has a shortfall for infrastructure, for jobs etc etc. In fact, supporters of this continued spending pattern are denouncing the President as a “Socialist” because he dared to recognize the health needs of the citizenry (it takes a whopping 6% of our national budget, against 57% for total military causes.
General Ike warned us of this very situation in his second inaugural address some half century ago, but the tail is now wagging the dog and I no longer recognize the country I have loved all my life.
I believe there is a better way than using such an old and dilapidated theory of peace through violent means. It makes “sense” to use ethical principles of non-violence to create a peaceful and productive world for everybody; it is non-sense to repeat the same old failed policies of history.
From Warner’s World