Swans Commentary » swans.com October 6, 2008  



American Wars On Herself And Others


by R. Scott Porter





(Swans - October 6, 2008)   Since the dawn of time, wars have been fought to enrich the few at the expense of the many. An innate bloodlust that has resided in the hearts of mankind since prehistoric times continues to make war possible. Here in America the same tired ploy of creating a "boogie man," or propping up some two-bit dictator to be the fall guy to justify sending our military into war has been sold to the public time after time. Additionally, our military-industrial complex, consisting of a vast array of multinational corporations and industries, requires constant war for its very existence. No one has ever even come close to reforming this status quo, and now the time grows short and the danger looms large. We have reached a point in our evolution as a species where constant war might soon lead to annihilation. We have perfected the tools of war to the point where we now possess the capability of worldwide mass destruction.

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong."

What should be done with the military-industrial complex? President Eisenhower warned us not to allow industry to become reliant on constant war. Unfortunately, we allowed it and now we have our military protecting private contractors while they profit from an unnecessary, preemptive war. The lack of ethics in this regrettable outcome is breathtaking. Public outrage is muted mainly because most families don't have blood in the fight. The Machiavellian decision to end the draft and rely on a volunteer military opened the door to corruption. A sinister conspiracy between some of our politicians and war-profiteering corporations has nearly broken our trust in our government. We are no longer seen as champions of freedom by the rest of the world, but rather as oppressive opportunists. The war in Iraq is a tragic consequence of all this. Our national addiction to consumption has allowed unethical and immoral politicians to misuse our honorable military to enrich themselves at the expense of a country that did not attack us. All humanity must have escaped their souls for them to send our young men and women into this unnecessary, corrupt, meat grinder of a war. Godless corporate capitalism, in the absence of basic business ethics, becomes a mindless, brutal virus. We should immediately shift the focus of our industry away from war production and into developing alternative energy sources, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and developing cures for all the diseases that still plague us. This will solve at least two of our most critical problems. It will renew the trust of the world in our ability to do the right thing, and it will lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

We, as individuals, and as a nation, find it very difficult to admit our mistakes, make amends, and move on. That takes humility, which is almost considered un-American at this point. If we cannot get our priorities in order we deserve our fate. Protecting the home front and bringing those who attacked us to justice should be our priorities, and in that order. Many now admit that it was a mistake to go into Iraq. Others are only willing to say that our plan of attack was flawed. Most of them now regret the situation we find ourselves in but are unwilling to leave. Their reasons for continuing a failed policy range from the fear of making things even worse to unbridled hubris. The bottom line is that unless we relish constant war, with the distinct possibility of a nuclear confrontation, we need to stop the bleeding now. We need to admit our mistakes and start repairing the damage we have done. We must concentrate on defense instead of offense for the rest of our lives. If you are male and this sounds wimpy to you then you need to reevaluate your requirements for manhood. Real men find ways to coexist with the rest of humanity. Real men don't have to prove their manhood to anyone. They just live it.

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."
—Abraham Lincoln

Why are we not talking to our "enemies"? Obviously because we want this war to last as long as possible. Why would we possibly want that? Because we have the wrong people in power. Those in power now, and their major contributors, profit from oil and from war. This profit motive was the reason we were diverted to Iraq with an inadequate number of troops. They have created a quagmire or stalemate in order to drain Iraq, and the American economy, dry. One has to wonder how anyone could be so cynical. Some undoubtedly are that cynical, while it may well be that most are simply in denial. Their profit-driven capitalist business education may have blinded them to the true consequences of their actions, or at least given them strong arguments in favor of continuing this tragedy of a war. Some involved at high levels, I fear, are truly "evil," greedy, sinister sociopaths, as unsettling as that may be to believe.

When we consider all of the important priorities we might have funded with the estimated two trillion dollars we will have wasted in Iraq, it brings real clarity to just how ludicrous and shameful the current administration has been. It should break your heart to realize that we might have supplied proper health care to every U.S. citizen, thereby saving millions of lives. We might have fully funded medical research and possibly found cures, or at least advanced treatments, for any number of diseases, and saved even more lives. We might have repaired the deteriorating infrastructure all across the country, and in doing so, we would have created desperately needed jobs and saved more lives. We might have reinforced the levies in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, again, saving lives.

Do you see a trend here? Instead of funding these life-saving projects, along with a nearly endless list of others, the Bush administration elected to send our military half way around the globe to kill millions of people who did not attack us and apparently to protect the one person who did. By distracting us from hunting down Osama bin Laden this administration allowed him to find sanctuary in the mountains of Pakistan, presumably so we could continue to have an enemy out there. This bunch is pro-life before birth and pro-death after it. Their idea of population control is blowing up as many humans as possible, and by letting as many die from horrible disease as possible. Their heartless lack of humanity is astonishing. Their callous disregard of the law is frightening. Their careless use of the power the Supreme Court (and eventually the American people) granted them, and the national treasure we entrusted to them, is criminal.

"It is forbidden to kill. Therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."

How long should we travel down this path of destruction that we now find ourselves on? What possible lasting benefit can be derived by the gratuitous killing of innocents, in order to maintain a careless, wasteful lifestyle? How can we continue to condone senseless violence that is being conducted solely for the purpose of enriching corporations that are already rich? How long can we turn our backs because we fear retribution? It is time to stand up and be counted. We must not fear the wrath of cowards. I join with you, all of you who believe that the American dream can shine as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world once more, as it once did. We still have the right to believe in our country, even if the worst people are temporarily in charge. If we can stand together in the darkness we will see the light of a new day in America. If we are successful, the new realism we create might reign for the foreseeable future. We are only limited by our fear of the unknown. Therefore, take heart, join the fight, and help us win by the shear magnitude of our numbers. If the majority votes for sanity then sanity will surely prevail.

Glorifying war is the ultimate masochism. It only invites more war. War should be regarded as the very last and most regrettable option that any nation employs in order to survive. An inherited lust for conflict still continues to infect the human psyche. We also have at least a sneaking suspicion that the best defense is a strong offense. While this may have been true in the past, and may indeed always retain some credibility, we must now begin to transition away from preemptive destruction to successful negotiation because the stakes are too high. The devastation that will be incurred by losing a thermonuclear war, and, theoretically, by even winning one, must be seen as unsustainable in a global sense. Therefore war, in general, is undeniably irrational and should not be held to be anything more than the pure misery it has always been.

Glorifying peace has never received the attention or commitment that warmongering has received, primarily because too many people have been raised with hatred and physical abuse in their own lives and they subliminally transfer their pain onto whichever "enemy" their leaders are selling at any particular time. Peace has never been much of a moneymaker for American industry either, at least when compared to war. Glorifying defense, while decidedly less visceral, is our only logical alternative. New technologies could be developed to enhance our defenses and also support our industries. War-related industries must, however, now transition into peaceful enterprise. Our young people should be taught to proudly defend their country, not by invading other nations, not by having to participate in unnecessary wars that too often leave them broken and bitter, but by defending the home front of a self-sustaining nation, and by once again spreading the gift of peace and prosperity around the world. After ending the madness in the Middle East we should reinstate the draft and create the option of serving the country by joining a national service corps similar to the Peace Corps or the Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps. Those who choose to join the military should train for combat, but only be sent into conflict to defend their land, or to go after those who have attacked us. This great nation of ours must once again become the shining hope of the world. We must once again live the example. That must be our goal if we hope to see any semblance of peace, any time soon. We cannot continue to be the biggest bully and not expect the rest of the world to eventually come after us with a vengeance. The "leader of the free world" must be the primary example of freedom or there will soon be no free world left, and that is precisely what some of our "leaders" seem to want.

Here and now an overwhelming majority of us must join together to demand that the corporations that support war should immediately begin a transition into peaceful enterprises. Creative minds must now lead destructive minds to the light of reason. This is the worst time to give up, or give in. Peace and prosperity are not mutually exclusive. We can make a decent living without resorting to theft. Men can, and must feel strong without murdering each other, and so war must now, finally, become obsolete.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
—Abraham Lincoln


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About the Author

R. Scott Porter is a General Contractor who lives in Laguna Beach, California, and whose skills and expertise have been featured in This Old House magazine in March 2008. To learn more about Porter's bread and butter, please visit GandSbuilders.com



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published October 6, 2008