Military Imperialism

I saw this film called “Why We Fight” yesterday, and I think that everyone reading this post should see it. It’s about the military industrial complex and the huge military machine that the United States has become. We espouse a benevolent hegemonic discourse, but for some reason we cannot keep out of violent conflicts. Every decade or so, there must be a war, a war against some other country that defies the United States and its ideologies. We are an empire in denial. Our powerful military is funded and maintained through a constant stream of war profiteering from government contracts to huge corporations like Halliburton, that absorb more than half the national budget each year. Make no mistake about it, were not in it for the cause, for an ideology, or even for the glory, we’re in it for the money. America bleeds green, and that’s what all of our troops are dying for.
Before the film, there was a short documentary on the initial attacks on Faluja in Iraq. It was shot by an American troop and media personnel from both countries. In fear for retaliation for speaking the truth, the names were not listed on the film. It showed what the media failed to report. While Bush and the corporate-led media declared victory over the enemy, there were hundreds of thousands fleeing for their lives, with no place to go. When they returned, they found nothing but a shell of a city. Upon entering the new checkpoints, they were treated like prisoners. After being searched at gunpoint, and herded like cattle, they were all bar-coded and sent into the city with nothing but the cloths on their backs, and no way out. They had no clean water, no food, barely any medical facilities or other important infrastructure. One man described the water as “dirty” so much that it had to be filtered through cloth and even then, “you would not want to wash dishes or cloths in it much less drink it”. With no place to come home to, they found shelter in anyplace they could. Bodies lay strewn across the streets, 95% of them civilians.
How did this happen to a people that we were told we were liberating? We were lied to, not necessarily by the media, but by the government. Much of the media was held back from the fighting, and kept in the dark by government officials and the corporate leaders of media networks. With all the money that we spend on military, you would think that we would know what was going to happen, and be prepared to help those we were “liberating”. Instead the truth remains to be seen. At least we know that we don’t know the truth. We know now that Iraq had no connection with 9/11, we know they had no WMD’s, we know there was no threat of Saddam attacking us in such a significant way that we needed to go to war. The administration says that we had to go to war and almost as many Americans that died in 9/11, died in this war and are still dying for an injustice.
So why do we fight? We do this because its big business, and because it’s profitable. Charlmers Johnson was in the film and he made a brilliant remark (as usual). He said, (regarding increases in military contract profits) “when war becomes that profitable, you’re going to see a lot more of it”. Wars are not just a matter of power and profit. War is holding up a large part of our domestic economy. Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing make war planes in parts. Each part is made in a different state, so that if ever they were to try and phase out a weapons manufacturing program, congressional leaders would make sure the programs continue to support their districts. The problem is larger than I could outline in this blog and it’s larger than the film could begin to cover; but its enough to worry the average citizen who does not view us as an empire, and believes that America fights for the freedom of the sovereign state.
Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower both warned against standing armies and the uncontrolled growth of the military industrial complex. They said that it would be the one thing that could give the president enough power to become a tyrannical dictator. Today I see this being manifested through the corporate dominated media, government, and industry. Without getting the public to stop being complicit and start getting active in the few representative channels that exist today, empire is a word that will commonly be used to describe America’s history.

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