Gilbert Jordan is a retired professor of English from Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, an anti-war activist, rag time piano player, and full-time landscape artist. E-mail Gilbert at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Voor Common Dreams schrijft hij: 'War: A Theft From Those Who Hunger.
"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."- - General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower.
Several years ago I read about a person commiserating with his friend about a serious medical diagnosis. "How bad is it?" he inquired. "Well, let's put it this way: I've stopped flossing."
That anecdote is a perfect analogy for the quagmire we find ourselves in on the recently observed third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. That war of choice, not necessity, is a milepost in our growth as an imperial power. It is the natural outcome of a half century of increased militarization, time when we have grown to accept the idea that a substantial portion of our resources must be diverted from human needs to building a military force invincible to challenge. As is well documented in a new film, "Why We Fight," the current militarization of America had its roots in the Second World War. The film focuses on Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech to the nation at the end of his eight-year presidency. In a remarkably prescient warning, he told Americans that for the first time in our history we had produced a permanent arms industry and that "we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society." What Eisenhower saw 45 years ago has metastasized into a gargantuan military juggernaut whose cost exceeds the arms expenditures of all other nations combined. Eisenhower would be stunned at the growth of this beast now sucking wealth, life, and democracy out of America. It has become the tail that wags the dog, a force so huge and thoroughly ingrained in our culture and political institutions that some believe its dominance has become irreversible. Consider that there are currently over 700 U.S. military bases spread around the globe, a modern equivalent of the Roman legions once covering a huge portion of the known world. The cost of such a smothering presence is intentionally obscured to divert attention from the scope of our military program. The announced Pentagon budget of $439 billion dollars per year is pure pixie dust. Iraq and Afghanistan war costs (another $120 billion this year) are not even included in the figure but covered by supplemental requests to Congress. Absent this and other means of budgetary sleight of hand, the real cost of our military probably approaches three quarters of a trillion dollars per year. Even in America, that should be viewed as an impressive number.' Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0403-21.htm