A U.S. Government Hooked on, Obsessed with, Perpetual War

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America has a government that is taking this country in a direction in which the vast majority of its people don’t want to go. It continues to pour massive amounts of the country’s wealth into building and maintaining a vast military empire when, at the same time, critically important domestic needs remain unfunded or underfunded.

War is so deeply embedded in the psyche of this government that extracting it would take a minor miracle. The neocons and war hawks that infest our nation’s capital have an insatiable thirst for war, they can’t get enough; they are the major facilitators and proliferators of endless war.

As a result, our nation’s major foundations are eroding because this government assigns a far greater priority to building and using weapons of war rather than rebuilding our crumbling national infrastructure or restoring our once world class education system.

Here’s an article that deals with the most important issues facing America today, based on the opinions of Americans. A survey by Google indicated that the top two issues were immigration and same-sex marriage, with foreign policy at the end of the list. Another by Gallup showed the economy at the top and foreign affairs, once again, near the bottom.

When polls continue to indicate that the majority of Americans do not support this agenda of war why then isn’t this issue higher on these opinion lists and is far below those such as immigration and same-sex marriage? That just doesn’t make sense. I guess this is what is called “out of sight, out of mind.” While the issue should be getting lots of time on the media people are not at all informed because these ratings-crazy media is too busy reporting Trump’s latest barrage of insults. 

When is the last time we’ve heard a discussion in the media about the very extensive, extremely costly, military network of bases that our government maintains around the world; one that, coupled with the endless wars, has cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars? Does this media ever tell us about the massive amount of money that is being poured into the furnaces of war; and that this is the reason why there are little to no funds available for our many domestic needs? No, this subject is not to be discussed, it is off limits.

Here are some very interesting statistics about the history of wars in which our government has been engaged since the year 1900. During the 20th century the only years in which America was not involved in any wars were from 1935 to 1940; then 1976, 1977 and 1978; and, lastly, 1997. Therefore, in this period of 100 years, our various governments were involved in wars 90% of the time. Absolutely astounding!

If we are ever going to take this country in a new direction then we need to remove this albatross of war from around America’s neck; and to do things differently we must finally learn from our past mistakes. To begin that process let’s review what has happened in the past so that we will not keep making the same mistakes again and again.

We have a government that initiates totally unnecessary, unjustifiable wars and then either loses them or our military is held to a standstill. In the Vietnam War the U.S. military was forced to leave that country; in Iraq, the biggest military mistake and debacle in U.S. history, our forces could not defeat a guerilla army. In Afghanistan, when we went to war against the Taliban, which played no part in the 911 attack and posed no real threat to America, our military again was held to a standstill. Not a shining record for the most powerful military in the history of the world.

Now there is a war raging in Syria with the U.S. military right in the middle of the action, raining massive amounts of bombs down on that country to supposedly defeat ISIL and Daesh; but close observers have determined it’s largely to remove President Assad from power because he refuses to allow our allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to construct a gas pipeline going through his country and then on to Europe.

This is a war in which Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have a formidable military force in the air and on the ground. The U.S. also has numerous allied nations supporting its operations. This situation is so tenuous and volatile that we could see World War III erupt at any time; it is that dangerous and more. And yet the vast majority of the people of this country have no clue as to what is going on because, once again, they are not being informed by either the American media or the government.

In the category of totally unconscionable, we have this government continuing to sell many billions of dollars of military weaponry to Saudi Arabia and supporting it in its vicious attacks on the tiny country of Yemen. The Saudi’s have brought great devastation upon that country and its civilian population. The highly respected journalist, Andrew Cockburn, recently said, “We are part of that,” it is our war, it is shameful.”

Talk about the dangers of a possible World War III. We now have a president and government that are trying to intimidate both Russia and China. Let’s put it this way; if you want to choose the two countries in this world that you should never, ever intimidate and take provocative steps against, it is Russia and China. That is what’s referred to as courting total disaster.

There is not just one Super Power in this world as Mr. Obama and others like to say; rather, there are three, the U.S. plus Russia and China; all three have powerful nuclear arsenals and each could easily blow up much of the world. And these are the countries that Mr. Obama and his military advisers want to intimidate?

If we had followed a rational, non-aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East for all these past decades there would have never been an Iraq war, it is almost certain that 911 would never have happened, and we would not be talking about the great threat of terrorism coming from those who are seeking retaliation and revenge against America.

Here is a fact of life in America. When any new president enters the Oval Office, it is almost a given that, at some point in that presidency, this individual will become a strong advocate of a highly aggressive agenda of military actions around the world. That has now become a major part of a U.S. president’s job description.

Think about our current president, Barack Obama, who evolved from being the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient to conducting a very aggressive foreign policy, orchestrating military actions in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. And then we have Hillary Clinton, who gives every appearance of being even more aggressive than Mr. Obama, waiting in the wings, ready to take over.

What America needs very badly is to see a government in Washington that will adopt a sane foreign policy. That, of course, is far easier said than done; in fact, it will take a political revolution such as Bernie Sanders has been promoting to transform our system of government, completely remove corporate control and its money from all government functions and affairs, which will open the door for a new breed of Americans to step forward to guide America in a new direction; and to do what is right for this country and its people. Then the doctrine of perpetual war will come to an end.

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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