In 1935, a book was published, War Is a Racket , by retired Marine General Smedley Butler. In this brief book Butler embellishes his belief that our nation’s foreign policy was controlled and manipulated by private corporate interests… all in the name of greed. Wars, invasions and occupations by our military, according to General Butler, were all predicated on the desire for profit by corporations. He himself called his past life as a Marine general as being a gangster for these private industrial interests. He used WW1 as an example of who made the profits for our military being sent ‘Over there’. Apparently, most of our American public at that time could not care less for what Smedley Butler was selling.
In January of 1961, retiring President Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell address. In it, this cold warrior made a sort of indirect mea culpa as to the “vast military industrial complex…” as he put it. Ike knew just how diabolical this network of war making corporations could be. As president he himself did many dirty deeds in the name of ‘fighting communism’. A whole list of countries that the United States pushed our sabers into, whether overtly or most often covertly, defines how we will be recorded by truthful historians… however few and far between they may be. Our current position as the world’s superpower is the bastard child of this greedy and corrupting military industrial complex… simply known to many as an empire.
This writer stands with sign in hand each week to once again sound the alarm bells that General Butler and President Eisenhower rang. I join with many others who want to finally curtail and pullback this military industrial empire. Many of us are progressives and libertarians politically… it does not matter. The truth of it all is that if this obscene and financially disastrous military spending is not cut drastically, our great nation will crumble from within. No terrorist attack could do as much damage as that! There is a movement nationwide to get the Congress to cut this tragically high spending by a minimum of 25%. Since 2001, military spending has almost doubled! It now hovers at over $560 billion a year, or 56 cents of every tax dollar we each send to Uncle Sam. Imagine if even one half of that savings went back to each state and its cities’ budgets? The city of Daytona Beach nearby, for example, would receive 35 million dollars a year. That amount would wipe out all of the cuts in services for that community…. Just with half of the savings from the 25% cuts in military spending. We could then shut down our 800+ overseas military bases and hundreds of thousands of our troops would return home, at more savings. With our powerful navy and our satellite technology, America would still be safer than it is now. Why? Well, when you take your boot off of the throat of someone, they can breathe easier, yes?
It is time for the fine and dedicated Occupy movement members and the equally important labor union movement to get on board with but one focus: Pullback this military empire! All the other peripherals such as greedy Wall Street, terrible foreclosures, viable and real health care reform, layoffs etc are all connected to this overzealous military empire. It is time for we who ‘know better’ to be role models for the majority of Americans who still buy into the mainstream media’s hype and spin. There is no major difference, so far as this military industrial empire goes, between the two major political parties. Yes, the Republicans are more caustic, but the Democrats are more diabolical by their hypocrisy. When a libertarian conservative like Ron Paul agrees with a lifelong progressive like Ralph Nader….
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on the fine Dandelion Salad site), an environmental products sales rep and an activist. Since 2010, Philip is a spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at email@example.com.