Defense spending ruining country

Published 10:22 am Thursday, November 1, 2012

“There is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security, but it can bankrupt itself morally and economically in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone.” — Dwight Eisenhower

“Of course, the people don’t want war. It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along … tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Hitler’s propagandist Herman Goerring

“I was … a gangster for capitalism.” — two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler

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I have read a lot of outrageous statements over the course of this presidential campaign, but the idea that if re-elected Barack Obama would decimate the military is probably the most ridiculous. If only he would! President Eisenhower warned about “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” of the military-industrial complex. He originally wrote “the military-industrial-congressional complex,” but was advised to omit the word “congressional.”

Ike was afraid the needs of military-industrial corporations would come to determine policy, such as the policy of making war, and he considered excess military spending “a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.”

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but the war with Iraq had everything to do with who controlled its oil. That Dick Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, was the largest single financial recipient of that war is a chilling example of Ike’s fears realized.

“The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.” — Richard Dearlove, head of Britain’s MI6, July 23, 2002

There is incredible waste in the military budget — I am old enough to remember the $800 toilet seats and $600 hammers of 40 years ago — but even Obama will not cut the military budget significantly because, as Ike feared, corporate money rules our government. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson wants to cut defense spending by 43 percent, bringing it back to 2003 levels. If only I could vote for him. Or Jill Stein. Or? If only they could be heard! The F-22, which even the military says will never be used, is still being produced because building it provides jobs in 44 states and Congress people voting to ax it would have to run against opponents accusing them of destroying jobs. Candidates are accused of being “weak on defense” if they even suggest any cuts. And, as Goerring said, people are fear-mongered into believing them, but it is defense spending — trying to rule the world — that brings most superpowers down. Paying for our wars is not even included in the military budget. Special appropriations are voted separately for that purpose.

And please don’t tell me I hate America! I believe as the late Sen. George McGovern did that. “True patriotism is a love of country so deep it calls her to a higher standard.”


Lonna Gooden Van Horn