Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Wages of Prosperity

Those who care wonder how the United States ended up as a militarized security state. Logic dictates that as soon as the Soviet Union fell, the rationale for our bloated defense establishment was no more and we should have seen a massive demobilization, especially in the wake of the Vietnam debacle. But instead, our military has spread like a cancerous growth across the face of the earth.

This growth has not caused much of a ripple because the Pentagon has, in effect, gone underground with its all-volunteer army and private contractors. Without mandatory military service funneling young men into the military, the military does not cause as much of a stir on Main Street as it once did, nor do unpopular and unnecessary wars generate the same level of passion and protest as Vietnam.

Many reasons have be put forth to explain this, and all of them contain an element of truth. However, there is one factor that has been overlooked.

A bloated military establishment is a product of prosperity. As long as I have a good paying job and the benefits I feel entitled to are not touched I will tolerate such an establishment, especially since our colonial wars carry all the impact of a video game.

But, what will happen with the money begins to dry up, when states face bankruptcy and services are cut?

What happens when jobs and homes are lost?

What happens when our military-industrial complex is finally recognized for what it is: an expensive bauble we can no longer afford?

What happens when the public finally realizes that the Pentagon is little more than the world’s largest pork barrel?

Is it possible that the public will finally ask why in the hell we are spending $57,000 a minute on Afghanistan when schools are being shuttered and the ranks of the unemployed swell?

Of course, it’s a sad commentary on our society that when the public finally turns against the military it will be for economic reasons. It never occurs to anyone that the bombing of women and children just to keep our military-industrial complex solvent is morally abhorrent.

But then, if you give a boy a toy he just has to play with it.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Frankly speaking

Unknown said...

Case, no one would deny that the military industrial complex is a pork barrel. That's been known since about the fifties, but was probably true long before that. The fact is nobody's done anything about it because all our representatives have become accustomed to the pork barrel benefits that derive from that endeavor. As long as humanity can be bought, nothing is going to change.
You continually criticize the government for its failures as if they were somehow different from the rest of us. They aren't. There membership is drawn from our numbers. If you don't like what you see in Washington the only thing you can do is look in the mirror. You see, Case, we use the wrong language. We conjure up terms like fat cats, politicians, crooks, lawyers as if that had some meaning. It doesn't. The real problem is the "we the people" are not fit to live in a large society. Our behaviors work well in small groups, but once we get beyond a few hundred those same behaviors start getting subverted by our own greed, our own self serving behaviors.
The solution is for humanity to get off its collective dead ass and create the next step in planetary species development. The human genome project needs to figure out what is required for our survival into the future and replace us. Mother Nature is just too glacial to consider as a solution to the problem.
In case you haven't noticed, we are way too prolific. We either create a better zipper or accept the fact that we're going to have to resort to triage. We use our resources to extend our life spans when what we should be doing is ensuring that our children carry forth the best of our heritage and are not burdened by our excesses.
All of which leads me to my real point. This "recession", another man made corruption of the truth, is, in fact, man made. What we are experiencing is simply more of the same. What we are experiencing is the biggest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich we have ever seen. Where do you think our wealth has gone? Where do you think that $30K devaluation of your home went? It didn't just go poof! It went into your neighbor's pocket. While you were busy cutting and pasting words from your thesaurus in grandiose fashion to try to explain how corrupt our government is, your neighbor was picking you pocket and devaluing your home, investments, saving accounts and everything else that smells of money including the lives of your children. The elimination of the draft was a ploy. The replacement scheme is to eliminate jobs so that your children will "have" to go into the service if they don't want to sit home and listen to your tirades about our corrupt government. The "new draft" is "no jobs". The military industrial complex now has an endless source of young men and women to sacrifice to the Gods of Greed, your Congressman.
The only solution is to take a long hard look in that mirror and decide whether you really deserve that 60" flat-screen TV, or that new car in your driveway. The choice is between satisfying your wants for the very lives of your children. Bill Hardy

Ivan Hentschel said...

For as far back as I can dig into history, the amazing constant is that governments can always afford to pay for war, but they can never seem to afford to pay for peace.

Cirze said...


And Ivan, it seems to me that governments can pay for anything that makes someone in power money.

Peace doesn't pay their bills.


Is it possible that the public will finally ask why in the hell we are spending $57,000 a minute on Afghanistan when schools are being shuttered and the ranks of the unemployed swell?