Monday, July 05, 2004

A Patriotic Quote

As we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday and witness the presentation of capitalism as patriotism, I think it's important to remember recent history.

Since World War II, we have not won a war.

Sure, we defeated Panama in a battle for something I have never quite fully understood. I would hope this is not seen as a great success by our military.

We defeated Grenada in a battle for a landing strip we insist was built by the Cubans. Does Grenada even have a military? Whom did we defeat?

We succeeded in re-seating a nearly-fascist government in Kuwait, a country whose laws include apartheid-like separation of privileges based on ethnicity, and we did it in the name of restoring freedom. OK, just so you know, there is no freedom in Kuwait! Never has been! It is a sheikdom! Freedom is not available to anyone who is not part of the Kuwaiti royal family and their close cohorts.

We lost Korea, we lost VietNam, we are not winning Iraq.

Do you ever wonder why this is?

I think I have an answer: the contracting-out of military jobs so our wars can be run by corporations instead of generals. Since the 1950s, we have been selling the most vital military jobs to the lowest bidder, to companies only interested in their profit-margin, not the implementation of freedom or righteousness.

When this trend began, our president was a former general, a military man himself. His name was Dwight Eisenhower, and he said:

"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

I don't know much about military tactics. I was never in the armed services, nor have I read about or studied the history of war; but I don't think one needs an intimate knowledge of any industry to know that hiring consultants is almost always a bad idea.

Whether re-aligning a workplace or developing a security strategy, consultants are usually paid more than they are worth and rarely, if ever, provide a workable solution to the problem at hand.

When we are talking about life and death and war and battles and billions in taxpayer dollars, I think this inadequacy is more glaring and frighteningly dangerous.

War fought only for the acquisition of resources available on the open market (like the current Iraq war) is immoral, and it is unwinnable when led by corporations whose sole interest is profit, not freedom.

Ladies and gentlemen, we were warned fifty years ago, and we have not heeded the warnings of one of our own generals and presidents; and we have not won a war since. We get bogged down in military quagmires run by CEOs in Houston and Denver and San Diego, and our own military ignored.

Now these people, these CEOs and security consultants, roam the halls of congress and the corridors and back rooms of the White House, dictating policy for one end: personal gain.

How can we trust these consultants? Their jobs are to make money, not protect us! They are in the business of making money, not winning wars!

As long as we are letting private contractors dictate our military strategy, we will lose.

Stop this war.


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