This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
The United States Military is the greatest destabilizing force in the world today. With over 700 bases in over 130 countries its tentacles extend to every corner of the earth. In its current incarnation, under the rubric of the war on terror, the military is being employed for the sole purpose of securing the world’s dwindling resources (primarily oil and natural gas) The devastation and human suffering generated by this escalation in violence has thrown entire regions into turmoil, leaving both Iraq and Afghanistan without any strong central governments and without any reasonable antidote to the massive security vacuum precipitated by the war.
Any platform for the Democratic Party is unacceptable if it fails to address the true needs of the world community by dramatically reducing the size of this military Goliath.
The Military now ingests $400 Billion per year of budgetary expenses; a 35% increase under George Bush. This does not include what will certainly be hefty allocations for ongoing activities in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, one half of all tax dollars collected is now being provided to a military whose budget exceeds its nearest competitor by ten fold.
A MILITARY THAT EXCEEDS ITS NEAREST RIVAL BY TEN TIMES IS NOT DESIGNED FOR DEFENSE, BUT AGGRESSION.
Judge for yourselves how the military is being used and whose interests it serves. The lack of WMD in Iraq hardly put a wrinkle in the Bush Administration’s slick public relations campaign. Their purposes were achieved without the bothersome proof of Iraqi weapons. The military was deployed to Iraq as a resource acquisition tool that serves the interests of international financial institutions, weapons manufacturers and big oil. In this regard they acquitted themselves quite handsomely. Other that that, no ones interest was served. Now, that same military is performing the requisite "mopping up" duties, providing security for the corporations that are "joined-at-the-hip" with our current administration.
We must consider this new paradigm when politicians suggest that the military functions in the interests of national security. It does not; Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate that convincingly.
The American citizen is directly complicit in perpetuating this military menace. The full weight of procurements is borne on the back of the American taxpayer. His function, in the Bush scheme of things, is to provide endless resources to facilitate the conquests and adventurism of those in power. He alone must see through this ruse and act accordingly.
The present trajectory of military spending is breathtaking. The programs added during the last three years have included, space based military systems, low yield "bunker busting" nuclear weapons and SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative). These programs are not designed for defense, but domination; domination that is threatening our standing in the world, generating more terrorism, and eroding civil liberties at home.
The path is clear. The leadership of the Democratic Party needs to expose this charade and chart a course for the systematic dismantling of the military. We must reduce our armed forces to a size that represents a realistic (not paranoid) appreciation of the threats we face and our basic security interests. We must reestablish ties with the world community to defend ourselves collectively against the challenges of terrorism and political upheaval, keeping in mind that the greatest contribution we can make towards stability in the world comes in the form of justice, not force.
The architects in Washington have engendered a Frankenstein that is putting the entire world in peril. We will either succeed in wresting this monster from the hands of corporate interests or suffer the consequences. Only our resolve will determine whether the aggression, instability and misery will continue.
There’s a better way.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org