Obama won the Presidency campaigning as a peacemaker but has approved $40 billion for arms sales to other countries in his first year in the White House compared to the $34.5 billion President G.W. Bush approved in his last year in office according to the US State Department. Bush, who blustered his way into war has been replaced by Obama, a smooth salesman for the US war complex, aka the military, industrial complex or defense industry. Obama has surged the number of troops in Afghanistan; deployed planes, cruise missiles and electronic attacks against Libya; and provided increasing amounts of arms to most of the countries in the Middle East, South Asia and most any other country that wants them.
The war complex relies on war and the threat of war to create their markets. Members of Congress, with defense plants and military bases in their states and districts and war complex contributions in their pockets, put defense spending cuts off-the-table while education, health care and other quality of life programs are cut to the bone. A Commander-in Chief that goes to war, okay sales and gifts of killing tools to almost any country that wants them and takes campaign contributions from the war complex is their kind of President.
According to national security analyst Lawrence Korb, the baseline defense budget has grown for 13 straight years. Between fiscal 1998 and 2011, the budget rose from $271 billion to $580 billion This doesn’t include war costs and the Afghanistan War alone costs us roughly $2 billion per week. The U.S. share of global military spending has jumped from one-third to one-half. If big money is made killing people is anyone exempt from being killed?
A lawyer friend was a White House Fellow assigned as an intern to top officials of the CIA in the late 1970s. A badge wielding agent came to my office and questioned me about his credibility for a top secret security clearance. My friend was in a position among the spooks to hear some inside stuff. Years later after a few drinks one evening he told me what he had heard about intelligence and military officials giving ominous messages to newly sworn in Presidents when they meet their Commander in Chief and explain to him their duty to provide him personal security and intelligence about national security. Nowadays, national security bigwigs are from the United States Intelligence Community(IC) led by the Director of National Intelligence and includes top officers in military intelligence, the CIA and Secret Service. The IC collects and produces foreign and domestic intelligence, contributes to military planning, performs espionage and provides for the President’s personal security. They gather at the White House to brief the President on matters of national security like how he can authorize a nuclear attack with the black box brief case they present him. Finally, their spokesman lowers his voice in a sinister tone and says something like:
“Mr. President you are our new Commander-Chief and you have a very dangerous job. Four of your predecessors have been assassinated and six more survived assassination attempts. We will protect you but you must listen to us about matters of national security and cooperate with us for your personal safety. This video is about the safety issue.”
The new President is shown a video of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
I learned that war is a killer and money maker as a young soldier in basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in 1955. I enjoyed the running and calisthenics but bayonet and machine gun training made me realize what the military is all about. In bayonet training we attached our bayonets to our rifles and ran and stuck a dummy that was “the enemy”. Our trainers had experienced close up killing in Korea and they made us scream “kill, kill, kill” as loud as we could and stick the dummy as hard as we could. If we didn’t holler loud enough or stick the dummy hard enough we had to do all over again. A trainer shouted, “young soldiers this is what the Army is all about, kill or be killed!” I realized then the Army was not for me because I did not want to kill anyone and damn sure didn’t want to be killed.
Later we practiced shooting 30 and 50 caliber machine guns. When we finished the trainers shot up and wasted several boxes of ammunition. I asked my sergeant why they were wasting the expensive ammunition and he muttered, “Shut up young soldier, it’s the Army way.” Is this Obama’s way?
He has awarded 3 Medals of Honor to families of military personnel killed in combat and said each “fallen hero…gave his life…his last full measure of devotion…for our country.” Obama would be a global hero who risked his life for our country and people everywhere by saying “No” to war and the war complex.
TOM TURNIPSEED is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com/