Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does Our President Fear the War Complex?

Would Obama Die for His Country?

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 Bush, who blustered his way into war has been replaced by Obama, a smooth salesman for the US war complex, aka the military, industrial complex or defense industry.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 fisca
l 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.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, there is so much here. I have to admit that I was totally suckered into voting for Mr. Obama. He was so convincing. We had tried war as our primary means of getting along in the world and it had failed. Wasn't it time that we tried waging peace? I was all in. People don't think about the pressure the military has on the executive branch, and war and weapons as a way of life. Thanks for making that so clear.

    The fact that we keep dumping arms into the world has come back to bite us time after time. We continuously hold on to the notion that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But alliances change so fast, that our "friends" often quickly become our enemies.

    I don't think that most people would admit it, but there is also the vile mindset that lives - outside of American lives - are cheap. Can you imagine the loss of life after the first few days of the Iraq invasion? I think the US sent out 25,000 bombing missions during the first few days of the invasion. IF ONLY 4 people were killed in each one, that would be 100,000 lives lost. In just a few days. People just like you and me and our wives and the children I teach and your clients and our children and grandchildren and our neighbors.

    War is horrifying. Period. There is nothing glorious about it. Not VFW memberships, not war stories, not medals of honor, not folded flags.

    Who feels safer?

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Tim.

    I worked for Obama's election also. I liked him because he said he was a peacemaker and was so articulate.

    I had a conversation a couple of months ago with another former US intelligence agent who has become disillusioned with our intelligence system. He said he had heard much the same thing as my friend had told me about 20 years ago about the scare put on new presidents.

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  3. Excellent post.
    I have called O The Manchurian Candidate from the get-go.
    His Noble Peace prize was a farce.
    His Cairo speech was a scam sham.
    IMO O was groomed for this position long ago.


    His whole demeanor changed after he became the president elect.
    This was the time that they started briefing him of things to come, and things that were NOT to come.

    JFK was the last honorable President this country had.
    He knowingly gave his life for his honor after his last few speeches.
    The MIC and the system was not going to allow a president like him to stay in office.
    All the others since have played ball with the [for your eyes only] guys.

    O is now a member of the war of choice Presidents.
    He is, an has been beholden to Wall St. just as the others before him.

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  4. Reality Zone, you are telling it like it is, at least from my perspective. If we spread the word and convince others to join us in a non-violent revolution for peace and social justice we'll doing everyone a favor.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Unfortunately I o not believe that spreading the word will be enough.
    The masses are in their own comfort zone. A zone of denial.

    This will only change once the real pain comes to America.
    At the rate that the Global Corps, the MIC, the Media, the Banksters, the bought an paid for politicians are going.
    That pain will come sooner than later.
    Perhaps that will be for the best.
    We have to start from scratch.
    The Corporate States of America will lead us straight toward Fascism.

    Our system is corrupt, and thus it is also dysfunctional.
    The masses have chosen security over freedom.

    We deserve the best government that money can buy. :-)

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  6. Judy and I are sponsors of an organization called Homeless Helping Homeless which works to transition homeless people into situations where they can get off the streets and have a place to live and enough to eat.

    Maybe we should all exercise our first amendment rights to assemble and get in the streets with them.

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  7. Mark WhittingtonMay 4, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    Hi Tom and Judy,

    It's good to hear from you. I hope you both are doing well. I was just going through some old e-mails, and I happened across Judy's e-mail of April 24th.

    It seems that war is more popular than ever. We've changed presidents, but the system of perpetual war hasn't changed one iota.

    The rhetoric of war has changed though over the years. Today, it's clean and easy-with joysticks and Predator drones. You can blow away your enemy in your office in the morning, and be home by five.

    Pundits on T.V., who are often former generals, constantly talk about the professionalism of the troops and about how proud they are of the "professional" volunteer military.

    I often contrast this kind of talk with the conversations I had with my dad and uncles who fought in WWII (i.e., Saving Private Ryan style).

    My dad was in the CCCs at the time, and he joined the Navy (like father, like son) because he knew was going to be drafted into the Army anyway. My uncles were in the Army Air Corps, the Marines, and the Army. None of these men glorified war in any way whatsoever. They did what they had to do because they understood that Western Civilization itself was under the attack from Fascism. Actually, they hated war, and saw it only as the very last measure. Many decades after the war, they still didn't like talking about the actual combat they experienced.

    If my dad and uncles were alive today, I can only imagine the visceral reaction I would receive if I called them "professional" soldiers. In their minds, that would have been tantamount to calling them mercenaries, and they would deeply resent it.

    Incidentally, I never once heard any stories about torture or coercion of Japanese or German soldiers. One of my dad's duties on his LCT (Landing Craft Tank)during the war was to separate American Soldiers from Japanese prisoners of war after they would pull out of battles in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. His ship was small, so he was literally an armed sentry put between the two to make sure that no atrocity happened, and that good order was maintained aboard the ship.

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  8. Thanks for your comment, Mark.

    Just the other day, someone mentioned what great political courage you had back when we were raising hell about the made-up, outright lies that were used to launch the Iraq blood bath. The war complex that includes big media corporations, Hollywood movie moguls and video games makers has sold the American people on the idea that war and violence are as American as apple pie. People love such violence and killings as the Osama bin Laden drama. Remember when Bush said we wanted bin Laden "dead or alive" as they would say in a western movie shoot-um-up.

    I appreciate you relating how your family members felt about the military in WWII.

    Where are residing these days?

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  9. Mark WhittingtonMay 6, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    I still live right here in Columbia (same phone number). After the 2002 congressional campaign, I spent about four months in my spare time writing a model economy computer program that predicts societal wealth distributions (it works for the stock market too).

    Since then I've spent much time with my family. My son Christian has turned out to be a fine young man and a talented musician. My wife Jackie and I have a good marriage and friendship. I've been at the same job for the past five years programming and repairing industrial machines. I spent a fair amount of time designing a workable thermal solar power system.

    Speaking of courage, you're not in short supply of that yourself. If you had sold out, there is no doubt in my mind that you would have been a US Senator or some high power lobbyist. You're definitely one of the most rhetorically gifted men in the U.S..

    But your conscious told you to do something else. You're man of "good character" in the Southern tradition. You've taken the honorable road as you've seen it. There is a price to pay for doing the right thing as you know.

    If we had not taken action when we did against the war and the throng of lies that the war was based upon, there's no telling what could of happened in the U.S.. I'm very proud of all the
    people who made their voices heard. Thousands of people appeared at the State House, for example.
    I remember you commenting on all of the Republicans who came to the protest as well.

    It wasn't easy. A complicit Republican party in conjunction with a reticent Democratic party and news media made for tough going. After the so called "Patriot Act" was passed, near silence fell across the U.S.. We were the last bastion against what could have turned into outright fascism. It wasn't until years later that the mainstream democrats got the gumption to stand up to the republicans using the rhetoric of the progressive left. In that sense, our efforts were an outstanding success. We all should be proud.

    Thanks for reading this. Man, it would be great if you made a documentary and put it on Netflix.
    All the best.

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  10. It is good to hear that you and your family are doing well and that you are still living in Columbia. We'll have to get together and further update each other on what's happening.

    Speaking of documentaries, I've been featured in a couple of them in the past three years. One was Boogie Man about Lee Atwater on PBS's Frontline and another was a Tom Brokaw special on the History Channel called 1968 (if I remember the name correctly), that was based on his best-selling book; Boom, Voices of the Sixties and Today.

    I know that that you attended the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Columbia for awhile. You should come back and hear and meet our minister Neal Jones who is about as good as they come.

    Thanks for the nice comments.

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  11. I am tremendously disappointed in Barack Obama as a Progressive political leader. But I am not disappointed in him as a talented chief executive. No one else in the Democratic party comes close. (Where else would you look?) I would not hesitate to work for his reelection.

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  12. Thanks for your comment Mr. Rawles.

    Mr. Obama is a very talented chief executive of the Corporate States of America. He is marginally better on progressive issues than most Republicans. But Obama also serves big moneyed interests who have a stranglehold on both of our tweedle-dee-dee, treedle-dee-dum Democratic and Republican parties in our two party system of government. The reason we don't have any more choices than tweedle-dee-dee or tweedle-dee-dum is that it is easier for big corporate interests to buy off two parties than more than two. It is done with influence peddling like campaign contributions, insider stock tips and other corruption which allows members of the US Senate and House who stay in office a few terms to become millionaires.

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  13. I agree that we need to put pressure on the president and the congress to build a peaceful green economy but we are not going to get this as long as the military industrial complex continues to siphon trillions away from our economy. I say cut all defense related spending in half and bring troops home from all overseas bases unless the countries those bases are in vote to pay for our presence. There is a strategy to make this happen and it largely depends on what SC progressives decide to do in the 2012 primary.

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  14. Thanks for you comments Cornelius. I agree with you about the waste of our resources on war. But, are there enough anti-war Progressives in South Carolina to be able to win anything in a state that worships the military-industrial complex (aka war complex)? SC has the most per capita military spending in it than any other state and our media glorifies the military every day.

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