Real Time’s Real Talk About America’s Real Military Industrial Complex Problem (Warning: Video w/ Graphic Language)
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This forum was established to be a voice of reason on criminal justice, faith, economics, education, peace, and other pressing issues of the day. The commitment is non-partisan in the traditions of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In these traditions, this article recognizes a recent edition of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and a Youtube commentary on the segment that offer a candid discussion on American militarism and the military industrial complex. Perspectives not often presented in mass media. We share this information for the benefit to you, the reader. Please take a few minutes to comment below after your consumption.
Over the past several months, a number of articles in this forum provided a framework to understand the core tenets of U.S. foreign policy, particularly as it relates to militarism. These articles, when taken as a whole, advance the following ideas:
1) Despite our claims of a democratic motif, America’s principal objective internationally is to export economic interests. Democracy rarely, if ever, emerges without the emergence of capitalism. Where economic interests of powerful influences in America are met without democracy, political structure (e.g., democracy, communism, etc.) is deemed a secondary concern, tertiary concern, or indeed a non-concern. Indeed, as seen with the rise and deposing of Chile President Salvador Allende, the toppling Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, and our rejection of Hamas’ electoral success in the interim Palestinian National Authority, the U.S. rejects democracy when its geopolitical interests are not served by the results.
2) The military industrial complex is the largest and most consistent beneficiary of America’s welfare state. Rhetoric that focuses on our country’s burden caused by supposed “welfare moms” serves only to distract discussions about the enormous financial burden of wasteful defense spending and unnecessary militarism that only leads to more wasteful spending.
3) Defense contractors at the center of the military enterprise routinely pursue unnecessary taxpayer-funded weapons programs; a practice perpetrated by a system of democracy that increasingly disenfranchises voters. A recent article on the topic examined the $1.51 trillion F-35 Fighter; arguably the quintessential model of U.S. socialism that exists solely to convert public dollars into private wealth. The efforts of benefactors — corporate lobbyists and political campaign donors — enable defense contractors to extract public dollars in ways that threaten the role of voters in a democratic system. And the influence of these powerful interests represents a serious attack on America’s voting franchise.
4) Both political parties have long-standing commitments to needless wars. But in a post-Vietnam era, only wars that pit America against less formidable opponents. We are more like bullies than “the world’s police”, choosing military intervention against small, less powerful nations. In contrast, the U.S. restricts foreign policy to “diplomacy” or simply turning its back when egregious infractions, even humans rights violations, involve powerful nations.
5) Only the actions of our international “foes” merit serious attention by the U.S. We conveniently dismiss, marginalize, or rationalize tyrannical regimes in Burma, where international watch organizations track human rights violations. Israel that continues illegal development of settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories [OPTs] and other injustices; all with the categorical support of the U.S. government. Repressive regimes that have continued in Saudi Arabia even as we have continued our reliance of Saudi oil. And most certainly, while the U.S. shakes its finger at and sends subtle militaristic messages to Syria and Iran, our nation only tacitly criticizes our principal banker, China, that among other things uses the power of its criminal justice system to quiet the voice of internal critics. Our government, while continuing debilitating sanctions against Cuba and taking every opportunity to express outrage about North Korea, conveniently ignores the violations of states that align with our so-called “national interests”. Ultimately, interests trump justice in U.S. foreign policy.
5) Finally, the “ethos” expressed in the above comprise the holy grail of American politics. These political philosophies comprise a litmus test for access to public office. As such, the ethos not only continues under President Obama, but in some ways escalates when one considers our drone bombings in Pakistan and Yemen without declarations of war. In this sense, change has not come under Obama. Neither will it come under his successor. These are tenets of U.S. policy. Pillars respected by administrations, irrespective of the political party in control.
Having made these observations, I stumbled upon an interesting Youtube video that features a Mar. 01 edition of Real Time with Bill Maher. The video is a refreshing change from the punditry found in major media outlets, each tied to one wing of the same militaristic plane. Maher, a professed liberal, acknowledges Obama’s mistake of sending more troops to Afghanistan. This confession the public rarely sees from Obama apologists such as Al Sharpton. But most interesting, is neo-con Bill Kristol’s demonstrated ineptness on the issues. Given the platform he enjoys with conservatives, it is shocking how woefully inadequate Kristol proved to be in this debate.
Take a few minutes to view the video and let us know what you think…
(WARNING: Graphic language that the forum does not promote.)
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