By John W. Whitehead
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison
Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria) isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.
In fact, it’s a wonder the economy hasn’t collapsed yet.
Indeed, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs. Even then, government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and taxes raised.
You do the math.
Clearly, war has become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.
Yet what most Americans—brainwashed into believing that patriotism means supporting the war machine—fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.
The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and now Syria. However, the one that remains constant is that those who run the government—including the current president—are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex and fattening the bank accounts of its investors.
Case in point: President Trump plans to “beef up” military spending while slashing funding for the environment, civil rights protections, the arts, minority-owned businesses, public broadcasting, Amtrak, rural airports and interstates.
In other words, in order to fund this burgeoning military empire that polices the globe, the U.S. government is prepared to bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse.
Obviously, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.
Surely there are much better uses for your taxpayer funds than trillions of dollars being wasted on war? The following are just a few ways those hard-earned dollars could be used:
As long as “we the people” continue to allow the government to wage its costly, meaningless, endless wars abroad, the American homeland will continue to suffer: our roads will crumble, our bridges will fail, our schools will fall into disrepair, our drinking water will become undrinkable, our communities will destabilize, and crime will rise.
Here’s the kicker, though: if the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.
Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all military empires fail.
At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson warns, “Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy.”
More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the military industrial complex endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
We failed to heed his warning.
The consequences, as Eisenhower recognized, of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage endless wars, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Wake up, America. There’s not much time left before we reach the zero hour.