“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citzenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, farewell radio and television address to the American people, Washington, D.C., January 17, 1961.
“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 clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings…Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe…no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of “clear and present danger,” then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent…For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”
― President John F. Kennedy
Although I wholeheartedly agree with the author of the following article, her main point, I believe, is far too little and far too late. Where has this anti-war sentiment been for the last forty-plus years, and for the last eighteen-years in particular? As far as I can tell, America’s die for all out, nuclear worldwide war has already been cast. And therefore, the only path left to peace on earth is for the rest of the world to stomp down hard on the West, and on the US, UK and Israel in particular.
Until my generation (‘baby-boomers’) is dead and gone, this capitalist-swine, warmongering menace from hell will remain a curse on humanity and the planet. The vast majority of my generation, today, have the same patriotic, warmongering mindset that our parents had suffered from.
Fifty-plus years ago, many of us baby-boomers were Vietnam war protesters; we were vehement about ending that war, even to the point of being bludgeoned by the stormtroopers and imprisoned. But as soon as Nixon resigned, and the US Military pulled out of Vietnam, with its tail tucked tightly between its legs, we went back to being exact replicas of our sheep-like/herd-like parents. In fact, we are in this hell on earth today, because of the self-absorbed, willfully-ignorant cowardice of me and my entire generation!
But even after my generation is dead and gone, there will most likely still be enough of this patriotic, warmongering disease left to continue this capitalist curse on humanity and the planet. Therefore, the hope for the continuation of humanity lies with those in the East and the rest of the world. Americans on the left, middle and right, are far too gone/fucked to rise up and put an end to this curse, which they have helped to create and release on the rest of humanity and the planet:
We must stop our nation’s push for relentless war
By Shirley Leung
July 05, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Former president Jimmy Carter recently made a profound and damning statement — the United States is the “most warlike nation in the history of the world.” Carter contrasted the United States with China, saying that China is building high-speed trains for its people while the United States is putting all of its resources into mass destruction. Where are high-speed trains in the United States, Carter appropriately wondered.
As if to prove Carter’s assertion, Vice President Mike Pence told the most recent graduating class at West Point that it “is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. . . . You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.” Clearly referring to Venezuela, Pence continued, “Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.” In other words, Pence declared, war is inevitable, a certainty for this country.
Moreover, it was recently reported that the Pentagon is preparing for war against both Russia and China, even as Trump and his henchmen are openly threatening war against Iran and Venezuela, doubling down on the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan, and aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia in its genocidal war in Yemen. One might think, and certainly hope, that there would be a massive outcry against what appears to be the imminent threat of another world war.
And yet, this threat has been met with near total silence. Indeed, to the extent that the mainstream media have reacted at all to Trump’s war plans, the reaction has been disappointment that Trump is not moving quickly enough toward military aggression. One example was a May 11 New York Times piece, “Trump Said He Would Tame Rogue Nations. Now They Are Challenging Him” — a piece which essentially goaded Trump into using military force against North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.
What the Times and other press sources fail to recognize is that it is the United States that is the rogue state by any true measure. And this truth is not lost on the citizens of the world who, in two global polls, ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.
In the meantime, the promised and desperately needed infrastructure overhaul in this country is barely mentioned anymore; tent cities sheltering the homeless are rising up in nearly every major US city; nearly half of Americans cannot afford basic necessities; and basic health care is still out of reach of millions of Americans.
The mammoth elephant in the room is the insatiable military-industrial complex, which is diverting precious resources away from these causes and toward the cause of destroying other nations. Meanwhile, the US war machine is arguably the greatest contributor in the world to the global warming crisis. And, as a symbol of its environmental threat, the US military just opened an airstrip in the Galapagos Islands.
As the 2020 presidential campaigns begin, it is baffling to witness that none of this is a matter of debate. The one candidate who is willing to broach this subject — military veteran Tulsi Gabbard — is vilified and ridiculed as a result. And yet, don’t people realize that there will be no “Green New Deal,” or “Medicare for All,” or other such laudable social programs as long as we continue down our unending path of war? Indeed, the United States just made history this year by experiencing a historically high increase in the deficit during good economic times, and this is because we are now engaged in deficit spending on war instead of meeting human want.
In the end, the greatest single thing we can do, both for ourselves and for the world, is to stop the United States from starting its next war, while demanding that it end the wars it has already started. We must demand that our government stop putting resources into war and destruction and instead put those resources toward building, meeting human needs, and saving our environment. This will require the rebuilding of the US peace movement, which once helped stop the war in Vietnam and the US war on Central America, and which mobilized record numbers of people in opposing the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Such a peace movement is needed now more than ever, and it is literally a matter of life and death.
Oliver Stone is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author. Dan Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. They both contributed to the new book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How The US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.”
This article was originally published by “Boston Globe” –
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