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Did we expect anything else from this president? Did we think he would show strong courage and conviction by seizing this brilliant opportunity to withdraw sizable numbers of U.S. troops this year and bring the rest home by the end of 2012? Not really; but many of us still harbored a naÃ¯ve expectation that he might make such a stunning announcement and do what is right for this nation and the world in the cause of peace; he didn't rise to the occasion and he failed us once again.
No, he didn't listen to the millions of those who elected him; once again he caved in to the U.S. military and the defense industry that continue to make obscene profits from these wars. Well, that should be the last straw; it is time that the decision on pursuing these wars be taken out of his hands. It is time that the American people put intense pressure on the Congress to defund these wars and there is a specific way that it can be done.
The 2012 Defense Appropriations bill will shortly be discussed and debated in the Congress. It includes funding of $119 billion for overseas wars. This is the point where the power of the people can be exercised by millions of Americans who must demand that their representatives significantly reduce this funding; if Congress would decrease this funding by one half, the president and the Pentagon would have no choice but to greatly scale back these wars. Yes, the president could and would veto the bill but it could be overriden if the Senate felt intense pressure from the power of the people.
Sure, it may be a long shot but this is the only way that these wars will ever be ended. There is a movement underway by any number of organizations to mobilize millions of Americans against these wars. One of them is the RootsAction Team, who through its website is mobilizing Americans to sign a petition to, Ask Congress To Deny War Funding, copies of which will be sent to their representatives in Congress.
This is how the power of the people can be used in this democracy to bring about change. The power is there for the taking. These movements and mobilizations aren't easy but multi-millions of Americans need to understand that it's time to take a strong stand against these endless wars.
Some well meaning and respected writers such as Robert Parry, in his June 23 article, "Afghan War: No Vietnam Redux", think that too many on the Left and we progressives are being too hard on him, that we should understand that he is trying to "maneuver through the Washington minefield toward a more peaceful world" and, therefore, we need to cut him some slack.
I disagree, we are not being too hard on him; it's been two massive wars, ten years and a tremendous waste of well over a trillion dollars; and, while nation-building has been going on in these occupied nations, America has been falling apart because no funds are available. No, we are not being too hard on him; he is being too tentative and soft. Our taxpayer dollars are fueling these wars that bring only destruction and create nothing of value. The people are tired of not having any voice in how their money is being spent. Enough is enough.
Have you ever once heard Mr. Obama say anything of substance about the need to make reasonable reductions to the $1.3 trillion annual defense budget and that we must establish an appropriate balance between appropriations for defense and domestic needs? I do not recall one instance when he discussed this most critical issue. Is there any reason whatsoever whey he has failed to do so?
Mr. Parry indicated that, because of our criticisms, we may be endangering his chances at reelection in 2012, but I have a different view. If he is allowed to continue to make decisions that are in total opposition to the wishes and, yes, demands of the large majority of the American people, without being challenged to do far more, then he will be personally responsible if the people turn on him and elect a Republican president.
The American people need to get a better understanding of why this nation is caught up in seemingly endless wars; what and who are the driving forces that fuel them. That would be the military-industrial complex (MIC), the most powerful entity in America and here's how it came into existence.
The MIC that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had strongly warned against as he left office in 1961 was initiated at the end of World War II. The massive war industry was already in place and then, after the war ended, the birth of the military empire began when thousands of U.S. troops remained in Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Spain, Japan and numerous nations in Europe and around the world.
There was no way that the huge defense industry was going to dismantle itself so the plan was to continue to find ways to sustain and expand it, and that entailed using national security and wars to justify its existence. The next step was the initiation of the Korean War, promoted and pursued as a means by which to stop North Korea's invasion of South Korea and to stop the spread of communism. It ended in 1953 but, not surprisingly, over 28,000 U.S. troops still remain there to this day.
Then came the Vietnam War in which 58,000 troops died before it ended in 1975. There are no troops stationed there now because all of them were forced to leave the country. Since that time we have seen the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which could have been avoided through more rational and logical thinking; but that's not the way that the MIC and our government operates.
We can fully expect, regardless of what Mr. Obama is currently saying, that when these formal occupations are supposed to end, there will remain 25,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- and the military empire will have expanded again. They will join the existing empire that now includes more than 350,000 U.S. troops stationed at more than 865 military installations in 130 nations around the world.
The MIC, with its military, industrial and financial components, long ago recognized that to maintain its power, influence and massive profits, then war would have to be perpetuated and it has. The empire continues to expand, the wars go on and the members of the MIC prosper. Down through the years their cause has been strongly supported by the Congress, that's why it's sometimes more accurately called the military-industrial-congressional complex, and various presidents. And that's where we find ourselves today, hooked on war.
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