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Your Choice America, War or Economic Survival; You Can't Have Both

By       Message michael payne     Permalink
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Make your choice America and choose wisely because your decision will determine the ultimate fate of this nation. The choices are quite clear. We can choose the Washington Establishment's agenda of perpetual war or we can totally reject unnecessary wars and rebuild the economic foundation of America. There is only one choice; we cannot have it both ways.

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By now every American should be well aware of the breadth and depth of our nation's economic crisis. We should also fully understand that our deep recession is not just the typical economic cycle; i.e., economic prosperity comes, it goes, and repeats again; we have highs and then lows. So, recessions come and go and they, typically, end after two or three years. Not this time, though; this time our economy lies in a comatose state and even the most respected economists can't begin to determine how or when it will, or even can, recover.

Under these extremely dire conditions our government acts like it's business as usual and continues to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the worldwide network of more than 750 military installations. Our military leaders and our very inexperienced Commander-In-Chief Obama, think that they can have it both ways, but they will soon have to come to the stark realization that it is an unsustainable agenda.

Here is just how grave our current situation is: America's total national debit is approaching $13.5 trillion. The U.S. budget deficit for the year 2010 is projected to be at least $1.75 trillion and, believe it or not, it doesn't even include the Pentagon budget of $640 billion or the monumental ongoing costs of conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those two wars have cost America over $1 trillion to date and we're still counting.

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Mr. Obama should listen to experts such as Chalmers Johnson and Andrew Bacevich, well-respected military analysts and observers, who are adamant that our wars and our military empire are unsustainable and are leading us into insolvency. But Mr. Obama has no ears for that and seems to listen only to his military mentors who have only one objective: to aggressively conduct military operations and wars to perpetuate their own existence.

Now here's the other side of the argument that attempts to make the case for continuing to fund that bloated, costly empire. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke in Detroit on August 27th and made this statement: "The most significant threat to our national security is the debt." He then added, "That's why it's so important that the economy move in the right direction, because the strength and the support and the resources that our military uses are directly related to the health of our economy over time."

Here we have the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling the American people that it is imperative that our downward spiraling economy be restored in order to fund the military. What? In other words he's saying, "We need that money for continuing our wars, so please get that economy going again, folks." The audacity is overwhelming.

While I totally disagree with his premise, I commend him for being the only person in the Washington Establishment to admit this truth to the people of America; that those in power steadfastly believe that the U.S. economy's main priority should be to continue to fuel the ever-expanding military empire. So, we need not criticize Admiral Mullen, for he is just doing his job. If President Obama ordered him to wind down our wars and our military empire then he would have to obey that order; however, that's not happening under Mr. Obama's watch.

An Arianna Huffington article April 22, 2010 entitled, "Guns vs. Butter 2010" used this quote by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953; "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, is a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and 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." What a stunning statement coming from a 5-star general and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.

And President Eisenhower, in his farewell presidential address, issued a strong warning to Americans about the extreme dangers of the military-industrial complex. He stated, "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 citizenry 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."

Now who do you suppose that the people of America should listen to in this matter? Chalmers Johnson, who has made a very strong and clear case for the critical need to wind down our massive military empire? Or should we listen to and heed the words of President Eisenhower who, decades ago, warned America of the dire consequences that would follow if we assigned the nation's highest priorities to the conduct of war rather than to the needs of the nation and its people?

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But that's exactly the mistake we are currently making! We have assigned our highest priorities to war and have severely failed to address the domestic needs of the nation and its people we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on our foreign wars while, at the same time, our states are laying off large numbers of teachers, firefighters and police. That is absolutely irrational, irresponsible and unconscionable. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Should we listen to the drums of war and the words of Admiral Mullen who would like the U.S. economy to remain strong for this overriding reason; to perpetuate the wars that are destroying the wealth of America? Or should we continue to listen to President Obama who escalates the deployment of U.S. troops in order to carry out a "mission" that neither he nor any of the zealous supporters of these wars can even begin to explain. The words of our war president, Mr. Obama, are falling on deaf ears as many Americans have now discovered that he fully espouses this war agenda.

Our president can talk all he wants about the end of combat missions in Iraq or the proposed mid-2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan. Believe him if you wish. What he is not telling the American people is that these two nations have now become the latest additions to the military empire and that we will maintain a very costly, on-going troop presence there just as we have for many decades in Germany, the U.K., Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy, and Guam to list just a few.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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