In my line of work, military veterans and active duty troops comment, "You are so negative about the US military. What about someone like me who is proud of my military service?"
Indeed, I know many veterans and active duty troops who are proud of their service. One person I know very well served in Afghanistan and Iraq with the 82nd Airborne and as an Army Ranger. He also served in Baghdad as a Special Forces medic. I know him -- and I love him. He is my son.
That my son and many others like him are proud of their service does not mean, however, that the US military is not the enforcer for US foreign policy. Nor does it mean that the US military is not the instrument used to pacify populations and make their lands compliant to US corporate penetration.
Americans-- troops and civilians-- are honorable people who often don't understand the underpinnings of our foreign policy. And, let's face it, few red blooded Americans trying to hold on to a job and a house and support a family have the time to read anything anymore, never mind government documents dealing with arcane foreign policy objectives. Just the titles bore us stiff: the National Security Strategy of the United States; the Quadrennial Defense Review Report; PNAC; the Patriot Act.
Many Americans struggle with the notion that our military -- financed by our tax dollars -- is used to force open foreign markets for big corporations -- that barely pay taxes at all.
It is all so difficult to believe...and so confusing. After all, we're American: we believe in democracy, in freedom of choice, and in the rights of the individual.
We help other countries.
We help other people.
Everyday, our media, our intelligent Nobel Prize-winning president and, by extension, his fashionable wife, our teachers, our elected officials, the Pentagon, and Congress consistently tell us that "terrorists" threaten our "National Security" and we must "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here at home".
Oh, sure, the nay-sayers, "the Left," the anti-war hippie peaceniks, the environmentalists, and the Socialists suggest that US policies and worldview are the root causes of the terrorism that threatens us. But what kind of downer message is that for our honorable troops who volunteered to put their lives on the line to keep us safe?
Yes, it takes intestinal fortitude to acknowledge that our troops -- beloved sons, daughters, wives, and husbands -- are cynically misused by our political leadership under the sway of corporate capitalism.
But not wanting to acknowledge it doesn't mean that our troops are not used this way.
One doesn't have to read foreign policy documents to understand the meaning behind VP Joe Biden's recent jaunt to Iraq on behalf of the U.S. oil giants. Biden urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to "resist the temptation to demand hefty payments from the international oil companies as the price for doing business with the new Iraq." Lacking any sense of irony, Biden recommended that "it's in the interest of every Iraqi to accept a smaller piece of a much bigger pie."
As our nation's financial system falters and We, the People recognize that we've been fleeced by corporatism for decades, isn't it in the interests of the corporations to accept a smaller piece of the pie?