"America can't afford any more war."
So what has got my knickers in a twist this time? Well. Recently, the Taliban (yes, that Taliban) attacked an American military base in Afghanistan and apparently kept our guys under siege from 4:00 am in the morning through most of the rest of the day. Nine US soldiers were killed.
"But, Jane," you might say, "war is like that. And the Taliban were repulsed eventually. So what's the big deal?"
But our vast military commitments don't just end there. Now we've also got that whole mess in Georgia, where our troops and financial resources are currently engaged up to their eyebrows in bringing in "humanitarian" relief -- causing Russia to get totally pissed off at us because Washington is flaunting military posturing within miles of its borders and Putin is threatening to start up the Cold War again -- which gives Washington an excuse for committing to the added expense of money and troops necessary to build a huge anti-missile defense system in Poland.
Plus we have to be prepared for other long-range financial and troop commitments as well. China is currently battling us in a surrogate situation in Darfur. And we have all those troops in South Korea just in case North Korea decides to get uppity. And our military is currently spending many billions of dollars to equip and train soldiers to be ready for attacks here at home. And then we have Israel, America's mini-me, who is always threatening to bomb the heck out of Lebanon, Syria and Iran -- so multiple billions of our tax dollars have to go toward propping up that ally, so it can afford to maintain its current "bantam rooster" co*k-of-the-walk posture in the Middle East, a posture that would deflate like a balloon if US taxpayers ever stopped supporting its strut.
You do the math.
Our soldiers are supposed to be holding down the fort here in America, fighting insurgents in Iraq, dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan AND also be taking on Russia, China, South America and Iran? Yep. That's the plan. And not only that but we American taxpayers are supposed to pay for all this too. And we ARE paying for it -- at the expense of healthcare and education and infrastructure repair. Which causes Jim Grant of the Wall Street Journal to ask why Americans continue to put up with this unbalanced and unstable situation. "Why no outrage?" he asks.
Paul B. Farrell at MarketWatch has the answer to that one. "America's economy is a war economy. Not a 'manufacturing' economy. Not an 'agricultural' economy. Nor a 'service' economy. Not even a 'consumer' economy. Seriously, I looked into your eyes, America, saw deep into your soul. So let's get honest and officially call it 'America's Outrageous War Economy.' Admit it: we secretly love our war economy. And that's the answer to Jim Grant's thought-provoking question last month in the Wall Street Journal -- 'Why No Outrage?' There really is only one answer: Deep inside we love war..... Why else are Americans so eager and willing to surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world's total military budgets?"
The current economy, culture and philosophy of America today, following a pattern once set by the ancient Greek state of Sparta, now appears to completely revolve around "war" -- and Americans seem to like it that way too.
But at the rate that things are going with regard to America's current love affair with war, this passionate relationship is both unstable and doomed. It cannot last forever. And we are going to be in big trouble really soon if we just continue to sit back, go along for the ride, and watch America's economic and physical resources continue to melt away right before our very eyes -- like some military-industrial complex Wicked Witch of the West.
"But Jane," argued a journalist friend of mine, "you've got it all wrong. The corporations that control the decision-making process in Washington make their money by selling weapons and provisioning wars. They just want to make money off the military. They don't want to actually go out and conquer countries and stuff. That would force them to deal with the HUMAN factor. I think they would prefer it if we just gave them money to spend on manufacturing missile systems that don't work, dreaming up Star Wars-type fantasy projects and creating fabulous new sci-fi secret weapons that no one will use -- and letting the messy stuff slide."
But the journalist also brought up another interesting point. "Right now, nearly the entire US military is either in Afghanistan and Iraq or going to or coming from those two mouse-sized countries. And, according to some, nearly the entire military machine is stretched as tight as a rubber band ready to snap. And we are going to need a lot more rubber if the powers-that-be plan to keep stretching the machine. We will need to either re-start the draft -- or to leave Afghanistan and Iraq."