MY BUSINESS—AT LEAST PARTIALLY—IS WAR
OUR TOLERANCE OF IT CONCERNS ME.
AS I WRITE THIS, WE ARE BREAKING THINGS AND KILLING PEOPLE IN MORE COUNTRIES THAN MOST OF US CAN FIND ON A MAP—OR KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT.
WHY DO WE ALLOW THIS? HAS IT NOT OCCURRED TO ANY OF US THAT ACTIONS PROMOTE REACTIONS—AND THAT WE CAN PUT THE LARGE SUMS OF MONEY INVOLVED TO BETTER USES—AND THAT PERHAPS WHAT WE ARE DOING IS MORALLY WRONG?
It is strange the way that we—as a culture—largely seem to have divorced ourselves from the principle that we are responsible for the health of our own democracy—and that the power really lies with “We, the People.”
While being fiercely proud of being American—and regarding the American Way of Life as superior to all others—we have pretty much given up on democracy in practice, and seem content to have had political power slowly peeled away from us.
- We don’t vote in adequate quantities.
- We are alarmingly ignorant of the issues.
- We put little effort into keeping informed.
- For the most part, we don’t protest at the most egregious behavior—and, where a small minority do initiate some action, they are speedily marginalized (often with the aid of law enforcement).
- We tolerate widespread social injustice from the lack of worker rights to the abomination that is our prison system.
- We make war on nation after nation after nation without declaring war—even though that power is specifically allocated to Congress by the Constitution.
- We hold Congress in quite extraordinarily low regard, yet there is no mass movement organized to change it in any way—or even to deal with such blatant political corruption as gerrymandering or other distortions of the democratic system.
- Again and again, we vote the very members of Congress we so despise back into office.
I am deeply attached to this county—and have long believed that, on balance, it is best for the U.S. to be the strongest country militarily in the world. However, when that is combined with the passing of political power to a rich elite—and the abdication by most Americans of any feelings of responsibility for the direction and behavior of this Great Nation, I begin to wonder.
In effect, this bastion of democracy is already a plutocracy—run for the rich and their followers for their own benefit (with We the People being of little concern). Considerable research supports that statement. It is not merely my opinion. Beyond that, the impact of money to buy votes has been demonstrated repeatedly. Big money from a rich few does not always win—but it normally does. A consequence is that you have a one dollar one vote situation—as opposed to one person one vote. It’s is a travesty of genuine democracy—and it is validated by the Supreme Court.
We should be seriously worried about that. Some of us are.
All of that would be bad enough—but when that plutocracy has at its disposal our extraordinary military power—and seem more than happy to use it constantly—in furtherance of its own interests, and in defiance of both our own constitution and international law—we have a problem of a different order of magnitude.
We are in danger of becoming what—in World War II—we found entirely unacceptable, and, after the shedding of much blood and treasure, eventually destroyed.
Apart from arbitrarily invading one country after another—sometimes with some justification (which does not make it legal), but often not—the one aspect of our behavior which we should be particularly ashamed of is our failure to account for the large number of civilians we have killed and injured. I am not suggesting we do it deliberately—indeed I take the view that collateral damage (a revolting phrase) is sometimes inevitable—but we seem to have adopted the position, since we learned it the hard way in Vietnam (where we killed in staggering numbers—yet lost ignominiously) that since body county doesn’t equate with winning, we wouldn’t bother with body count. That puts us in violation of international law—and is morally unacceptable in itself.
At what stage does mass killing of civilians cross over into being a holocaust? By all accounts we killed at least 100,000 in Iraq—and many put the total number as being far higher. Either way, we should know—and there should be accountability.
There is something deeply wrong with this United State’s moral core at present—and, yet again, few of us are doing anything about it. We treat many of our fellow Americans badly, it is alarmingly clear that racism is alive and well, and we have evolved a surveillance state, complete with militarized police forces, of formidable power—which seems quite content to use that power to suppress dissent using whatever means are effective (whether legal or not).
Along with other military thinkers and reformers (a relatively small but interesting bunch which I am proud to be associated with), I have personally put considerable effort into endeavoring to help the U.S. military retain its lead—and intend to continue to do so—but I will confess I am greatly concerned. Am I doing the right thing—or am I part of the problem?
VOR words 845.