Friday, April 29, 2005

Hawks on Steroids 

I just finished reading an article by Michael Fitzgerald in the Utne Reader (it was originally published in The Humanist) called “The Permanent War.” (Read Article in WORD)

His thesis is that the USA has had to be in an ongoing state of war since 1945 in order to maintain its economy. Not a new idea, but he argues this notion well, and makes sense of it better than the Socialist Party does. It starts out like this:

It’s tempting to believe that a change in which political party is in power could bring a major change in US foreign policy. But it isn’t really so. The problem isn’t in the White House or Congress; it’s structural, built into our economy. The fact is, there are just too many people in the United States who are dependent on war for their livelihoods…

and then goes to this:

War or the threat of war is the ultimate economic stimulus. It’s capitalism on steroids. Prolonged use creates unprecedented growth, but the upside isn’t worth the risks. The steroids metaphor is especially apt—side effects include euphoria, confusion, pathological anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and even violent criminal behavior—and users can easily become addicted…to money.

He notes that Eisenhower, ironically a Republican, was the one who warned us about the unholy wedding of industry and the military. He notes that this matrimonial alliance is all about money, and he notes that all administrations from Truman on up have not been in favor of a divorce, even if personally opposed, because a divorce would mean the collapse of the economy. I remember discussions of this back in the early sixties, but it was a bare hum. As the Vietnam protests began—and Fitzgerald notes this—the message was simplified into dollars and cents. But the dots were never very well connected, and the danger has just grown since then.

Capitalism holding hands with militarism holding hands with megacorporations. Of course, socialists and lefties have argued this for years, but Fitzgerald draws the lines together well.

And of course during administrations like the one we’re saddled with now, there isn’t even a reasonable guise of covering the greed. It’s true—all the symptoms of militacapitalism are there in Bushco: “euphoria, confusion, pathological anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and even violent criminal behavior.” And it’s worse now because a new partner has come to the marriage: fundamentalist religion, also strung out on the steroids.

Case in point: tactical nukes. According to the Washington Post,

On Capitol Hill yesterday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld faced incredulity from at least one senator on why the administration is pursuing the [nuclear] weapons.

"It is beyond me as to why you're proceeding with this program when the laws of physics won't allow a missile to be driven deeply enough to retain the fallout, which will spew in hundreds of millions of cubic feet if it's at 100 kilotons," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a subcommittee hearing of the Appropriations Committee.

Rumsfeld replied that 70 countries are pursuing "activities underground" using technology that allows them to burrow into solid rock the length of a basketball court in a single day.
"At the present time, we don't have a capability of dealing with that. We can't go in there and get at things in solid rock underground," he said. "The only thing we have is very large, very dirty, big nuclear weapons. So . . . do we want to have nothing and only a large, dirty nuclear weapon, or would we rather have something in between?"

Big and dirty, indeed. And look at the vote on war spending. Congressional Democrats line up behind Bush request for $80 billion in war spending

This is why I became a Green. But don’t get me wrong, I am intent on helping rebuild the Dems. It’s the only thing that might work. But the road is long, and there are many juiced up hawks and fundies and CEO’s on the way, all holding hands and humming.

corrente SBL - New Location
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