BY WILLIAM C. HENRY In the coming weeks, look for Republicans to offer a percentage point or two increase in the top tax rate in exchange for slashed spending on social welfare programs, and parade it as evidence of their willingness to “compromise.” How magnanimous. Even more deceitful, however, pay particular notice to the fact that neither party will even hint at reasonable, let alone drastic, reductions in our barbarous military squandering — call it the ultimate “hawk” that never gets dredged up and expelled — when they present their respective Pecksniffian “equitable” and “responsible” (do not under any circumstances ever mistake either of those terms for “honest”) solutions to the fiscal impasse. The reason? Fear. Pure, unadulterated, military/industrial complex propaganda and campaign-contribution perpetuated fear. A criminally counterfeit fear engendered in American voters and continually reinforced by their elected representatives through the JFK (and others before him) axiom, “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.” That lie was and is the criminally duplicitous one of America’s vulnerability, the staggeringly unfounded fear and repercussions from which have been sending tremors through hoodwinked, uninformed Americans and their spineless, complicit politicos for half a century.
Did you know that, as taxpayers, you and I support 1000+ military bases outside our borders (nobody knows for certain just how many there actually are because the existence of so many of them have been kept secret for ages). I suspect that even Attila the Hun would agree that that’s probably a few more than necessary given the fact that all other nations combined maintain about a dozen! Did you know that we spend more on our military than the next 15 countries put together? Did you know that we lavish six times more on our military than does our nearest competitor, China? The waste, fraud and corruption within the Department of Defense aren’t just disgusting, they’re legendarily so. We fill our cemeteries and empty our coffers on fraudulent, unwarranted wars many of which (can you spell: Vietnam, Lebanon, and Iraq) we were tricked into believing were vital to the national interest by deceitful or lamebrain (or both) leaderships that couldn’t reason or research their way through a middle school homework assignment, let alone the abstruse calculus of geopolitical chess play. We continue to spill ghastly amounts of American blood and treasure on an ill-conceived nation-building-turned-face-saving-farce which has decomposed into nothing more than a futile exercise in propping up the second most corrupt government on the face of the earth. And if that’s not enough, we’ve got an opposition political party that would like to turn Iran into the next American engendered wasteland.
All of which brings me back to the beginning. Folks, it looks like we’re cursed with a Congress and President who would prefer to balance America’s books on the backs of its middle and poorer classes rather than exhibit the courage and decency to reallocate the trillion dollars plus spent annually bleeding this country and others to death, literally; elected representatives who would rather protect their own selfish, survival interests than properly safeguard the health, retirement and special needs of all Americans. It’s not a pretty picture. This great nation can securely exist, even thrive, on less than a third of its current defense expenditures. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars annually we could be using to reduce the national debt and provide necessary services to our citizenry. But that’s not going to happen until we demand that our politicians bring some humanity, sanity and common sense to the budget process. A little honesty wouldn’t hurt either. Jason Stearns’ insight is just as apropos to our current situation as it was to its originally intended: “As so often happens in politics, what appears to be politically expedient for those in power rarely overlaps with the public interest. The lesser evils of the regime become entrenched, while the greater good is never realized.” It doesn’t have to be that way. It only happens because our complacency and/or ignorance allows it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.