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COMMENTARY: Blood And Treasure

War Pigs Shep Fairey

Artwork by SHEPARD FAIREY

Theodore-RooseveltBY WILLIAM C. HENRY “I pledge allegiance to the arms manufacturers of the United States of America and to the stratocracy for which we yearn.” Ring any bells? It should. As I speak, Republican members of Congress are fighting tooth and nail among themselves to see how much money they can ADD to the $850+ BILLION we already spend every year on the military. So, in the midst of all this right-wing-middle-fingers-up-the-asses-of-America’s-unimaginably-dire-social-and-infrastructure-urgencies, I’m hoping you’ll agree that it might at least be prescient to expose where America currently stands in relation to the world’s other developed nations vis-à-vis unconscionable military overload. After all, these are the very nations we should be living in harrowing dread of imminent attacks from, right?

FYI, folks, we currently spend four times as much on our military as China, nine times as much as Russia, 10 times as much as Saudi Arabia, and 11 times as much as the United Kingdom. In fact, we spend more on our military than the next 12 nations COMBINED (it should be noted that at least 6 of those 12 are considered to be “strong” allies of the United States)! Why does this absurd overkill continue? Three reasons: 1) because we have a couple of political parties in this country that are consumed with further enriching an already disgustingly overindulged military-industrial complex, 2) the magnitude of mutual monetary reward that such overindulgence promotes and sustains enables an addiction even the priciest of rehabs can’t cure; and, 3) because we have a populace entirely too many of whom are either too lazy, too apathetic, too ignorant, too spoiled, and/or too unpatriotic to get up off their fat asses and at least make an effort to pretend that they care!

Trust me, we don’t have a shortage of tax money in this country, we simply have an overabundance of political avarice and populace indifference. Practitioners of the former have been taking advantage of a tuned-out latter since the onset of the Cold War. Read my lips, folks, we can EASILY afford ALL of the decent and necessary things a caring, cultured government should be doing for its citizens, e.g. eradicating homelessness and hunger; providing accessible and affordable healthcare; creating and maintaining sufficient social safety net protections; engineering a safe and sustainable infrastructure throughout the nation; etc., etc.. We just can’t afford all of the really good things and all of the immoral, unethical, shameful and dishonest crap as well. The operative word is, and always has been, “priorities”Incidentally, all that an even barely-concerned citizen needs to know about the “crap” of which I speak is this: In all probability we maintain in excess of 1,000 military bases around the world! I use the terms “probability” and “at least” simply because even the President and the Pentagon don’t know for sure just how many there actually are! Their intrinsic value to the country ranges from imaginary to utterly useless with a great deal of “let’s pretend” taking up the middle. The financial cost to you the taxpayers is in the untold BILLION$ annually — or, in all likelihood, a whole hell of a lot worse!

Wake up and smell the THIEVERY and FRAUD, America! Your taxes are being plundered! You are being set up by a complicit national media and fleeced by a government on the take! But as roughly half — and oftentimes considerably fewer — of us already know, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can stop the shearing, folks. Allowing yourself to get purposely fooled, filched or flimflammed is optional. And, for damn sure, you don’t have to be party to your own economic suicide. Get out of the doldrums. Show a little backbone and cranium for a change. Did I mention that this latest batch of deceitful Republican budget balancers have already proposed that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid be cut with the last two turned into voucher programs, and that the Affordable Care Act be completely dismantled?! Oh, yeah, and they want to see defense spending INCREASED by $40 BILLION!

Don’t you get it, America? Why isn’t it registering? What will it take for this ABOMINATION to finally get your “undivided” attention? You know, I always felt that my father was an extremely astute gentleman. I remember his remarking one day nearly 60 years ago that we were all going to lament the day we no longer had the “General” (Dwight D. Eisenhower) around because we’d probably never be lucky enough to enjoy the likes of his wisdom and decency again: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. … This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?” You sure nailed it that day, Dad. But, then as now, entirely too few were listening.

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.

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