I remember a job interview back in my distant past where I applied for a job in a large aerospace firm. The experience was almost surreal. I was used to my own hours that included considerable unpaid overtime to do the excellent job I expected of myself and fulfill whatever commitments I had made to management regarding scheduling, capabilities and performance. In this interview, I was informed that I would be paid handsomely for four hours work in exactly eight hours but must look busy for the whole time. For me, this was not only culture shock but totally against my nature.
It was in that interview that I learned of something worse than government bureaucracy: bureaucracy of government and private industry working together to fleece the American taxpayer. I had come face-to-face with the American War Machine and I walked out the door without looking back.
Since then, the financial and political leaders of the United States have continued creating senseless and destructive wars as well as concocting a number of these joint projects to legally scam billions of dollars off the rest of us. Ronald Reagan deregulated the finance industry and broke several unions on the behalf of big business. The health care industry is far less efficient than any of the many modern state-run universal health care systems. The banking scams and subsequent banking bailout was a joint venture of big business and big government again working together to transfer taxes to the wealthy. The internet is both faster and cheaper in every other modern country. Our cell phone service is the worst of any modern nation even though we developed the technology.
Compared to the rest of the world, Americans pay through the nose for lousy service: in defense, in health care, in internet service, and in cell phone service, and in government agencies that are designed to support big business at the cost of health, safety, and environmental protections.
In addition, each of us must suffer through the waste of our time, attention and response times by constant and growing advertising on the “free” services we get from our overpriced, low-speed internet providers.
Had we delegated these services to simple government bureaucracies or regulated utilities, we would have a far less expensive, far more responsive system, as evidenced by the rest of the modern world.
We do have the most powerful armed forces in the world today, spending more than the next seven countries combined! But they aren’t defense forces and they aren’t keeping us safe. Instead, they are, and have been for the last century, destabilizing the world with terror and mayhem. In the hands of political agents of big business/big government/big weaponry (despite the rhetoric), our tax dollars do NOT keep us safe. We financed and armed al Quida when they were first getting started. We created ISIS/ISIL — out of thin air and various versions of the Cold War where Russian and American “diplomats” use each other to justify terrorizing Third World country after Third World country. The US and Russia are reviving this successful scam as we speak.
The military actions of US armed forces overseas led almost inevitably to Japan’s entry into the Second World War and the tensions on the Korean Peninsula today. It took a while, but we forced Asia into modern military manufacturing and massive defense expenditures. Why else would a poor, isolated, backwater country spend a quarter of its GDP on weaponry if they didn’t feel threatened?
In Vietnam, we used misleading rhetoric to interfere in the affairs of a country which, when we finally gave up and came home, became an ally against Communist aggression in the region rather than being a part of it.
And in the Middle East, we allowed Great Britain to steal Palestine from the Arabs and give it to European and American Zionists who then proceeded to terrorize the area (look up Stern Gang and Irgun) and, in a number of cases, the region. This, along with unwarranted American military interference in local politics, has, over a century, destabilized the region and created terrorism in direct opposition to our interference. We had no business defending Kuwait, since it was never a real country on its own but a rogue colonial outpost of the NATO alliance and we had no business embargoing Iraq or invading them on false pretenses. The direct result of our military activities in the region is the growing violence, the massive and complicated conflicts.
Why do we do this?
You and I do this because we generally believe that guns and military threats — even of nuclear weapons — keep us safe. We decided this back when we rejected Jimmy Carter’s efforts at peace and stabilization and elected a hawk, Ronald Reagan, who carried out secret and illegal negotiations to destabilize South American governments, disavowed an extension of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East, and embarked on efforts to militarize space.
The amalgamated bureaucracies of America do this because it is about six times as profitable as peaceful coexistence … spelled out in the small book, War is a Racket, written between the First and Second World Wars by Smedley Darlington Butler, a retired and highly decorated 3-star Marine Corps general.
America, you may cherish the illusion of being “great again,” but the cost is your integrity, your safety, and the possibility of peace in the world. We are, at the moment, the world’s biggest bully, rivaled only by our partners in crime, Russia and China. We pick a small, poor, and isolated country such as North Korea and surround it with nuclear weapons on all sides — including in the ocean on hidden submarines just offshore. And we say, “Bad country! You shouldn’t have nuclear weapons. You cannot be trusted.” Meanwhile, we have tons of nuclear weapons — and we’ve used them — on civilians! There is something truly malevolent about this picture and it isn’t the third-generation dictator of impoverished, besieged and embargoed North Korea.
America used to play fair. Sometime along the way, constant advertisements somehow made us greedy. This greed knows no bounds. If we’re millionaires, we strive to be billionaires and if we’re billionaires, we strive for more or we leave the malevolent companies we’ve created in place and try to ameliorate the damage they’re doing through philanthropy.
Meanwhile, Corporate Capitalism runs on autopilot, seeking profit and growth as its only goals. Nobody has the power or the will to stop it.
A gigantic bureaucracy in financing health care grew up out of the ashes of Clinton’s national health care initiative and it’s a greedy, selfish, heartless monster that sucks up money from government, industry, and individuals and doles it out sparingly and erratically to whatever entities manage to force it to provide some service or pay for some treatment. Yes, Obamacare is terrible. What the Republicans are concocting will most likely be much worse. And this greedy, selfish monster was a tiny infant just a few years ago when the First Lady was shouted down because she wasn’t personally elected and the American Medical Association was the second most powerful lobby in Washington, D.C.
Had we done what the rest of the modern world is doing, we would have lower taxes, better health care, safer neighborhoods, and a much smaller military presence in the world. And, maybe, the AMA would still have some influence.
Our claims of “greatness” are an illusion. We murdered three million Vietnamese allies because we saw them going to Moscow for an air defense of Hanoi and mistakenly thought them allied with a “Communist Conspiracy.” We invaded their homes and forced them to leave their farms or be killed. In almost every way imaginable, we terrorized them — and the young men we sent over there to do this to them. When it turned out our simplistic reasoning was flawed and they were actually on our side against the expansion of China’s influence in their region, we steadfastly ignored the facts and maintained our ignorance, our bigotry, and our self-aggrandizing delusions.
We don’t need eleven navies.
We aren’t qualified to be the world’s policeman — for one thing, if recent history is to judge, we’re completely incompetent. Given our current political situation, I don’t think the rest of the world is looking to us as an example of how to conduct themselves. Is it at all possible that we could get humble and look to them?
©David N. Dodson, September 2019