This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute.
“Let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves…. together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning. From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America. From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.”—George S. McGovern, former Senator and presidential candidate
I agree wholeheartedly with George S. McGovern, a former Senator and presidential candidate who opposed the Vietnam War, about one thing: I’m sick of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.
It’s time to bring our troops home.
Bring them home from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea, and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad, and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.
That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.
The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world. Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”
Don’t fall for the propaganda, though: America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.
The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”
This is how a military empire occupies the globe.
Already, American military service people are being deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere in anticipation of the war drums being sounded over Iran.
This Iran crisis, salivated over by the neocons since prior to the Iraq War and manufactured by war hawks who want to jumpstart the next world war, has been a long time coming.
Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton: they all have done their part to ensure that the military-industrial complex can continue to get rich at taxpayer expense.
Take President Trump, for instance.
Despite numerous campaign promises to stop America’s “endless wars,” once elected, Trump has done a complete about-face, deploying greater numbers of troops to the Middle East, ramping up the war rhetoric, and padding the pockets of defense contractors. Indeed, Trump is even refusing to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in the face of a request from the Iraqi government for us to leave.
Obama was no different: he also pledged—if elected—to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce America’s oversized, and overly costly, military footprint in the world. Of course, that didn’t happen.
Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and now Iran) aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.
War spending is bankrupting America.
Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.
In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.
The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.
Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.
Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians, and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.
In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.
Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.
Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.
As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”
War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors. Indeed, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”
Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.
A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:
$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.
That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.
Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.
Americans have thus far allowed themselves to be spoon-fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.
That needs to change.
The U.S. government is not making the world any safer. It’s making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the U.S. military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 human beings. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.
The U.S. government is not making America any safer. It’s exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government’s international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback.
The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback.
The assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. military drone strike will, I fear, spur yet more blowback against the American people.
The war hawks’ militarization of America—bringing home the spoils of war (the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.) and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield—is also blowback.
James Madison was right: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” As Madison explained, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”
We are seeing this play out before our eyes.
The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes, and mounting death tolls.
Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.
At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:
The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.
This is the “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
Eisenhower, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war machine that emerged following the war—one that, in order to perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.
We failed to heed his warning.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there’s not much time left before we reach the zero hour.
It’s time to stop policing the globe, end the wars-without-end, and bring the troops home before it’s too late.
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sick of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.
It’s called population control .
Trump traded Syria for Iran
A Masterful negotiation I might add.
Now get back to work you drama queens.
And like Lemmings led to slaughter, America’s very best young men and women go forth into the fray. That is how the, “elite class/ predatory politician class”, destroy the best genetic pool. They kill our young by endless war. They get rich. We die.
The endless “vacinations”, “flu” shots, chemicals, that the military puts in food, contaminated water on base exposure to cancer causing agents, radiation exposure, finishes the job. We die often die young. If not from combat, then from the before stated environmental issues. Asbestos exposure, cleaning solvent chemicals in water, lead in paint, this is what your children/family are exposed to in base housing.
If you are a young Marine enlisted man then your family qualifies for food stamps.
Encourage your patriotic America loving young men and women to keep their ass out of military. Let dirt bag politicians fight their own meaningless NEVER ENDING Pointless wars.
God Bless Pat Tilman, Murdered by his own. Because he was going to speak out? Then the dirt bag Dallas Cowboys take a knee in Cardnal house. I have not watched another NFL game. Again, God Bless Pat Tilman, American Hero.
Piss on the NFL, commies, druggies, criminals, spoiled over paid children and dirtbag owners. Rigged games. Dirtbags take a knee for National anthem. And you watch these NFL criminal clowns? You buy NFL merchandise? WTF.
What the hell do you think Trump is trying to do?
What do you think is his foreign policy?
“The 9/11 attacks were blowback.”
Lots of blowback directed at the US, Mr. Whitehead, but this was not some of it…this was an inside job by government criminals here and abroad.
Come home America
Leave the Middle East? Leave Iraq? Leave all that US oil unguarded to fall back into sovereign hands?
I think not. It’s like Hotel California where the US checks into your country and never leaves. Whomever controls the energy supply controls the world. Contrary to some beliefs, the world runs on oil…not money. That can be conjured up at will, but oil cannot. That is the whole aim of US adventurism…control the flow of energy…who gets it and who doesn’t. Iran is just another step in control of resources.
Like those old timer neocons say “America’s way of life is non negotiable.” IOW to maintain US way of life means to maintain control of resources like oil.
100% correct. I was involved in the 1980s with the strategic thinking around this topic and the development of the full spectrum dominance doctrine.
The US will not walk back from this no matter what Trump says. As for casualties the number killed is minuscule compared to past conflicts. There is greater danger of more deaths if the US walks away from this doctrine. Do you want Russia or China running the world?
US military personnel on the whole are very well paid and pampered. They have access to shopping malls, junk food, holiday resorts, free flights etc. It is a pretty cushy number and when you consider how armies were treated throughout history, US personnel have it the best.
Most people would be like bored kids in Study Hall or in Detention without some kitschy, social fad or meaningless busywork being assigned to them.
There were very few, old souls, with old school courtesy, who I would actually like see free, and who are mentally free, already, of their own accord.
In light of groupthink, that would look like a secret society. Any bourgeois clique would look like Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex.
The whole thing is funded because of the fed. Audit the fed is synonymous with putting an end to expansionism, imperialism, and an infinite wartime culture without end. The war culture exists because of the ability of the government to coin a currency which is not a limited supply item like gold and silver. Money without end results in war without end.
I’m here on the clean sweep platform. Smedley Butler.
Article 1, Section 10. “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”
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keep you in the dark
feed you fear. “be afraid. be very afraid.”
“Sky always falling”
“go buy this. go buy that. to save you.”
feed you bravo sierra
Notice how few comments now.
Fed Gov honey pot for data collection
Like your new Amerikka?
this site used to be vibrant and great.
like all things good the “theys” must foul it up.
Warning: Real ID act in Oct 2020
Internal Soviet Style Internal passport required to fly within USA. No one talks about this.
Get to where you need to before Oct 2020
they want their war. our young men and women pay.
Fat cat politicians get fatter. our children die.
Smedly Buttler, an American Hero. He told you Facts.
Like your new “freedom”? Your new Amerikka?
Trump your savior? A used car salesman, full of bs.
comments censored for your safety
free thought is very dangerous
FREE HONG KONG
Free Virginia. STAND.
America might be energy independent and actually selling petrol products abroad, but we’re in a global economy and the global economy is dependent on the free flow of oil. I think Trump is trying to disengage our military from being the world police force, but he encounters resistance from all sides. Too many less than honest politicians in DC.
The world is run by psychopathic, sadistic, predatory, mentally incompetent whimps and losers, too cowardly to tell the truth, and to mentally incompetent to do anything other than destroy everything and everyone in its path.
There is no hope for civilization or earth. We are doomed.
If all goes well fancy nancy (never worked a day in her life) pelosi will have to drop to her knees and blow Trump publicly for her transgressions.
The world is run by psychopathic, sadistic, predatory, mentally incompetent whimps and losers, too cowardly to tell the truth, and too mentally incompetent to do anything other than destroy everything and everyone in its path.
There is no hope for civilization or earth. We are doomed.
There is an estimated 450,000 metric tonnes of nuclear waste on earth, and 90,000 tons in the United States. There is no safe way to dispose of nuclear waste. Reprocessing nuclear waste to lower levels of raioactivity obviously increases the amount of toxic, life threatenning nuclear waste. Repository disposals are all temporary. Once the process of nuclear fission starts, a nuclear chain reaction occurs. Reprocessing is an attempt to prevent fusion from occuring, which would result in a super massive nuclear meltdown and explosion. The containers for storage have repeatedly failed to solve any problems because of that. The U.S. creates an additional 2,000 tons of nuclear waste a year. There is no solution to this problem, and there never will be. That is the fatal reality that we face as a civilization, like knowing that the entire planet would be heading onto a collision with the sun. It is that fatal.
AMERICANS are blood thristy killers,maybe you don’t think so,please explain why americans Kill children,theres no place in any country for people who Kill children,THEY SHOULD BE HANGED that day for the death of a child,but instead you want to be the POLICE GANG OF THE WORLD,but OH,don’t let the people of the world see what depraved animals you are,they might think you really are as bad as your reputation says you are……
“Arizona” is the wrong name for you. I know many accomplished CITIZENS of that state that do not have a NAIVE view of world affairs. I concede that “imperialism, adventurism, and world-policing” should not be the policy of the American Federal Govt. However, HISTORY dictates that occasional standing-up-to-bullies is a necessary tactic. Names like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and others should suggest the truth in that previous statement.
This is the only right step so that the state does not collapse under a mountain of arms, falling apart into fragments.
I have NEVER fallen victim to their propaganda. I declined their gracious offer for me to visit sunny Viet Nam in 1970. I resolved never to become “cannon fodder” as a young man. I told my then congress critter, “you first, I’ll be right behind you!”
Granted, we need to bring our troops home. However the U.S. has an invasion problem on our south border that needs to be controlled. The U.S. as we know it is going down the drain.
While commemorating the birthday of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, attention must be focussed on human trafficking and slavery that is currently taking place in Africa as we speak. Human trafficking and slavery is extremely evil and for those who truly do wish to honor MLK, focussing on events that happened hundreds of years ago in the midsts of a current human trafficking and slavery crisis is irresponsible and egregiously barbaric, and shows no concern of the issues that MLK truly stood for.