Saturday, June 19, 2004

Our First Victory Was Zapatero: "The United States faces a real crisis. It's not just the military failure of Bush's policies in Iraq or the discrediting of our armed forces and intelligence agencies as corrupt, incompetent, and criminal. It is above all our international isolation and disgrace because of our contempt for the rule of law."

"The point is that the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib prison, Chalabigate, CIA Director Tenet's resignation, war profiteering by Cheney's Halliburton Corporation, and other recent events have so discredited the United States that we have only the choice of getting out or being thrown out. The Iraq war is very possibly the most serious self-inflicted wound in the history of American foreign policy. It was caused by American imperialism and militarism."

"According to the Pentagon's annual inventory of real estate -- its so-called Base Structure Report -- we have over 725 military bases in some 132 countries around the world. This vast network of American bases constitutes a new form of empire -- an empire of military enclaves rather than of colonies as in older forms of imperialism. Our military deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations. To dominate the oceans and seas of the world, we maintain some thirteen carrier task-forces, which constitute floating bases."

"Today, we have a professional, permanent standing army that costs around three-quarters of a trillion dollars a year -- that is, about $750 billion. This amount includes the annual Defense Department appropriation for weapons and salaries of $427 billion, another $75 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, $20 billion for nuclear weapons funded by the Department of Energy, and at least $200 billion in pensions and disability payments for our veterans. We are not paying for these expenses but putting them on the tab. Since we are today running the largest governmental and trade deficits in modern economic history, our militarism threatens us with bankruptcy.

"The two most famous warnings about militarism in our history came from two prominent generals who became presidents. The first was by George Washington in his Farewell Address of September 1796. He wrote, "Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

"In The Sorrows of Empire I devote the final chapter to the likely consequences of our imperialism and militarism: perpetual war, the end of the Republic, official lying and disinformation, and bankruptcy. I document how advanced these are in our society.... Having said all this, let me nonetheless end by noting that the political system may not be capable of saving the Republic. It is hard to imagine that any president of either party could stand up to the powerful vested interests surrounding the Pentagon and the secret intelligence agencies. Given that 40% of the defense budget is secret and that all of the intelligence agencies' budgets are secret, it is impossible for Congress to do effective oversight of them even if it wanted to."

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