A ‘useless’ US military
“Are thousands of Iraqis going to die because the US military was just too darned big not to use? This may sound strange, but it is the best explanation that I have heard ..”
By Chris Meyer
“What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about, if we can’t use it?” - Madeleine Albright
On National Public Radio this morning an intelligent and reasonable sounding young conservative pundit explained that the United States military is just too big not to use, and everyone in the world understands this.
Too big not to use? Are thousands of Iraqis going to die because the US military was just too darned big not to use? This may sound strange, but it is the best explanation for the upcoming war against Iraq that I have heard.
The US weapon’s industry is a commercial business just like any other US corporation. By definition, this means that they must continue to grow and gain market share, or they will go out of business. Furthermore, many producers of commercial products are becoming increasingly dependent on winning a piece of the burgeoning US defense budget. Boeing, for example, builds commercial aircraft, but it also makes smart bombs and other military aviation hardware to stay afloat. Boeing’s commercial aircraft market is currently in a slump and workers are being laid off in Seattle. If the US government doesn’t use up its current inventory of weapons on Iraq and place fresh orders with Boeing soon, heads will roll. There is also the issue of ‘use it or lose it’. The US currently has the largest and most advanced fighting force in the world. This requires many things. The military personal must have live fire training in order to keep sharp. New weapons must be properly field tested and developed to stay ahead of competitors. A sufficient flow of military inventory must be sustained to keep the weapons manufacturers in business.
Finally, new weapons markets must be developed, and US suppliers must continually feed existing markets. Otherwise competing countries will pick up the slack, and the US will loose its monopoly on military expertise.
This is why the US military is truly too big not to be used and must be constantly engaged somewhere in the world. This means the other nations of the world get to draw straws to see who is going to be the next punching bag for the US war machine. This certainly ought to make the other nations sit up and take notice. It reminds me of what most Americans must imagine Saddam Hussein’s cabinet meetings are like. It certainly reminds one of Al Qaida US military bases (terrorist cells) are all over the world! Where will it strike next? If it is not stopped, its military forces will surely strike somewhere soon because its national interests demand it!
The last country to draw the short straw was Iraq back in 1989, when the Soviet Union ceased to provide US military with a reason to exist. Iraq was the logical choice and has remained the primary target ever since, with a surprise one year respite from Afghanistan. The US knew that Iraq had an easily demonized leader in Saddam Hussein, because the US helped get Hussein into power and supported him for years. The US also knew Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, because the US sold them to him.
Furthermore, Iraq is sitting on top of over 100 billion barrels of oil. That is about two trillion dollars worth of black gold, the favorite commodity of the corporations that dominate the US government.
This brings the following digressions to mind. Digression one: how do you properly field test weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when the world has outlawed them even for military purposes? Find a ruthless dictator like Saddam Hussein, get him involved in wars in which he will need to use WMD, and supply him with WMD. Then let the press, the UN and Amnesty International collect the data on the effectiveness of the WMD, all the while being careful to display an appropriate level of outrage that WMD were used. Make sure a smooth professional like Donald Rumsfeld handles the whole affair. Corollary to the main thesis: WMD are just too profitable not to be properly field-tested.
Digression two: All this makes one think of Israel as well. If any country has a military that is too big not to use, it is Israel. A population of 6 million has acquired one of the largest military machines in the world, complete with hundreds of nuclear warheads. If Israel ever finishes off the Palestinians, who will be next? One cannot just leave an expensive fighting machine like the Israel Defense Force lying idle! It would decay and loose its massive overkill vis-à-vis its neighbors. So what are peace-loving people to do in the midst of this downwardly spiraling military madness?
On January 18th, 2003, there will be a peace rally in Washington, D.C. to protest the coming war in Iraq. Participants will rally at the capital and then march to the navy shipyards and demand to inspect the US weapons of mass destruction. Organizers at International A.N.S.W.E.R (internationalanswer.org) are expecting tens of thousands. I’m hoping for hundreds of thousands - a million would be nice. I’ll be there, how about you, gentle reader? Organizations like Voices in the Wilderness (nonviolence.org/vitw) are forming peace groups of US and European citizens to send to Iraq to stop the war. Organizers are hoping to be able to place up to 100,000 Europeans and Americans in Baghdad with cameras and cell phones to impede US aggression. The idea is simple and probably the most effective plan to date. Bush may not care about Iraqis, but will he have the guts to bomb American citizens on live television?
Now is the time for Americans to stare down the barrels of their own weapons, while it is still primarily Americans at the trigger. If the US weapons industry continues to grow unchecked, production will exceed the ability of the US government and her allies to consume. The only way for the weapons industry to survive will be to expand its market into the enormous ‘third world’ that has been oppressed and victimized by US corporations and governmental policies for decades. The US will then sow the seeds of its own destruction, and global human misery will only continue to increase as unbridled weapons proliferation spreads across the earth. —Palestine Chronicle