Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Most Americans Ignorant of US Imperialism/Militarism

Editorial by: Dr. J. P. Hubert

Many authors and academics have written excellent works (Andrew Bacevich comes to mind) detailing how militaristic the United States has become; particularly since the end of WWII.

Subsequent to his two terms, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that a growing military industrial complex (MIC) was beginning to endanger the American Republic through the increasing control it exerted over Congressional spending. The elite media can now be added (MMIC).

The existence of a permanent army, then the post-Vietnam war creation of an all-volunteer force and recently a mercenary army component (in the form of military "contractors") all have contributed to a growing US militarism in support of an increasingly more hegemonic foreign policy.

Post 9/11, the current administration promulgated what has become known as the "Bush Doctrine", simply put; a commitment to waging foreign wars of aggression under the rubric of "pre-emption" as a form of "defense." In so doing the Bush administration has engaged in the worst form of sophistry--in contemporary parlance--spin. To label offensive wars of aggression defensive is to engage in language deconstruction a blatant form of intellectual dishonesty.

When a nation attacks another on the basis of nothing more than a presumption, in essence a probability calculation that at some future date, the other nation might either attack or make WMD's available to terrorists, it is not engaging in legitimate defense--rather, it is acting preventively and offensively in an aggressive manner. The latter of course is illegal under international and US law.

It is also immoral, based on the well developed corpus of Just War Theory which holds that war must be waged only in response to an actual or imminent attack, after all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted i.e. as a last resort, with proportionate force (only as required to match the threat) and with reasonable chance of success. Moreover, it is never morally licit to intentionally/knowingly attack non-combatant civilians something which occurs routinely in the waging of modern wars of aggression--preventive wars under the Bush Doctrine.

Regrettably, the vast majority of Americans are completely ignorant of the applicable international humanitarian law, US law and the relevant Just War Doctrinal principles with respect to waging War. Equally unfortunate is our blind presumption that America's intent and actions abroad are benign and admirable. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1989/1990 (over successive administrations), it has been the foreign policy of the United States to prevent any nation from ever threatening our now solitary global super-power status.

We have for almost 2 decades engaged in increasingly more threatening and bellicose rhetoric and militaristic behavior. Yet, we wonder why so much of the world hates us. As Patrick J. Buchanan has reasoned, they (the terrorists) hate us not for our values but because of our foreign policy. They are over here because we are over there. They want us out of their region and off of their land. We must admit that under similar circumstances, we would not wish to be occupied or controlled, by an outside foreign power.

The question then is why do Americans not rise up and demand that their government stop behaving in an immoral fashion--as a militaristic Hegemon? Is it fear, ignorance or simply sloth? This writer suspects it is a combination of ignorance and sloth. Unfortunately, many of our citizens are simply too preoccupied attempting to eek out a living what with the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 15 years--NAFTA, WTO, etc to properly educate themselves or engage in the necessary social action. The "dumbing-down" of an increasingly illiterate populace doesn't help.

No nation can long survive while horrendously in debt, over-extended militarily and incapable of manufacturing anything but weapons. We are now almost completely dependent on China and others for our daily consumer products and the money with which to purchase them. If this is not quickly corrected, we are in for some extremely trying times. The diagnosis is clear, the prescription bitter --END THE EMPIRE before its too late.