Monday, May 28, 2007

Trust and Betrayal

Memorial Day is our national day of honoring the nation's military and the sacrifices they have made, and in the midst of what is being universally regarded as the worst foreign affairs disaster in US history with the NeverEndingWar in Iraq. Not fully grasped is the impact of the US military having officially 737 bases world-wide, which omits the estimated 250-300 more "secret" ones, the garrisons, bunkers, phantom Pentagon-speak "lily-pads,” and the failed civilian leadership that has designed it.

We are a global empire, and the full cost is not being truthfully conveyed to the citizenry. One doesn't have to subscribe to Jane's Defence Weekly (,
unless you are weighing options for contractors and assessing corporate "risk", to see the vast scope and penetration as a juggernaut for a perverse "growth" industry. More like a cancerous and out of control abscess. According to the National Priorities Project, as of February this year, the cost of just the Iraq war to Key West's 25,000 residents is $44.2 million, almost $1800 per person. For the urban core of Miami-Dade the cost of war soars to $3.3 Billion. $25 Billion for Florida. For the nation, it's over $11 million Per HOUR. The cost is only going to accelerate as long as the current policies of the Bush Pentagon remain unchallenged.

This is just for the war machine, not the entire Pentagon. If only we could claim the cause of national security. Yet, the most ironic cost of the War is national security. The human cost is nearly beyond comprehension, especially when couched in patriotic flag-waving like "defending democracy" or "the front on the War on Terror" (ignoring the fact that its invasion made it a central front, where pre-war there was an estimated 3,000 AlQaeda insurgents, now 70,000 are believed present), or whatever the new goal posts are, each more incredulous. The war's cost is greater than just our dollars. It represents lost opportunities. Every dollar spent on destruction can't be invested in our future. The current leadership for the Pentagon is actually weakening the military and we sense its vulnerability puts the whole house of cards at risk.

The US has now sent well over One Million soldiers, many with more than one tour of duty to the region and we have a crumbling world, not a rising one. General Patton famously said "America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser..." Right he was. The Bush catastrophe in Iraq and now around the world is inescapably a losing proposition. Regarding Vietnam, Senator George Aiken, R-Vermont, uttered his famous solution: "Declare victory and get out." It makes about as much sense as anything the derelict leaders in the political cloakrooms have said so far. The great tragedy was LBJ, either too willful or worried about history's judgment, would not yield. Instead, it destroyed his presidency and the country. A similar judgment awaits Bush. The sacrifices of our brave soldiers pale compared to the audacious betrayal from our current political class today. -MS