Military indulgent complex

An interesting film is now available on DVD. It’s called Why We Fight. The movie makes some points that stick in both the mind and the craw. Among them:

1. Our smart bombs should be renamed. They kill too many women, children and hospitals to carry such a handle. And all this talk about our ability to “strike targets with surgical precision, therefore eliminating collateral damage” appears now to be a claim that is liberally marbled with flapdoodle.

2. Our leaders lied to us to justify our intrusion into Vietnam’s war, and 39 years later, they lied to us to justify a preemptive invasion into a country led by a thorny old coot who hated Osama as much as we did—and please note this is a bipartisan bile blast. So remember to be at least slightly wary, perhaps even brazenly skeptical, when the reasons for attacking Iran begin to swirl a little more fervently around the media maelstrom.

3. It now would seem that President Eisenhower’s farewell speech must rank way, way up there on the presidential all-time list. Like maybe top three and certainly right up there with Abe’s Gettysburg Rap. This would be the speech where Ike got on the tube a couple days before JFK took office in ’61 and warned his fellow Americans that there was this new game in town called the military-industrial complex, and we had better make damned sure we keep a big hairy eyeball stuck on these characters because they could be capable of serious mischief. Forty-five years later, this speech, which gets much play in Why We Fight, stands as a clear-headed, shockingly honest, almost clairvoyant assessment of a dangerous shadow that was beginning to gather strength—a shadow that, even back then, scared Ike’s pants off. Unfortunately for us and the planet, we can now see his worries were completely justified. The film drives home the substantial point that in the past 45 years, the Pentagon, defense-oriented corporations and D.C. politicians have networked to create an entity that has such a stranglehold on both America’s heart and guts that we now find ourselves in a situation where the overall economic health of the country is dangerously dependent on the economic health of the M.I.C. itself. That reality is probably along the lines of what Mr. Eisenhower feared way back when.

4. If karma is truly an operating system in this universe (and it’s important to remember that the Oriental notion of karma has been expressed Occidentally in both religious scripture—“as ye reap, so shall ye sow”—and in scientific scripture, by Newton’s Third Law of Motion—“for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction”), then one must wonder at the state of Uncle Sam’s karma these days. One would probably not describe it with words like “harmonious,” “festive,” or “jolly.”