A Good Day for Peace
Date: Thursday, September 13 2007
Can the War Machine be Contained?
By LAURA SANTINA
Today is a good day to begin to end war. It is a logical and timely day because we have run out of enemies.
Iran's record has been cleared by the UN regarding uranium usage, so we don't need to bomb them. North Korea is shutting down its atomic programs. The only countries with nuclear weapons, besides ourselves, are those we approve of. We are no longer in a face-off with an equally powerful nation state, like Russia, bent upon our destruction. Our current adversaries are clusters of disgruntled people with improvised explosives and suicide bombs. Surely, all the imagination, science and muscle that created the mighty American war machine could be reprogrammed to negotiate mutual agreements of peace with such irregular forces. Or can it? Perhaps the war machine has taken on an all-pervasive, self-perpetuating life of its own and cannot be curtailed.
Long before 9/11, President Bush declared that his comprehensive defense policy goals would include "creating the military of the next century." Had he instead focused on "creating the peace of the next century" instead of building super war toys, we may have had garnered the cultural intelligence we needed to prevent 9/11. The Bush administration substituted code phrases like "war on terrorism" and "bringing democracy" for military domination of the world. Perhaps if "Expand Empire" had been listed as an option on ballots, things wouldn't have gone this far. Perhaps if the plan had been openly discussed by military recruiters, Human Resource folk in weapons labs, or politicians - especially politicians - we could have quelled Godzilla in his infancy.
Unfortunately, the pervasive veil of secrecy prevailed and the corporate war machine continued to lobby both Democrats and Republicans. In Bill Clinton's first year of office, despite his campaign rhetoric, arms sales doubled. It was Clinton who initiated an illegal nine year bombing of Iraq and the wars in the Balkans.
It was, however, Bush's preemptive war on Iraq that swamped the national attention and somehow, before we knew it, the mighty war machine became the driving force of our economy. We don't manufacture anything any more except weapons and high-tech weapons systems. Hundreds of thousands of us depend on some arm of the war machine for our jobs. The military-industrial complex controls the largest bloc of industry in the US. More than one third of engineers and scientists in the US are employed in military related projects. Forty US firms account for sixty-three percent of the top one hundred arms sales in the world. Shipbuilding and aerospace industries are dependent upon arms sales and military spending.
There are over one hundred thousand civilian contractors in Iraq working for companies like Perini Corp. and URS Corp. (majority-owned by Richard Blum, Dianne Feinstein's husband), who provide technical and construction services for the military. A tangled web of government/corporate corruption is significant in the build-up of the war machine. For instance, Dianne Feinstein was chairperson of Military Construction Appropriations when the multi-million dollar Perini and URS contracts were awarded.