Friday, July 13, 2018

U.S. Military Empire Declines As Bellicose Rhetoric Escalates

A very interesting war memorial in Brisbane, Australia combines the names and dates of wars with words expressing a range of responses. This pairing resonated with me 16 years into the NATO war in Afghanistan.

It's been strange to be abroad this summer as the reputation of my home country is tanking around the globe. The jailing of children as young as infants for the crime of seeking asylum seems to be about as low as we can go -- until we begin detaining them on military bases in Texas, a sadistic plan that appears to be in the works. 

Australians already had a pretty low opinion of us when I visited family there two years ago, but it has grown dramatically worse. I was told -- politely -- of their refusal to travel to a nation they consider a violent police state. "Your activism, are you getting anywhere with that?" I was sincerely asked. Good question.

Back stateside I find my dearest friends agonizing over the child detentions with the same intensity that I have agonized over the bombing of children terrorized day and night by weaponized drones far from the eyes and ears of most in the USA.

Add to this the bloviating demands and veiled threats of the demagogue with bad hair, now on a tour of Europe, represented by a baby blimp. NATO nations are told via twitter that "we" have been paying for "their" "defense" (or "defence" if you prefer) long enough, and they had better pony up 2% of the GDP or else. This to nations infested with U.S. military bases that, in many cases, pay no rent.

This from a nation wasting its treasure on Pentagon contracts as fast as it can borrow to do so.

If two-thirds of the pie doesn't seem like enough, consider that VA benefits and the nuclear weapons development budget hidden -- without a trace of irony -- under Energy & Environment line would bring the military's share to something approaching three-quarters. Also, debt service isn't included in this pie chart of discretionary spending.

How anyone could believe that such insanity is sustainable is anybody's guess.

Of course NATO is just one part of the U.S. military addiction. In Argentina, 60+ groups have come together to resist the building of a "humanitarian base" so named to avoid the need for approval by their legislature. As reported by TeleSUR:

The base, under the name “Emergency Operating Committee” was announced by government officials as a new office for “Civil Defense.” Construction is financed by the U.S. Southern Command and it will function near the city, “next to all the oil resources,” councilman Francisco Baggio said.  

The U.S. Southern Command of course refers to the arm of the Pentagon tasked with managing U.S. military presence in Latin America. And, as always, there is a bigger -- and more sinister -- picture.

 (U.S. Army is Back in South America video available here if it does not load for you.)

Incidentally, this video from YouTube is the first that I have seen with a helpful annotation from Wikipedia added to help you sort out fake news from real information:

If this is the caliber of the promised annotations ("Latin government" means what exactly?) I'm guessing they will not be terribly effective. Except probably with their target audience of the woefully ignorant.

Escalating threats coupled with declining influence reveals a militarized state of mind where being feared is preferable to being admired. This is not likely to end well. Globally, climate change gallops along, with hot fog in Palm Springs and unseasonable rains in tropical Queensland's dry season, an existential problem in large part caused by militarization.

My fondest hope at this point in history is that a general women's strike will develop from the packing of the U.S. Supreme Court with anti-abortion sentiment. The military-industrial (-education-media) complex could not function for a single day without the labor of women. 

Most women in the U.S. don't know or care about the brown and black victims of NATO aggression, but they will turn out in the millions if their access to safe abortion or contraception is threatened.

Hey, sometimes all it takes is a spark to bring down an empire.  The Sepoy rebellion against British colonial rule in India was touched off because of alleged beef fat on rifle cartridges intended to touch the mouths of imperial soldiers who were observant of Hindu dietary taboos.

Let's get this show on the road.

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