Friday, August 2, 2013

Just Throw Money

WASHINGTON -- The House passed a defense budget Friday that exceeds the deal cut by Congress and President Barack Obama last summer, and that would have to be paid for with cash taken from poverty programs, health care and the federal workforce.--Huffington Post

    One of the oddest anomalies about us Americans is our willingness to endlessly spend treasure and blood and to sacrifice our living standards in a vain effort to rule a world about which we are otherwise ignorant and indifferent.
    Typically, a  few months back, there was a brouhaha about security screw-ups at our consulate in Benghazi that cost the lives of four Americans. An informal poll showed that the Congress people making the loudest noise about the incident had no idea of where Benghazi was.
    Rightwingers and liberals might seemingly be at each other’s jugulars in Washington, yet still bloated budgets for the Pentagon and its endless overseas adventures pass with massive majorities by both Reps and Dems.
    And this goes on, decade after decade, no matter the failures of the empire. I’m old enough to remember a time when, if we lost a war or yet another country turned “anti-American,” there was consternation in Congress with charges of treason and betrayal flying everwhere. If I recall, it was our “loss” of China in 1949 that fueled McCarthyism and the great big red scare.
    Today, no one seems to care that the empire is shrinking. Where’s the anger over the fact that our corrupt and incompetent military has been humiliated by feudal tribespeople in Afghanistan, or that we’ve left Iraq a messier and more dangerous place than when we stupidly invaded it?
    Such anger no longer exists because our interest in the world--never very high--has all but disappeared.  What’s replaced it is the belief that if we throw trillions at the Pentagon and our spying and security apparats, we need bother ourselves no further about the other 95 percent of humankind. Why worry when Hillary and now John Kerry are so good at their jobs?   
   Where will these endless trillions come from? Ordinary Americans, of course.  How will they be accounted for?  They won’t. Who will tote up the results, good and bad, from the constant intrigues, insurrections, coups and wars launched from Washington? No one.
    And who will get the blame when the debacles of our martial and financial regimes again sink the economy? The usual suspects, meaning the poor and powerless who serve as our national scape goats.
     So, it’s on to liberate Syria, or will it be Ecuador? No reason for us common folk to think about such stuff. The pols and generals know what they’re doing. And even if they don’t, zillion dollar drones will make the world obey us again.