Suppose a traveling salesman came to your door. He said he was representing a foreign country that had a bad government. He would like for your son to volunteer to overthrow that government and possibly get killed in the process.
What would you do? I’d slam the door in his face. There is no way I would allow my son or daughter to sacrifice his or her life for the benefit of some foreigners I don’t even know.
You should keep that in mind if some military recruiter latches on to your son or daughter. Under the present circumstances, it’s practically a certainty that the young men and women in the armed forces will not be used to defend the United States or Americans. They will be used as mercenaries to advance the interests of other countries and multinational corporations, but unlike the mercenaries in civilian clothes, they will be paid a pittance.
The politicians in Washington have turned patriotism into a racket. The last time we went to war in defense of our own freedom was in 1941. Since then, we’ve died for Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans and big corporate interests. The American people ought to say "Enough." One way to do that is to just say "no" to military recruiters. If some multinational corporation wants to exploit the resources of a foreign country, let it hire its own mercenaries. If Israel is afraid of Syria or Iran, let it declare war on that country. If the two Koreas want to contest who will control the Korean peninsula, let them have at it with their own soldiers, not ours.
I’m glad the American people are supporting the troops, rather than spitting on them and calling them names as they did during the Vietnam War. But Americans ought to make a distinction between supporting the soldiers and supporting the politicians and the policies that put the soldiers in harm’s way for an unconstitutional purpose.
Despite the political baloney out of Washington about our troops being "the best-trained, the best-equipped in the world," these young people were sent into Iraq with insufficient body armor and with thin-skinned vehicles that made killing and maiming them a snap. Americans ought to be outraged that with all the billions of dollars spent on defense, soldiers had to scrounge in dumps, and parents and loved ones had to raise money to buy them personal equipment. They ought to be outraged that their sons and daughters are paid $1,200 a month to provide security while private mercenaries in Iraq are knocking down $100,000 a year.
Americans also ought to be outraged by politicians complaining that our Army is "stretched thin" by having 150,000 troops in Iraq. There are 1.3 million men and women in the U.S. armed forces. We ought to be asking why the National Guard and Reserve are being used when there are 69,000 active-duty people in Germany, 40,000 in Japan, 36,000 in Korea and thousands more scattered around the world. The wars with Germany, Japan and Korea have been over for a long time. The Cold War has been over for more than a decade.
In case you haven’t guessed it already, the war on terrorism is as phony as the war on drugs. It’s just an excuse for a perpetual expansion of government power and perpetual expenditures. The United States was attacked by one — I say again, one — organization: al-Qaeda, which has at most a few thousand adherents. We have enough special-operations people to wipe al-Qaeda off the map if the president were serious instead of using terrorism as an excuse to expand the empire.
Unfortunately, Americans are so incessantly bombarded with propaganda and lies, it’s hard for many of them to see the elephant at the tea party. War is a racket. The common folks die and get maimed, and the big corporations and the politicians prosper. Don’t let the liars in Washington abuse your children and their patriotism.
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.