Dying To Serve: The Great American Problematic. The Youth and Imperial Justification

There are a collection of problems facing this newest form of empire, American-led though it may be. The problems facing the nation-state of America are just those that impair the empire’s ability to grow. It shall grow at the expense of the American people, their prosperity, their future and their children’s futures. America will slowly drift to a level of standards well-below what even our parents dreamt of; below everything the present generation (say the 17–37 year olds) had hoped for. "The American standard of living ‘must’ drop…" Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker proclaimed when he took office under Jimmy Carter during 1979. Less than a generation later, we are about to see the bottom fall out of it. Here is but a taste of what the American regime, as nation-state, faces because of its manipulated misdirection into an all encompassing global regime: the American-led corporate global empire – Imperium in Imperio.

  1. American illiteracy increasing in youth;
  2. unemployment increasing quarterly (especially minority youth);
  3. excessive college student enrollments (some remain in school 8 years);
  4. student loans not repaid;
  5. record personal bankruptcies;
  6. record business bankruptcies (more unemployment);
  7. aging demographics (Social Security);
  8. retirement accounts insufficient, savings eroded (interest rates at or near zero);
  9. foreign bond holdings disappearing (foreigners holding U.S. debt, etc.);
  10. Europeans & oil producers threatening to go to Euro for oil purchases;
  11. Europeans talking of Euro as reserve currency;
  12. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid out-year deficits;
  13. federal tax base eroding;
  14. further layoffs anticipated;
  15. States in deficit fiscal crises;
  16. record personal debt;
  17. jobs, white collar and manufacturing;
  18. further mergers and acquisitions;
  19. further centralization of major industries;
  20. housing bubble;
  21. stock market speculation returning (bubble);
  22. interest rates unrealistically low;
  23. U.S. federal deficit heading for record highs;
  24. the Fed increasing (record) money supply;
  25. U.S. dollar in crisis;
  26. U.S. military engagements planned globally;
  27. planned larger deployments (footprint) of U.S. Military;
  28. Army Reserves and National Guard deployments;
  29. Reserves and Guard recruitment off (resignations imminent);
  30. two or more intractable guerrilla wars in Middle East & Central Asia;
  31. recession or worse (deflation) anticipated by all knowledgeable observers
  32. present administration’s imperial perspective (neo-empire);
  33. and finally, the potential escalation of the drug war in Latin America (which is on the table presently though the other two AOs dominate the news.

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These are just a few of the real problems within and without the American-led empire under the current George W. Bush Junior regime. Given these problems the administration knows they must be addressed in fundamental ways immediately in the aftermath of the next presidential elections; provided the current White House resident remains in office. This is less problematic than most want to admit. The primary reasons why Mr. Bush will likely be reelected are three fold: 1) The Republicans (primarily Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush) have raised a record $250 million for the race, or twice that of all Democrats taken together (another less speculative reason inherent is also the weakness of the Democrats running; 2) the "economy stupid" rhetoric on the left Democratic side is a fallacy; Bush Senior was unaffected by the same scenario when he ran for his second term in office. The realty isn’t that the economy brought him down, that is utterly untrue – it was Ross Perot who took 21 percent of the vote in 37 states to hand Bill Clinton a victory (twice Perot performed this function granting the unpopular Clinton two victories with less than half the votes counted, or a mere 43 percent the first time). Also the economy is being manipulated by the Federal Reserve system’s Chairman Alan Greenspan who (clearly) has agreed to "float" another false speculative boom which gives the illusion of recovery because the American people, given the 1st "problem" set out above, simply do not understand economics 101; and finally 3) Mr. Bush will be running as the war president once again as both fronts (Iraq and Afghanistan) escalate and more Americans die, and should a terrorist attack of some level occur on American soil prior to the election’s vote, something which would surprise nobody, Mr. Bush will be a "shoe-in," as our war-president!

Therefore, what will Mr. Bush’s top advisors, neo-conservatives to a man, advise he do to alleviate the situations outlined above. It becomes clear there are but a few rather distasteful decisions which must be made and policies implemented few would wish to be part of. But the current crop of neocons have an inherent belief system (See my article titled Universal Fascism, www.informationclearinghouse.com) which allows for just such Machiavellian approaches to be drafted.

What is that one solution, maybe the only solution, to all the problems above, that "in fact" encompasses almost all of the 33 points, that can and will accomplish the objectives? Let us look at what is being discussed in the press right now during the last week of August, 2003:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Wednesday that American military commanders in Iraq believed that the size of the force there was adequate, even in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad…. Rumsfeld told a news conference in the Honduran capital that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had spoken with commanders in Iraq "and they reiterated their belief that the size of the force in Iraq is appropriate today."

"And at the moment the conclusion of the responsible military officials is that the force levels are where they should be," Rumsfeld said. (Source: Rumsfeld Says Current Troop Level in Iraq Adequate, Wednesday, August 20, 2003; TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras [Reuters] )

Mr. Rumsfeld, has been wrong on so many counts, regarding Pentagon policy and the deployments in both Areas of Operations (AOs), one must be cognizant of his reasoning why he states these kinds of things above, knowing full-well they are quite untrue. The truth is not held in high esteem by neo-conservatives as is well-known by now. He does protest too much and the matter is addressed by others more straight forward; indeed what follows is what is understood by some, as being put forward to prepare the public for the inevitable actions of those in power must do, but without the actual reasons for it being stated. Here is groundwork for a future policy already being set out at the highest level of government.

[THE] leading Republican Senator John McCain said yesterday that the United States needed additional troops in Iraq to deal with increasingly more sophisticated attacks against US forces and strategic targets. …Mr. McCain, a member of the armed services committee, said from Baghdad – where he met the US civilian governor, Paul Bremer, and US generals – that troops had a tough time ahead and needed help…. "I don’t think any of us – including them [US troops] – anticipated the amount and sophistication of these attacks," the Arizona senator said. … "I think they may need more people, both in the military overall and perhaps here on the ground. That’s one of the things, I think, we will be looking at." …Mr. McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, did not specify how many more troops he thought were needed. According to the Pentagon, there are about 140,000 US troops in Iraq. While most Iraqis were relieved Saddam Hussein had been ousted, Mr. McCain said they were frustrated at the level of services such as electricity and water. "Then when you layer on top of that, a group of criminals, Baathists and outright terrorists, and we have a significant problem here. We cannot afford to lose this. We need to do whatever is necessary," he said. He believed the American people had been misled over how tough the job was in Iraq. (Source: Senator says more troops needed; MARGARET NEIGHBOUR, The Washington Post, August 20, 2003)

Senator McCain is a supporter of this president’s war-making and proposals for enhancing the U.S. military footprint globally. As he put it, the American people "have been misled." And we must do whatever it takes to win the situation over there in Iraq and Afghanistan, as "We cannot afford to lose this." While this is simply untrue on the face of it, there are reasons why Mr. McCain is putting this before the public in this manner. His closing statement is where the truth in imbedded, like some hack journalist during Operation "whatever." It was this: "We need to do whatever is necessary."

What do we need to do that "is necessary"? Before I get to that let us hear what the problem is "structured as, and sold to" the American people as being. Getting wider play is that America, or the American-led empire, which is closer to the truth, is getting spread thin, imperial over-reach is what it is called in International Relations language (IR). The recent bombing in Iraq has begun to bring home the point.

The deadly bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad has come on the heels of reports that Islamic militants from several countries have been moving into Iraq to join battle with American forces. A UK-based Saudi dissident, Saad al-Fagui, claimed this week that up to 3,000 men had gone "missing" from Saudi Arabia amid a crackdown on Islamic extremists. "The government assumption is that they have fled to Iraq," he said…. Daniel Neep, the head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the Royal United Services Institute, said of the UN bombing: "I would very much suspect that this is not an isolated incident. It is part of a wider trend." Mr Neep added: "The US is already very thinly stretched, and the expanded targets will make it even more stretched." (Source: Saudi rebels cross the border to help bleed US forces to death TIM CORNWELL DEPUTY FOREIGN EDITOR The News Scotsman Wed 20 Aug 2003.)

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The problem is addressed yet again within just days of each other in various press reports. This next article reproduced here in its substantial original form is important, as these are the discussions going on within the Republican Party and yet refuted by the administration, refuted, in my opinion disingenuously. I would suggest that this is precisely what the Administration’s elite are speaking to currently, quietly, not to be discussed publicly yet…until after the election is won. Then the gloves come off.

"You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life – but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud." … Those words, written nearly 40 years ago by my good friend T.R. Fehrenbach in the definitive work on the Korean War, "This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness" – still ring true today. Our recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq reinforce those very lessons. We prosecuted a very successful war, but if we are going to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi and Afghan people while preserving the peace elsewhere, we will need young men and women with their boots on the ground. I am increasingly concerned we don’t have enough soldiers and Marines to do all the jobs that must be done. …Shortly before he retired, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki advised that postwar Iraq might require several hundred thousand soldiers and Marines to keep the peace. Gen. Shinseki commanded peacekeeping operations in both Bosnia and Kosovo, and he knows what it takes to get the job done right. But if we were to place several hundred thousand troops in Iraq, the unfortunate truth is that the Army may be stretched too thin elsewhere. Indeed, the man nominated to take his place, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, is another who apparently doesn’t shy from offering his frank opinion. He recently said, "Intuitively, I think we need more people. It’s as simple as that."

When the first Gulf War ended, the Department of Defense cashed in a peace dividend from the end of the Cold War when it lowered the strength of the U.S. Army active forces from 750,000 to 535,000 troops. That cut was necessary, but then they cut more and in doing so, reduced the Army’s active strength to 491,000 – too low for our current requirements. Today, in addition to the 491,000 active-duty Army soldiers, there are 550,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard. In order to keep 370,000 of our soldiers deployed to more than 100 countries, we have called to active duty an unprecedented 136,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard.

"There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence of the toll this overuse is taking on our troops. Recently, I talked to family members of some reserve units who have seen their loved ones deployed again and again. They are proud of their service but made it clear that, when their tour of duty is over, they will be hanging up their boots and leaving the Reserve. This is not an isolated view. Many senior members of our military have candidly expressed concerns that we are asking our Reserves to deploy too often. They believe it may hurt our efforts to recruit new reservists and retain the ones we have.

The Army recently announced a sound plan to replace units in Iraq with a mix of active-duty and reserve forces. When our units in Kosovo, Bosnia and the Sinai Peninsula complete their six-month rotations, they will be replaced with National Guard units. There is no question they can do the job. But should they? This rotation plan only serves as a tacit admission that we need more force structure. Our guard members and reservists signed up to defend our nation in times of national emergency and stand ready to do just that. They never expected to augment the day-to-day missions of active-duty forces…. In the months ahead, the Pentagon promises numerous studies to examine the impact of answering the calls worldwide. But these studies are addressing the symptoms and not the illness. …We must not balance the tempo of how and when we use Reserve units on the backs of active-duty units, and vice versa. We need more troops or fewer missions. Before we lose too many trained and qualified reservists, I hope we address the critical issue: Do we have enough Army and Marine active- duty members for the post-September 11 era of national security? My view is: We do not. (Source: Washington Times, August 20, 2003, Stretched too thin, By Kay Bailey Hutchison: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.)

Mr. Bill Clinton has already proposed one thing for the future and Mr. Bush is likely going to put it before Congress before his second term is up: He would like to amend the Constitution so he can run for a third and maybe a fourth term in office. But the other "solution" to many of the problems outlined above at the beginning of this piece can only be solved by one (today, pre-election year) unsavory solution; after the election is won, it will be tabled and likely passed overwhelmingly by both Houses under the "created crises" of military deficiency. Not that our "military over-stretch" is not one of the problems at all, and could be easily reversed if we didn‘t have an imperial presidency leading an American-led empire. But let us understand why this one signal "solution" is going to be sold to the American people. Is it that, as Senator McCain argued, "[We] cannot afford to lose this"? Is this true at all? Of course it is not.

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It is that the one solution will solve all or most of the problems outlined that the present regime faces; if not solve outright, ameliorate to some extent most of them. That solution is the Selective Service, the universal draft of all the youth between the ages of 17 and 32 years of age. Whether the use of a lottery system, or an outright numerical count, the youth must be drafted according to the administration’s Machiavellian authorities. It answers each problem in the following way, taking each one in its specificity:

  1. American illiteracy increasing in youth; The MTV consumer culture has left us with an unprecedented level of illiteracy among the adult population and the youth in particular; nobody believes more education is what is needed, but where to put these people to "make" them productive can be answered: i.e., the United States Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy. A civilian kind of selective service may be harder to sell to the public but there are places in the military such as the Army Corp. of Engineers that can act as part of a civilian-type structure that can accomplish nation-building in both foreign and domestic contexts. As such, it will be construed to mean exactly this throughout the remainder of this piece: a civilian-type "Job-Corp." or "Peace-Corp." Whether selective service requires some to be placed in civilian structures or to accomplish the same but remain within the military structure is moot. Getting productivity out of the youth which today are highly unproductive for many reasons, illiteracy but one and the most significant, is the ultimate goal here. How they go about this is less relevant. That they will "go about this," is what remains important;
  2. unemployment increasing quarterly (especially minority youth); unemployment can be ameliorated most effectively by the universal draft;
  3. excessive college student enrollments (some remain in school 8 years); moving these off-campus and into productive work is here an easy answer to long-term stagnating productivity;
  4. student loans not repaid; given their new job prospects, garnishment of their wages returns unpaid debts to the government through confiscation;
  5. record personal bankruptcies; those losing-out in the marketplace find refuge and security in the military reducing the burden on the rest of the economy by those filing Chapter Elevens;
  6. record business bankruptcies (more unemployment); more business failures causes further unemployment;
  7. aging demographics (Social Security); as the American population becomes older, at some point in the very near term there will be more individuals not working, retired, drawing Social Security and other benefits that the new generation must be taxed so as to pay for the non-productive aging population; the draft puts these younger people on the payroll tax system most effectively;
  8. retirement accounts insufficient, savings eroded (interest rates at or near zero); interest rates must return to a significantly higher level for many reasons; just one is that those expecting to live on their savings and the interest off their capital saved are losing millions and having to go into their capital to live on. Interest rates must be increased if this cycle is to be broken — no matter that the cost might be a recession;
  9. foreign bond holdings disappearing (foreigners holding U.S. debt, etc.); interest rates must be returned to a higher level if foreign entities are expected to continue to buy the American debt as has been the norm for decades;
  10. Europeans & oil producers threatening to go to the Euro for oil purchases; that the dollar is under attack and in a potential free-fall crisis can only be resolved through higher interest rates, which will cause, if not another full recession or worse, it will certainly cause further unemployment prospects especially in the youth and minorities: See unemployment above;
  11. Europeans talking of the Euro as a global reserve currency; Europeans and others, especially in the oil producing nations, are arguing that the only way to offset American hegemonic ambitions is to strengthen the Euro agaisnt the dollar if not making the Euro the reserve currency of the world. Many American investors are already placing their wealth in the Euro/Dollar/Huan/and gold (25% in each) because of the Dollar’s critical status. This trend will continue unless interest rates are significantly increased;
  12. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid out-year deficits; again, in the near future there will not be enough younger people working and covering this future single largest item in the governments’ debt (next to Defense) to pay the projected amounts; the youth must become part of the tax base through productive "mandatory" work. The draft accomplishes this;
  13. federal tax base eroding; same symptom as above but applies across the board for all services and appropriations at the federal and state levels;
  14. further layoffs anticipated; the globalization process continues unabated; higher interest rates to solve other problems must take precedence, creating yet another round of unemployment;
  15. states in deficit fiscal crises; same as above only at a more localized level: expect property taxes to be reviewed and increased on an annual basis in all fifty states. Other arbitrary taxes (value-added, etc.) will be introduced and those existing raised; Winter Soldier: Iraq a... Iraq Veterans Against ... Best Price: $1.47 Buy New $9.00 (as of 09:50 UTC - Details)
  16. record personal debt; the American people will be restrained in their profligate consumer spending which has created the highest personal debt in history; most adult (and even rather young people) Americans are bankrupt already. See above;
  17. jobs, white collar and manufacturing going overseas; the process of globalization and U.S. corporations moving entire facilities overseas seeking lower wages and fewer employees’ benefits packages will accelerate rather than slow in the next ten years. U.S. military occupation of foreign countries and the attendant nation-building will, as well, accelerate, taking even more jobs overseas, but creating new openings in (for but one instance) the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers. And many corporations such a Halliburton, Brown & Root will be hiring, but only into overseas expansion. The brain drain may seemingly mean more jobs domestically but for most at substantially lower wages. This job attrition will continue exacerbating unemployment figures further as well as the tax base;
  18. further mergers and acquisitions; globalization implies Corporatism which implies further concentration in every major industry; which implies a further attrition in the areas outlined above;
  19. further centralization of major industries; same as above;
  20. housing bubble; the absurd housing bubble, where prices have no relationship to real value, is concentrated in the western states, but the nation over, and must come to an end. Higher interest rates and further job losses through overseas brain drain and business failures can be expected;
  21. stock market speculation returning (bubble); Mr. Greenspan of the Fed, is keeping interest rates artificially low for political motivations. These motives must end sooner rather than later and the expectant rate hikes will bring about further corrections in the stock market, housing and further unemployment and worsening tax revenues;
  22. interest rates unrealistically low; same as above;
  23. U.S. federal deficit heading for record highs; The imperial vision of those now in power will not alter one bit (whether Democrats or Republicans control the government); the future is clear, and this administration, like no other, has ebraced this expansive point of view: Empire will expand, one way or another;
  24. the Fed increasing (record) money supply; the increasing money supply (the monetization of the federal debt) will continue unabated to pay for the expansion of Empire and its imperial war-making/nation-building;
  25. U.S. dollar in crisis; all the above has placed an ever increasing pressure on a detereorating value of the dollar. At some point America in the persons of the elite and Bush administration, will defend the dollar through interest rates and tax increases causing further layoffs and bankruptcies; a universal draft solves this problem by alleviating unemployment outcomes to prop-up the dollar (which the US empire must do "at any cost.");
  26. U.S. military engagements planned globally; there is no end in sight with the administration’s global view, using the war on terrorism, WMD, and other contrivances, the military footprint will grow exponentially in the decades to come. Therefore more troops needed;
  27. planned larger deployments (footprint) of U.S. Military; See my article on our website and a recent piece in Foreign Affairs Sept./October issue 2003;
  28. Army Reserves and National Guard deployments; already planned is the increased usage of the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard; this is only a short term solution given the need and an election coming-up. Every time one deploys these organs there is a correspondence in unemployment and reduced tax revenues as those earning more than what they receive during their active duty phase is often quite considerable;
  29. Reserves and Guard recruitment off (resignations imminent); there is a massive decline in both organizations as nobody joins the reserves and guard "hoping to be deployed"; it is clear now to all, there is deployment in that future…. resignations and end of tour commitments are already taking place as those who can leave these units are quitting rather than see Iraq in their future;
  30. two or more intractable guerrilla wars in Middle East & Central Asia; both of these wars promise to draw down even more troops from the reserves and Guard until it is no longer feasible. The draft solves this problem first and foremost;
  31. recession or worse (deflation) anticipated by all knowledgeable observers; given each scenario above, or any combination of several, will bring about a correction in an entirely mismanaged economic system exacerbated by globalization and imperial burdens. A correction is a different way of saying everyone will face living within their means: "a day of reckoning" it is often called;
  32. present administration’s imperial perspective (neo-empire); since 9/11 there has never been a clearer imperial vision put forward. That it is not new at all is now a moot point, that it is articulated means it will accelerate;
  33. and finally, the potential escalation of the drug war in Latin America (which is on the table presently though the other two AOs dominate the news). This last burden is a Bush family project decades old; it is being pursued in a full military deployment which one day may make Afghanistan seem mild. That it is "on our own borders" bodes ill for DEA and Border Patrol efforts to stem the tide. Want to end drug usage on the streets of America, draft them and place the burden of civil strife in the able hands of Military Justice: Military Justice is to Justice what Military Music is to Music.

And there you have, albeit in short shrift as each section would require a treatise. But one gets the point. There are only so many treatments for the diseases needing cures. When one discovers one treatment which has the potential of curing so many ailments the resident physician does not belabor the point for long. The prescritption which ameliorates so many infections is administered, although the patients are told it is but for the one severe disruption: i.e., in this case, to save the troops under siege in a just and honorable cause of liberty and justice. That the truth lies elsewhere, or the lie elsewhere, matters not. The universal draft of a major proportion of the youth, between the ages of 18 (17?) and 32 (36?) and covering both males and females (equity and the women’s movement wins yet another victory for equality) is that one universal magic bullet. It is the only one thing, used in combination with other remedies, which cures many of the Empire’s imperial ills. It has precedence, purpose and support. It is not something "I personally" would approve of, I am simply putting forward what "they must" do. What will all those "true-believers," waving Chinese made American flags, and wrapping yellow ribbons ‘round the ole Oak tree…say? Being proper American patriots, proper parents too, which support their president…they will send their children off to war and many to their deaths and worse. They always have.

Craig B. Hulet was both speech writer and Special Assistant for Special Projects to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Retired); he has been a consultant to federal law enforcement ATF&E of Justice/Homeland Security for over 25 years; he has written four books on international relations and philosophy, his latest is The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law – An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire. Hulet served in Vietnam 1969–70, 101st Airborne, C Troop 2/17th Air Cav and graduated 3rd in his class at Aberdeen Proving Grounds Ordnance School MOS 45J20 Weapons. He remains a paid analyst and consultant in various areas of geopolitical, business and security issues: terrorism and military affairs. Hulet lives in the ancient old-growth Quinault Rain Forest.

November 6, 2009