When I recently signed an anti-war letter to be sent to the President and to members of The Congress by Come Home America, a small coalition of concerned citizens that is managed by Kevin Zeese, attorney and political activist, I added the following comment:
I endorse this letter unequivocally. America has been the most warring nation since the end of WWII. It is time to stop this deadly habit that benefits only war profiteers.
Later, I began thinking of the research I had done over the last 10 years on America’s corpocracy and what I had written about “warfare welfare” in my new book, The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch. The purpose of this article is to share with readers some of my views and proposals in that book and some additional thoughts I had about the letter after signing it. I will start with those additional thoughts.
My overall opinion of the letter is that while it is well intentioned and has certainly garnered a large number of signatures from luminaries and just plain people like myself, it cannot possibly achieve its aim of persuading President Obama and The Congress “—to end the current illegal wars and start a national dialogue about shifting U.S. foreign policy away from dominance through military might, and toward being a member of the community of nations” (quote from the letter). The reason for my pessimism is simply that America’s endless, winless, deadly warring will never stop until America gets rid of her corpocracy, what I call the Devil’s marriage between powerful corporate interests and all three branches of government.
The corpocracy absolutely depends on America seeking and starting covert wars (e.g., CIA orchestrated coup d’états and the many ongoing shadow wars in the Greater Middle East) and very visible wars. A huge war machine and endless militarism fattens the defense industry, including beefing up its sale of arms (the U.S. is the world’s top arms seller); gives military personnel, spooks, and the likes something to do for their pay checks; opens up, protects, and expands corporations’ foreign markets and exploitation of natural resources (oil and minerals) and cheap labor; keeps the corpocracy’s politicians in office; and distracts the American public from growing socio-economic deterioration at home (e.g., soaring poverty rate, joblessness, etc., etc.).
The changes America has undergone in 235 years have been phenomenal in their nature and impact, yet one constant always remains, war. America, after all, was born in the womb of war, fought by the colonists rebelling from King George’s corpocracy. The letter I signed concluded by stating that “George Washington urged Americans to “cultivate peace and harmony with all” and to “avoid overgrown military establishments,” which are “hostile to republican liberty.” While it is true that he proposed a “proper peace establishment,” it was in name only as he then went on to explain that it would have “a regular and standing force,” “a well-regulated militia,” “arsenals of all kinds of military stores,” and “academies, one or more for the Instruction of the Art [of the] Military.” Would we have expected a different utterance from a victorious army general?
Since the King’s corpocracy there have been four “homegrown” ones. The first was during the Robber Baron’s era. Abe Lincoln said “Corporations have been enthroned—An era of corruption in high places will follow.” It did, but public outrage and Teddy Roosevelt busted this corpocracy. The second was during the Flapper Era. The Great Depression, WWII, and FDR ended it. The third was during the Cold War. The warfare industry and fear mongering politicians helped sustain it. The fourth, is the current one, begun in the 1970’s with a “corporate revolution” triggered by the “battle plan” Lewis F. Powell, soon-to-be a US Supreme Court Justice, sent to the US Chamber of Commerce, a stauncher ally no corpocracy will ever know or find.
The corpocracy in all of its renditions has, in effect, and over time honed to perfection a culture of war in which Americans generally expect and accept America at war. The letter writer alluded to this culture in saying that “the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned of in his final speech to the nation has become deeply embedded.” What the writer did not say is that Ike not only presided over that very complex but also authored the CIA, purportedly to stem the spread of communism but in reality to install dictators friendly to corporate America’s insatiable appetite. His Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, more a hawk than a statesman, is quoted as having said that “In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of external menace.” While making such a statement seems audacious and not unlike Joseph Goebbels’ sentiments, Dulles was merely speaking the truth of the corpocracy and its modus operandi: scare the American people with fear mongering, half truths and outright lies; evoke jingoistic patriotism (“my country right or wrong”); blather about building nations and spreading democracy; and slander peace seekers as weaklings soft on the enemy.
Neither Americans subjugated to its power nor the rest of world confronted,and sometimes devastated, by it has ever seen a more powerful force than America’s corpocracy, along with its myriad allies like the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the numerous think tanks and litigation centers, the captive media, and a foreign enemy or two or three or more.
At the same time, the corpocracy’s opposition is pathetically weak and unorganized. There is nothing comparable to the massive demonstrations against the Vietnam War, and even if there were, they would be crushed (the Kent State killings would pale in comparison). There is no national leader of FDR’s stature or capability or viable third political party now or in the foreseeable future. The 150 or so non-governmental organizations (NGOs) opposed to the corpocracy that I researched are splintered, and I strongly doubt my ongoing petition drive aimed at uniting them will ever succeed (click here). Some of them seem to be already “corporatized,” and some, if not all the rest, are too territorial,
And more to the point here on opposition to war, the opposition is totally fractured. There are over 40 anti-war organizations in the U.S. and a smattering of them throughout the rest of the world. The oldest in the U.S. reportedly is the War Resistors League, founded in 1923. The largest in the U.S. reportedly is Peace Action, with over 100,000 members, a national network of 27 state affiliates, and over 100 chapters nationwide. Wars continue unfazed by these divided and conquered anti-war organizations. They need, says Lawrence S. Wittner, a professor of history and once a member of Peace Action’s Board, “a powerful national peace organization, with a mass membership.” Mr. Zeese’s letter hardly reflects such a powerful organization. Moreover, less than a month before he wrote about his new anti-war movement in Dissident Voice (July 6, 2011) Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis mentioned in the same outlet (June 15) yet another new anti-war movement, “A Call to Action – Oct. 6, 2011 and onward.” I do not see it mentioned in Mr. Zeese’s letter or listed among his letter’s endorsers. [It is mentioned in “The Revolution Will Not Be Deactualized,” June 15. — Eds]
If the corpocracy, let alone its warring arm, is to be ended before it ends America I am convinced it will take a unified network of NGOs, including anti-war NGOs, (let’s call the network the US Chamber of Democracy) carrying out a strategic plan of major political, legislative, judicial, and economic reforms that are backed up by a massive coalition of 20 or more segments of the populace most likely to abhor the corpocracy.
- To appreciate the scope of what it would take to end the entire corpocracy I will close by listing without discussing what I think it would take just to end the warfare welfare component:
Waging War on War
Establish a Citizen’s Assembly for Peace.
Establish a Department of Peace Keeping and National Security
Establish a Peace Keeping and National Security Council.
Nationalize and reorient the defense industry.
Join the International Criminal Court.
Create a dual draft. (community vs military service).
End the propagandizing of the military and militarism.
Determine the lost opportunity costs of warfare welfare.
Impeach or prosecute officials who commit the U.S. to war on false pretenses or unconstitutionally.
Permanently ban and prosecute defense contractors who defraud the government.
Publish a detailed “name and shame” annual warfare welfare report.
Stop budget overruns in military spending.
Stop emergency and off-the-book defense budgeting and funding.
Include supplemental funding and nuclear weapon funding in the military budget.
Require open and competitive bidding on all contract bids.
Purge the GNP index of defense costs.
Prevent war profiteering.
Stop the manufacture and purchase of useless weapons.
Stop the sale anywhere abroad of arms from U.S. manufacturers.
Eliminate the privatization of the military.
Forbid military recruiting at public schools and colleges.
Eliminate college ROTC programs.