Once again the same old missiles are rattling, warning of Iran’s potential threat to the United States just like we were assured falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
As a result, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi, Afghanistan and Pakistani men, women and children were needlessly slaughtered. American taxpayers lost billions of dollars in payments to the likes of Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, the Carlisle Group and other war suppliers.
Sadly, after all the mayhem, we have not won the minds and hearts of those people. We have just made them hate us more.
Additionally we are expanding our military operations in Pakistan, Australia, the Congo, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. If we continue to use the “Shock and Awe” strategy of the Bush administration, we will surely build hate in these countries as well.
Our leaders seem to have cast aside the need for us to follow international law forbidding any country from invading another sovereign country or the Geneva Convention for the treatment of prisoners. It is now apparently OK for us to disregard our own laws of habeas corpus and the rights of the accused to the due process of law.
Back in 1789, James Madison warned, “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
Now in 2011, perhaps we should be concerned about such tyranny and oppression in guarding our right to privacy and free speech for Americans under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Since the Iraq war, the Patriot Act was passed which allows the government to eavesdrop on Americans’ telephones and email, and takes some of the liberties the British took from us back in our formative years. Everyone must now be subject to invasive searches by federalized, private security companies at airports without any wide-scale, identifiable threat.
Why then do we allow the past three presidents, without an act of Congress, to declare war on other sovereign nations and why do they garner so much corporate support from the same companies to whom the taxpayers pay to supply the wars?
President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. He went on to say that preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Hitler, in turn, urged his followers to make a lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
According to historical economist, Robert Higgs, presidents have misled the public about their motives and their intentions in going to war.
The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said all wars are fought for money. Marcus Tullius Cicero agreed, “The sinews of war are infinite money.”
General Smedly Butler, former Marine Corps commandant and two time Medal of Honor recipient, in 1935 accused major New York investment banks of using the U.S. Marines as racketeers and gangsters to exploit peasants in Nicaragua. He described himself, as a Marine, as being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, Wall Street and the bankers in Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic and other Republics. His famous quote was “War is a racket” in 1935.
Another former Marine Corps commandant in 1966 was quoted as saying, “I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of Third World nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.”
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, put it in a nutshell by saying, “The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people.”
Let us not believe this time around that Iran is a threat. We can neither afford to continue these invasions of other countries that kill and maim our beloved allied forces and the innocent men, women and children of other sovereign nations.
Patrick Eisenhart of Augusta is a semiretired telecommunications consultant. He was an elected delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention.