News Flash: Obama Doesn’t Work for You

by Thomas Knapp
News Flash: Obama Doesn’t Work for You

As the US government ramps up toward war on Syria’s regime, a sense of puzzlement seems to have descended upon America. Politicians can’t seem to identify any “legitimate” US “interest” that war would serve; polls show that the public opposes the project; military leaders, when pressed to propagandize for intervention, have instead repeatedly cautioned that war would likely boost the fortunes of al Qaeda and other groups who have been designated “the enemy” for a decade and more. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason, logic or “up side” to the whole idea.

Nonetheless, US President Barack Obama seems to have decided that military action is the only way to get whatever it is that he thinks he wants. He’s ordered the release of a “report” purporting to “justify” military action, his minions are falling into line , the Republican jingoists who never met a bloodbath they didn’t like are in high dudgeon that he’s taking so long, and world media are beginning to paint war as inevitable.

If all this seems confusing and counter-intuitive, here’s why:

You’ve been told all your life — in junior high civics class, at your local church, on the nightly news — that politicians and soldiers work for you. You’ve been told that their job is to defend the United States, to support its Constitution and to protect your rights. You’ve been led to believe that while they may do the job poorly, that IS the job.

To quote a popular movie: “You’ve been living in a dream world, Neo.”

In real life, politicians and soldiers work for (and constitute part of) the political class. Their job is to transfer as much wealth as possible from your pockets to that class’s bank accounts. Pursuant to that goal, they run the single largest welfare program on Planet Earth: The US “defense” budget, which is split between a gigantic workfare program (military “service”) to bring some portion of the proles on board both physically and mentally, and a gigantic corporate welfare slush fund or the purchase of weapons, planes, ships and ammunition and the construction and ongoing maintenance of the bases from which these items and their operators are deployed.

There are two major consequences of this ginormous welfare program.

One of those problems is that when you have armies, navies, etc. ten times any reasonable size for “national defense,” the crazier elements of the political class just can’t resist the urge to USE them. For something. For ANYTHING. Because all politicians are criminal sociopaths, it’s just a fact of life that at any given time some of them will be jonesing to murder a few million people.

The other problem is that the US military has become so incredibly bloated that suggesting further expansion — more aircraft carriers, more and more expensive planes, etc. — has become a laugh line. The only way to keep the corporate welfare aspect of “defense” spending going is to consume some of that ammunition and wreck some of those weapons and weapons platforms every now and again so that they have to be replaced. Otherwise, the CEOs of DynCorp, ATK et. al might have to wait a couple of years before trading up to longer, more well-appointed yachts. And we can’t have that, can we?

When Michael Ledeen allegedly said “every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business,” the business he meant was “guaranteeing Boeing’s bottom line.”

You’re going to get war with Syria whether you want it or not, because Obama and Friends don’t work for you. They never have and they never will. It’s time to stop pretending they do.

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10 responses to “News Flash: Obama Doesn’t Work for You

  1. Edward Spalton

    One crucial change along this road was the conversion of NATO – a highly successful, limited, defensive alliance into a “go anywhere-bash anyone” supra-national organisation “Humanitarian Interventions R Us”. Blair and Clinton were the authors of this malign metamorphosis. The military were keen on this because NATO was at a loose end and would have “to go out of area or go out of business”. The first try out was the unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia which was partly justified by fake “massacre marketing ” organised by Western intelligence services.

  2. The proportion of the American economy devoted to the military has been in DECLINE for half a century.

    Even in raw terms (numbers of ships, aircraft, tanks and so on) it is obvious that the American military is in DECLINE.

    I OPPOSE getting involved in Syria – but implying that the military is the largest part of the modern Federal government (as if the United States was the United States of Jack Kennedy in 1963, not of Barack Obama in 2013) is counter factual.

    As for the implied claim that the education system (the schools and colleges) and the media are pro military and pro war – that is just more counter factual stuff.

    The schools are dominated by teachers and administrators who think that children going “bang, bang” with their fingers (or making paper guns) is a bad thing. And the universities (including teacher training) are dominated by 1960s type people – who hate the military.

    I repeat that I OPPOSE intervention in Syria – but writing as if this was the America of the 1950s (small Federal government, bar the military, and a pro military education system and media) is just silly.

  3. Paul,

    1) The “defense” budget line is the single largest US government expenditure category.

    2) A lot of “defense” spending is actually hidden in other categories.

    The military IS the largest part of the federal government, at least where spending is concerned. That’s an irrefutable fact.

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  5. I’m just watching the Commons debate, and it struck me that the government has achieved the dream of every political leader; to unite the country. They’ve finally done it. They’ve ended partisanship and eradicated the political divide.

    Everyone’s against them.

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  7. Thomas – I repeat what I have already said.

  8. Julie near Chicago

    Thomas–“The military IS the largest part of the federal government” an irrefutable fact?

    Source please? Because what I’ve seen is that our defense budget is somewhere between 20% and 35%, depending on who’s doing the accounting, of the Federal budget. And of course “military spending” has all sorts of non-military expenditures hidden in it — the reverse of your Point 2 above (which, in this insane political climate, could very well also be true).

  9. The decline of the American military (both in terms of its proportion of the economy – and in raw terms of the number of ships, fighter aircraft, tanks, tropps….) is part of the general decline of Western military forces.

    However, the United States (in spite of the waste of resources, and human lives, in such campaigns as Afghanistan and Iraq) still has significant military forces – Britain does not.

    One day those people who demand that Britain intervene in X, Y, Z, places (to stop various horrors – and it does not help the debate for libertarians to pretend those horrors are a myth) are going to send British forces to a place where there will be defeated and wiped out.

    I do not think that politicians really understand just how weak British military forces now are.

    “Defeat” in an American context means political defeat (the government sets out rules that make it impossible to win a campaign – or the campaign has no clear objectives in the first place and is a “Do Something!” type thing), defeat in a British context may well prove (in some future case) to be classical military defeat.

    I repeat – I do not think that the ruling elite (the media as well the politicians and administrators) really grasp how weak the British armed forces now are.

    The Welfare State has eaten the British armed forces – and is eating the armed forces of all Western nations (including those of the United States).