WICHITA, Kan. - A friend of mine sent the following comment regarding the death of Osama bin Laden: "Can we now say 'mission accomplished?' He was killed in a walled compound near a Pakistan military base, and not in Afghanistan. It's time to end the expense, bring the kids home, and begin a peace time economy again."
I told my friend that I agree wholeheartedly that we should withdraw from Afghanistan.
However, I had to qualify my enthusiasm with an observation. Just as Eisenhower warned us against allowing the 'military industrial complex' to take over our government, the sad truth is - that's exactly what has taken place. The military industrial complex has, indeed, taken over our democratic processes on behalf of the oil / energy conglomerates, Wall Street and the banks. Sadly, I think it would be delusional to assume that those who really determine our foreign policies would ever give an inch in regard to their steady march toward world hegemony.
We must remember that candidate Obama's promise to "leave Iraq" turned out to be a decision that was "above the President's pay-grade."
It wasn't long after his inauguration that his goal to withdraw was rejected and replaced by his bowing to a higher authority that decided US troops should remain in Iraq indefinitely. Though the official reason is supposedly to "assure stability and peace," I think it naive to think that the reason we will remain in Iraq is any other reason than to guarantee American and British oil companies will have continued access to the Iraqi oil fields.
And, just as the president said earlier this year that we would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan this next summer, only to have Gen. Petraeus go on his own media tour to inform the American public -- and the President -- that we would NOT be withdrawing from Afghanistan this summer. Directly rebuffing the president in public is, literally, an unprecedented event in American history. It shows very definitively, the evolution of the power of the military industrial complex (that it now not only controls virtually all U.S. intelligence activities and military activities) but it also is in the driver's seat in regard to American foreign policy.
The executive branch and its state department are no longer in a position to determine American foreign policy.
The outcome -- the ultimate end result of this current trajectory of events that underlines the loss of American citizens' power over our own government -- will, I fear, possibly lead to the formation of a coalition between China, Russia, the EU and maybe Japan and other countries that will agree to stop using the dollar as the international monetary unit.
The decision will lead to the simultaneous dumping of their individual pools of trillions in greenbacks on the open market (China, alone, according to a Committee on Foreign Relations speaker last spring, has in excess of $17 Trillion in U.S. Dollars). That simultaneous "ditching" of the U.S. dollar as the international currency would devalue the dollar immediately and crash the U.S. economy.
Those countries would then take advantage of the "buyers' market" of US companies and institutions which would go bankrupt as a result and, no doubt, be put up for sale after such a move. They would use their comparatively healthy economies -- and pools of ready cash to take advantage of the "sale" because other countries haven't invested virtually all of their resources on military hardware, military personnel, medical care for the combat wounded, military pensions, and the cost of maintaining nearly 1,000 military bases around the world, as has the U.S.
One thing is certain. The Oil companies are certainly prospering (Exxon: $11 Billion in first quarter of 2011) while you and I are paying for the cost of using our military to invade countries with oil, lithium and other energy-oriented resources.
And, if not used to exert our will via military invasion and setting up puppet governments who are friendly to American / British oil companies, then we offer our military's "help" to countries rich in those resources as we have begun to do in Africa, via the "African Corp."
Is it any surprise that the US Embassy in Somalia is housed in the headquarters building of the largest American oil company operating in that country?
Is it any surprise that maintaining instability is our true objective in countries like Somalia?
By preventing countries from forming meaningful self-governing democracies, there can be no official government entity to put limits on oil extracted from their territories, nor any way to tax the extracted oil and divert those funds to the betterment of the people of those countries.
I find it sad that so much of our foreign aid moneys go to reinforce dictatorial regimes -- or at least maintaining the entrenchment of oligarchic upper class systems -- in countries all over the world with the sole purpose of stabilizing the oil companies' hegemony over the various countries' oil and mineral resources.
Can anyone say with a straight face that the goal of America's foreign policy is to share the miracle of democracy and self-government with countries around the world?
Beginning with the overthrow of the non-religious-based, successful democracy that had been established in Iran in 1953, and replacing that people-oriented government with the extremely repressive dictatorship of the Shaw was the first of dozens of such crimes against democracy and American values.
Ever since the first coup in Iran was initiated specifically because the elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh had the "audacity" to demand that part of the oil profits be used to help modernize the country, build schools, hospitals and highways, the number of governments we have overthrown on behalf of American oil conglomerates and business interests has grown exponentially.
The nightmare of the military industrial complex's unwarranted power over our democratic processes that Eisenhower feared has become reality. That power has continued to grow and become consolidated so it could grow even more powerful until today, when it wields virtual ubiquitous control over our democratic process.
Is there anyone today who actually believes that our senators and congressmen are in Washington to serve the interests of the American people and not the interests of their corporate sponsors who financed their elections?
We will no longer be "we the people" of America, if we continue to:
- allow corporate special interests to create tax breaks for themselves,
- reward exporting jobs with even more tax incentives,
- allow companies to report profits offshore and losses here in America for further tax breaks, until the majority of large corporations end up paying no taxes at all, and
- give the oil industry a $10 billion subsidy annually in spite of their obvious profits without such "help"
We will find that we have forfeited our very way of life to the very thing that the father of capitalism, Adam Smith, said would happen. He said that if government did not regulate the financial "playing field" to make sure capitalism could continue to function in a "win-win" environment and unbridled greed without regulation to keep it in check, capitalism would destroy the economy completely.
Corporations don't have souls. Therefore, the only rule is, "Does what we do make the company profits?" Sadly, Goldman Sachs thought that defrauding customers was perfectly okay because fraud yielded monstrous profits. First, from the commissions they received when they sold clients (including the governments of Iceland and other countries) totally worthless financial instruments. Secondly, through making money by making the sure-bet that those instruments would fail. They made money literally by embracing fraud as an official policy of their company. And, so, of course, the rest of Wall Street couldn't be left behind so they bribed and coerced Standard & Poor and the other rating houses to embrace fraud as well.
Bottom line - capitalism cannot survive without the truth. Without trust, capitalism becomes 100% an insider's game where the only winners are those who make the rules.
If we don't regain control over our democratic processes, and stop the power grab by those business entities who profit from perpetual war, and if we don't regain control over the SEC and other financial institutions that are supposed to protect the public from the kind of fraud that almost destroyed our country, we will deserve what we get.
Our destiny as American citizens will be to be yet one more "notch" on the bedpost of world history that continues to repeat over and over the refrain - absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Democracy is not supposed to allow absolute power to be in the hands of any one group.
So, since that is what we are seeing as corporatism continues to wrap its boa constrictor-like body around more and more of parts of America's economic engine, making it harder and harder for average Americans to survive and thrive, it won't be long before the "profits for the corporation at any cost - because corporations are equal citizens with people" philosophy will choke the life out of the body politic. And, leave America to be devoured by the vultures who will surely arrive to pick at what's left of our factories, empty shopping malls and our abundance of empty, foreclosed homes -- as surely as the sun will rise in the east.