“Many years ago I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.
“But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”
This quote is more fittting than ever now that the members of the U.S. Congress have just decided to cut the pensions of military retirees (even if retired for medical reasons) while, as always, increasing the overall “defense” budget (which returns to them in the form of campaign contributions from the global corporations of the military-industrial complex which own them).
It is always puzzling when the masses of the country cheer on wars, as they did a dozen years ago in a frenzy that lasted several years. We know from history that they almost invariably end badly for these same ordinary Americans who always volunteer in higher percentages than anyone for these empire-building adventures.
Actually, it is not even accurate to say the wars “end” anymore. They just morph into permanent occupations, justifying even more “defense” dollars from beleaguered U.S. taxpayers, most of whom have less wealth to “defend” than ever.
It is really strange to be watching a football game or something during the holiday season and then they cut to a military family stationed in God-knows-where wishing their family and friends back in the States a Merry Christmas.
In most countries, one would ask: “What is Uncle Dan doing in ‘Lower Slobovia’?” (or wherever). Here we just think “well, obviously ‘we’ must have once invaded that country long ago, and now, for whatever reason (and it’s best not to ask questions), can never leave.”