The war ensemble
by Matt “Naj” Najmowicz
A war with Afghanistan, a war with Iraq, Syria is on fire, terrorism in Libya, and a dangerous border war with Mexico. Does any of this sound familiar?
After watching the debates last Monday, it became quite apparent to me that neither President Obama nor Governor Romney has any idea what they’re doing with international relations despite that being their chief responsibility. In my lifetime, America has never known peacetime. As an empire, America has been conducting military operations in some part of the world either overtly or covertly before I was conceived, and it has not stopped.
Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Africa have been our stomping grounds for years. The military has been overthrowing governments, carpet-bombing villages, providing security for strategic assets such as oil, installing fresh new dictators (until we kill them or led the revolt against them), and other sorts of nonsense that gives America the reputation that it deserves as a world policing force. By the way, when I use the word “military,” I’m talking about the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Advisor: That is the war ensemble.
I would argue that no matter who is elected as President of the United States, our choices on foreign policy are made through the Pentagon. Every morning, the President wakes up and gets a memo regarding our military operations. Then, usually the first faces he sees are the National Security Advisor, along with a phone call and memo from the Director of the CIA. Those two advisors, alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pressure the President to agree with them on their battle plans and foreign policy. The President walks into the Situation Room as the most powerful man in the world, however, inside that room, he is like a marionette to his own war counsel.
Perhaps this is why Jack Kennedy was always so fascinating to me. Imagine being surrounded by your war counsel and being told to launch a nuclear device into Cuba. Think about that for a minute: You’re surrounded by 20 or so people in a hot and sweaty room. Everyone’s telling you to hit the button and all you are armed with is the courage of your moral convictions. That is true courage, and I often wonder if this is what got President Kennedy killed.
I’m not saying that President Obama nor Governor Romney lack morals and ethics. However, I would say that neither of them have the courage to stand up to the military industrial complex.
Where is the difference in opinions in the presidential debate this past Monday night? All I heard was that America must continue to be strong in a turbulent world. There was talk about how great our military strength is — as if that’s something that needs to be celebrated. I heard the two of them trying to ensure the world that our greatest ally was Israel. We had a reassurance that Iran was not going to get a nuclear device in our lifetimes. We also heard that Syria’s president needs to be overthrown. It was as if they were parroting someone else’s answers and policies verbatim.
The most bizarre thing I heard was Governor Romney talking about peace. I have a question for Governor Romney: How do you bring peace when we fly killer robots over people’s houses? I have never seen a tank shoot out potted flowers, a high school, a hospital, a movie theater or a library. See what I’m getting at here? How do you bring peace to a region that only knows two things: poverty and violence?
I have friends who are in the military and are also freshly out of the military. I want to reach out to them right now and say that I am not writing this against you and I would never try to insult a person that serves his or her country.
This is my patriotism: to be a contrarian and be skeptical of our government.
Someone has to support our men and women in the service and say, “Haven’t we had enough war. Have we scattered enough seeds throughout the world that look like M-16 ammunition? What will we harvest with those seeds we’ve sown?
War is death, not peace. It seems no one has the courage to stop it.