The military-industrial corporations and the politicians who help them to the trough of the U.S. taxpayer have framed our military and warlike posture as necessary to protect us and our nation.  While there may be times when we need a firm action on the part of our military, we have been hypnotized by the military-industrial groups to believe war is ongoing and inevitable.   Indeed, it is the stuff that TV loves.  Flying bodies, bloody faces, exploding buildings, troops marching through smoke, fires everywhere, grieving people, dead bodies, tanks, planes, heliocopters have become the stuff of high news ratings.

Too often it is all portrayed as the heroic actions of our democratic nation.  We "HAVE TO" do these things.  And we "must" protect our Constitution and the ideals of our Founding Fathers.  Is "the Father of the U.S. Constitution" good enough for you?  If he was also the Fourth President of the U.S. good enough for you?  Read what James Madison had to say on the subject:

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.  War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.  In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influences in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people.  The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both.  No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Wow!  Is that hitting the years 2001-2010 on the head or what?  James Madison has laid out a wake-up call that still matters today ...perhaps moreso today.  Today there are many who have actually experienced battle who comment in a cautionary way.  Tim O'Brien, a Vietnam veteran, has written about his experiences, including a book titled, "The Things They Carried."  He commented to journalist John McMurtrie about Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan:

"...the soldiers' combat experience in Vietnam seems eerily similar to what the men and women are going through now in Afghanistan and Iraq.  They're civil wars; who's your enemy, who do you shoot at, who do you kill?  No front, no rear, no uniforms, inanimate land mines blowing you up.  And then there are the echoes that are more meaningful to a fiction writer, the echoes of some mom in Dubuque holding her dead kid's clothes in her arms as she watches him go into the grave.  Is it worth that?  What is being accomplished that is worth that mom's grief?"

War is now being decided by people like Barack Obama, who was not in the military nor faced battle; George W. Bush, who found a way around going to the front lines of Vietnam;  Dick Cheney, the war hawk who got himself out of the draft when he was called.  All this posturing by leaders who never faced the horror of war, but were willing to invade a nation like Iraq that had nothing to do with 9-11.  And then, atrociously mismanaging the Iraq War, and landing on an aircraft carrier in full military regalia with a huge sign announcing "Mission Accomplished."  These are decisions made by men who are playing like it is with a bunch of toy soldiers.  But these are REAL lives being sacrificed.  And the costs of war are borne by the American taxpayer, not by some wealthy, untouched leader.

"The world's population is nearly 7 billion people and 4% of them --300 million-- live in the U.S.  Yet the U.S. accounts for over 41% of worldwide military spending with the world's second largest military of 1,445,000 active duty personnel, an additional 1.2 million National Guard and other components.  The War Department has over 800,000 civilian employees worldwide.  The Pentagon has over 3.5 million employees excluding private military contractors and a current military and war budget exceeding $1.1 trillion.  The U.S. sells or gives weaponry to nearly 2/3 of the world's nations accounting for 68.4 % of all global arms sales.  The U.S. has established its control over at least 191 governments and has over 700 military bases on foreign soil and 12,000 nuclear weapons." -"The Catholic Agitator," Feb., 2010

All this has been in the hands of the likes of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, etc.  Is this the United States you think of when you are proud of your nation's history and principles?  Be a hawk or a dove or something in-between.  But get the facts, be a responsible American, and ponder the U.S. from an informed perspective.  We are not playing toy soldiers here, we are dealing in real lives.  I am personally sick of having arm chair quarterbacks and greedy military-industrial corporations playing war games with the flesh and blood of real Americans.

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