“A nation that spends more money on military defense than on social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I have to say that while watching the inauguration of President Obama for his second term, I had some mixed feelings. Of course, his election probably saved the Country a lot of grief, but isn’t it a sad commentary that simply preventing the Republicans from totally destroying the economy and the social safety net is the best we can do? President Obama said all of the right things regarding focus on social programs and saving the middle-class, and ending the war(s). I hope that his failures in his first term in these regards were a function of a slow learning curve, but recent revelations suggest differently.
For example, when considering the “surge” in Afghanistan a few years back Obama was told by Leon Pinetta “you can’t go against the Generals.” The Commander in Chief was told her can’t tell the generals what to do! The last President who tried to rein in the power of the Pentagon was Kennedy. He was assassinated two months after signing a Presidential Directive to withdraw forces from Viet Nam. Full one-third of our spending is on Defense (more proportionally than during the Viet Nam War), while poverty levels are nearly at the same levels (after decades of reductions).
I remembered the words of Dr. King in an era where were fighting an interminable war on behalf of a corrupt government because the Generals felt it was necessary, and I wondered if indeed we had become a nation spiritually dead – killed by the cancer of a military-industrial complex.
Spot on. A Nobel peace prize? This is the man waging drone wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and possibly also Mali and even the Phillipines. The man who has not closed Guantanamo, the man who has prosecuted more whistleblowers in one term than all other US Presidents combined, and finally (saved the best for last) the first President of the US to grant himself with right to kill American citizens with no judicial oversight or due process of any sort. Hundreds of civilians and children killed by drones. But the American public is uninformed and only permitted to mourn when they see the faces of murdered children on our soil?