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Washington’s Military Addiction and the Ruins Still to Come


Washington’s Military Addiction and the Ruins Still to Come

Tom Engelhardt

There are the news stories that genuinely surprise you, and then there are the ones that you could write in your sleep before they happen. Let me concoct an example for you:

“Top American and European military leaders are weighing options to step up the fight against the Islamic State in the Mideast, including possibly sending more U.S. forces into Iraq, Syria, and Libya, just as Washington confirmed the second American combat casualty in Iraq in as many months.”


War is the last refuge of the petrodollar.


I find Tom's addiction metaphor simplistic. It seems following his line of reasoning that the US just needs to stop being addicted to militarism. Not so easy he says yes but what actually causes an addiction? In this case I would say that the metaphor is wrong. It is not something that the US has fallen into because of a background or childhood abuse, poverty or some other trauma. Rather it is money and the power and control it buys that is the true "addiction". This metaphor is applicable throughout America. Militarism is the enforcer arm of this addiction. Another arm of enforcement is economic, through manipulation of currencies,world trade based in US dollars, sanctions etc the US can attack another country and bring it to its knees. The latest version of this is what Pepe Escobar terms Hybrid war an example of this in action is the slow motion coup happening in Brazil right now.

It seems to me that under Tom's addiction is a sense of America still needing to have a military, to be the policeman of the world, to bring democracy and freedom to others. This is the evangelical/puritanical shadow of some Americans that they do not see. That they know better, are better, do better that all others.

The irony of this is that as the country goes down the toilet it will drag the world down into the whirlpool with it.


" No matter who is elected president, you already know more or less what American policy is going to be."

True, because American presidents are not elected but pre-selected by the economic elite who than allow the American public to vote in a dog and pony show for either war party. To whom is given their orders to support the world wide vested interests of the Amerikan Empire or else! And these evil people sent their message loud and clear when JFK was assassinated. Ever since the coup d' etat in 1963 America has been a military dictatorship that has installed cowardly, quislings for POTUS.

The exact quote by Jackie: " THEY HAVE KILLED JACK"!
You notice Jackie did not say he; Jackie said they, what she meant by they I do not know, but the CIA would be a good guess!


Quite frankly, I'm beginning to have a new appreciation for the second amendment. I'm hoping we have a non-violent revolution spurred forward by Bernie's campaign, but...

There really is no level to which the US government won't stoop.


I'm really surprised to hear Tom say that the only candidate with any antiwar credentials is Bernie Sanders. How about Jill Stein or any of the Green Party candidates, or any outside the corporate party?


"The Democrats have a lesser but similar set of options available, which is why even Bernie Sanders only calls for holding the Pentagon budget at its present staggering level or for the most modest of cuts, not for reducing it significantly."

"To take Bernie Sanders as an example -- because he’s as close to an antiwar candidate as you’ll find in the present election season -- he recently put something like his stamp of approval on the White House drone assassination project and the “kill list” that goes with it."

As Tom's statements above show, Bernie's anti-war credentials are far from sterling.

Bernie's absence of comment against the US penchant for warfare seems to suggest that Bernie is a bit of a hawk. Does he grudgingly follow the warmonger's line because the Democrats demand it, or does he willingly embrace it?

A rejection of warfare is usually the position of the kind and considerate, which Bernie otherwise seems to be. Why does he withhold this rejection?


The escalation happening now reminds me of a similar escalation 50 years ago. I realized we could really use a hero from back then again and, so, with apologies to Chicago's Robert Lamm and Harry S. Truman:

America needs you, Bobby Kennedy
Bobby, could you please come home
Things are looking bad
I know you would be mad
To see what kind of men (and women)
Prevail upon the land you love

America's wondering how we got here
Bobby, all we get is lies
We're gettin' safer cars
Rocket ships to mars
From men who'd sell us out
To get themselves a piece of power

America's calling, Bobby Kennedy
Bobby, you know what to do
The world is turnin' round and losin' lots of ground
Oh, Bobby, is there something we can do to save the land we love


Metaphors are immensely powerful rhetorical devices. I find Tom's addiction metaphor an apt illustration for what the American political system is dealing with. Without war and militarism there is, in my view, no American economy. $650B/year is a lot money and makes GE, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing and many other American corporations ...as well as Wall St. ...very happy. Ironically, the heroin corporations are also very happy about America's war and military addictions since their presence in Afghanistan, also secures their economy. Like a substance abuse addiction, once the habit is established, it ain't easy getting rid of it. Getting over an addiction to being needed such as being "policeman of the world" is also not easy in world economy ...ask China; they've had their own bouts with heroin.


Whether due to fear or arrogance, we have what a big chunk of Americans want. Think of it this way: Would the average tax payer rather chip in $100 for a new bomb or ten cents to help feed our very poor?


We also have to keep in mind that the US has remained engaged in wars, usually by choice, more often than not for the past century. Since the end of WWll, US corporations have been like an invading army while the US government has been like a mob boss, creating tremendous resentment toward this country. We've earned the resentment and rage of much of the world, and have increasingly come to be regarded as the greatest possible threat to the survival of all humankind.



This is the United States of Cuckoo land. The US Government introduced a bill aimed at creating a new Federal agency to counter "Russian and Chinese propaganda"

“From Ukraine to the South China Sea, foreign disinformation campaigns do more than spread anti-Western sentiments – they manipulate public perception to change the facts on the ground, subvert democracy and undermine US interests. In short, they make the world less safe,” Lieu said. “The Act ensures that the US uses all the tools at our disposal to disrupt these vitriolic propaganda campaigns and empower those being manipulated with truthful information. The truth can be a powerful remedy to destabilization and conflict – and we must do all we can to make sure it is heard the world over.”

These are the same jackasses that claim that the Pentagon can not release all of the pictures taken at Abu Ghraib because they a threat to National Security and the same jackassses that claim the Public taking videoes of police officers is leading to an increase in the crime rate and that it should be illegal. They are the same that lied the USA into a war in Iraq and Libya and now Syria.


"Put another way, in a Washington that seems incapable of doing anything but worshiping at the temple of the U.S. military, global policymaking has become a remarkably mindless military-first process of repetition..." A/K/A MARS RULES!


This terrible reliance on military solutions for every foreign policy problem is the main reason I would never vote for or support Mme. Clinton as President. She is a died in the wool warmonger and her Administration would usher in WWIII.


I think both Sanders and Trump would not be so amenable to constant war!


story the same as always its a rich mans war but a poor mans fight


Amerika has replaced the Third Reich as the most egregious threat to the world because the US business is the war business.


Before Eisenhower left office he warned the American people of the dangers of the military industrial complex. Just imagine, Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander of WWII, felt the need to warn us of the MIC as if it was out of control even then. It seems this might have been the reason for the Kennedy assassination as he wanted to rein in the MIC.


After this fall's election, we will have a new president, someone who will feel the pressure to perform and not be bullied from abroad. We'll also have those who will feel the time is right to challenge the new president by provoking an incident or more. I have been reading David Swanson's book, War Is a Lie, which followed my recent reading of John Perkins' The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and my cynical outlook on how we are duped as a citizenry into supporting so many things we do around the world is growing by leaps and bounds. Trump's call to "make America great again" is not the solution. We need to recognize and take responsibility for who we have become and what we have done to others. It's not a pretty picture, but it would set us on a road to a better world for all.


We all know who killed Jack, and so does Obama, and so does Clinton, and so does Trump. And unless we elect a President soon who has the courage to oppose the CIA/MIC we will all have to pay the price.