Gareth Porter ~ recent talk (extracts)
I want to present a vision of something that has not been discussed seriously in many, many years: a national strategy to mobilize a very large segment of the population of this country to participate in a movement to force the retreat of the permanent war state.
I know that many of you must be thinking: that is a great idea for 1970 or even 1975 but its no longer relevant to the conditions we face in this society today.
We all know what has transpired over the past few decades to made make permanent war “the new normal”, as Andrew Bacevich as so aptly put it. But let me tick off five of them that are obvious:
- the draft has was replaced by a professional army, taking away a dominant factor in the surge of anti-sentiment during the Vietnam era.
- the political parties and Congress has been taken over completely and corrupted by the military-industrial complex.
- the war state exploited 9/11 to accumulate enormous new powers and appropriate far more of the federal budget than before.
- The news media are more warlike than ever before.
- The powerful anti-war that was mobilized in this country and around the world in response to the U.S. invasion of Iraq was demobilized over a few years by the inability of activists to have any impact on either Bush or Obama.
The Sanders campaign has shown that a very large proportion of the millennial generations do not trust those who hold power in the society, because they have rigged the economic and social arrangements to benefit a tiny minority while screwing the vast majority – and especially the young. Obviously the permanent war state’s operations can be convincingly analyzed as fitting that model, and that opens up a new opportunity to take on the permanent war state.
The permanent war state – the state institutions and individuals who push for policies and programs to carry out perpetual war — must be delegitimized in the same way that the financial elite dominating the economy has been delegitimized for a large segment of the U.S. population. The campaign should exploit the politically potent parallel between Wall Street and the national security state in terms of both siphoning off trillions of dollars from the American people. For Wall Street the ill-gotten gains took the form of excessive profits from a rigged economy; for the national security state and its contractor allies, they took the form of seizing control over money appropriated from U.S. taxpayers to enhance their personal and institutional power.
I think it is terribly important to have the endpoint of a national campaign spelled out clearly and in enough detail to give it credibility. And that endpoint should be in a form that activists can point to as something to support—specifically in the form of a piece of proposed legislation. Having something that people can support is a key to gaining momentum. This vision of the endpoint could be called the “End Permanent War Act of 2018”.
2 trillion dollars every year on War
Gareth Porter talks recently about the state of Permanent War
Gareth Porter (born June 18, 1942) is an American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy. He was active as a Vietnam specialist and anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, serving as Saigon Bureau Chief for Dispatch News Service International from 1970–1971, and later, as co-director of the Indochina Resource Center. He has written several books about the potential for peaceful conflict resolution ~ (Wikipedia)