Former President and General, Dwight David Eisenhower, issued a warning on Jan. 17th 1961 in his farewell address to the nation. “….we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Today, more than 50 years later, the military industrial complex has grown immeasurably to include not only a vast military establishment and arms industry, but now includes Congress, the mass media, religious institutions, education, every state house and local council. Militarism infects every aspect of life in the U.S. In essence the U.S. has become addicted to war. And like any drug addict, the war addict is controlled by the drug and on a path to self destruction.
Today the U.S. wages war against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen. In truth, these are imperial wars of domination for control of resources, and strategic regions of the world, but disguised as noble causes.
Look at the facts:
The US Department of Defense is the world’s largest landlord with over 539,000 facilities (buildings, structures,) located on nearly 5,000 sites, covering more than 28 million acres in America, its territories and overseas. They include over 1,000 overseas bases in 150 or more countries. Congressional Research Service data says active duty US military personnel worldwide, National Guard, and Selected Reserves, total 1,683,000.
U.S. Military spending: the grand total likely exceeds $1.5 trillion annually, a figure rising most years while popular human needs go begging. Economists cite the unreliability of official numbers, suggesting it’s more accurate to take the “official” Pentagon’s basic budget and double it because as much as 40% of it is black or hidden, plus there are add on supplementals for the ongoing wars. Hidden items that are militarily related include such things as debt interest of $126.3 Billion on military outlays.
What about Hawaii? According to a RAND report released on June 1, 2011, military spending in Hawaii totals more than $6.5 billion annually, supporting 101,533 jobs, with a cumulative economic effect of $12.2 billion. Not a word about the COSTS of military occupation of Hawaii and its poisoning of the land and waters of the state.
Now for the big news, remarkably blacked-out by our local media: Governor Abercrombie wants to to move tens of thousands of Marines from Okinawa to be based on Hawaii Island at Pohakuloa.
Dennis Hollier of HawaiiBusiness.com summed it up perfectly:
…the Governor’s gambit to try to pick Guam’s pocket is really about securing Hawaii’s economic future. As he pointed out, one of the findings in the Rand report was that nearly a third of all DOD procurement spending in Hawaii was in construction, mostly in housing development. But that spending is gradually coming to an end. Abercrombie clearly sees developing Pohakuloa for the Marines as a way to sustain the growth of military spending in the state.
Governor Abercrombie cannot serve the greatest good of our citizens by pimping Hawaii’s economic future to the U.S. military. It’s time to end our war addiction and demand military clean up not military build up. The priority must be a return to the ahupua’a system of feeding ourselves.
That’s the basis for a sustainable future.