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What if Someone Threw a War and Nobody Came?
The Military Industrial Complex
Why We Fight
Back in the latter half of the 60’s, this title was a popular phrase. It caused one to question the significance of war, more precisely, the Vietnam War. I could have titled this piece “War: What is it good for?” But that was already taken.
But what about now? The significance of this question is just as pertinent now as it was then. We have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have troops stationed all over the world to respond to potential “hotspots”. But why? Why has the United States always been “The Police” to respond to any world emergency? We are not the superpower that we once were, in fact, as far as our “Superpowerness” goes, we are declining and China is slowly taking over. Soon we may be at the mercy of that geographical giant.
There is a good political reason Why We Fight . It is the Industrialization of War. War is big business.
Up until World War One, the United States never had a standing army. The only “army” the United States had up to that point was a militia. This militia consisted of volunteers and was actually quite small. It wasn’t until May 1917 when the United States had organized a standing army with the formation of the Selective Service Act (Signed in by President Wilson), which required all young men of a certain age group to register with the government for draft. It also gave the government rights to create a massive army. Before WWI there was no standard uniform, no major military research and development and the “army” was only around 90,000- 120,000 soldiers strong. There was no military standardization at that point and there was no need for the government to become involved in the creation of a large military. But tensions in Europe were building and it soon became necessary to get involved.
With the creation of this new "standardized army", fear began to spread about the industrial effects on our government. This was the first time in American history that the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) was questioned, because during WWI (even though it was a short time) industry for military related goods and weapons rose tremendously and companies were soon realizing the money that can be made during wars.
After the end of WWI, the MIC talk subsided for awhile. It was still there, but it wasn’t a major concern until WWII. During WWII, the government helped fuel the war effort to get everyone involved to help defeat the Axis forces. Businesses that created weapons were doing very well. There were research programs that the government helped fund like we had never seen before. When the war ended, the programs, funded projects and industry didn’t, all because of a new war that was being fought. This new war was The Cold War, and the possibility of a hot war with the USSR was constantly brewing. Because of this, the MIC got a firm foot on our nation. Eisenhower saw this coming. He knew that lobbyists and many government officials were out to make money off of this new and unique situation that our country was in. Ike didn’t buy into it though... neither did Kennedy. Theories have been mentioned that Johnson was the first president to sell out to industry. There isn’t any hard proof of that, but it is highly possible seeing how he was the first president to send troops without a real provable basis for it (Vietnam). It is believed the shot firing in the Gulf of Tonkin was faked in order to boost industry again and to justify a "Police action". This theory is also said about the Korean War with Truman, but in my opinion, it is less likely that this was Truman’s motive. I believe Truman’s reasons to be more of a "Red Scare" issue than a money making scheme. I think this is true because of the fear that Truman faced after the Soviets acquired the atomic bomb and tested it for the first time in 1949.
So, today we live in an era of big military business where war is money and where business controls not just who we go to war with, but also other areas of our government including the Federal Reserve. The era of the Cold War is over, and there hasn’t been any reason to continue to create weapons...until September 11, 2001 (which has created a ton of conspiracy theories). Now, we spend 9 times more money on our military than China does (who is in second place in military spending), which is almost as much as the rest of the world’s military budget combined.
The world’s industries are seemingly supporting itself with war. International weapons brokers and dealers are making a fortune supplying the demands of armies all over the globe. The more the demands are supplied, the more war we have. The more war we have, the more we need weapons. It is a vicious cycle.
To put it in some sort of prospective, we all have a friend that likes to throw parties, but nobody likes to go because this friend gets obnoxious once they start drinking. So in comparison, what if someone, a country, threw a war and nobody came?
Copyright 2010 by Delbert Banks