US Spring Awakening
So Many Wars for So Little Gain
Have Americans Had Enough?
by Dan Ehrlich

National Debt Hike Masks Future Cutbacks, Tax Rises
The national debt increase agreement President Obama has worked out with the Republican opposition may have finally awoken the American public to two hard facts of life:

   · First, through wars, waste, gluttony, avarice and devious politicians the nation has effectively maxed out its credit card and credit rating.

  · And second, the people must expect social and public service programs to be cut back and eventual tax hikes, while we are still spending billions in foreign wars and foreign aid. The nation isn’t in a recession. It’s in a Regression.

The American people are realizing they and the country aren’t the cornucopia of wealth they were during the post WW2 years. Yet, they depend on various government services more than ever

And Obama knows the people know what he knows. That’s why during his speech on the Afghanistan wind-down he became the first president to refer to his priority being “nation building back home.” Presidents have always avoided that term as being imperial and condescending when referring to foreign countries...But, no leader has ever mentioned it in domestic terms.

Of course Europe, in its flip-flop way, is now worried the US will return to its old isolationist stance, if anyone can remember what that was. Yet, during the Bush years, Europe was critical of American foreign interventions and being a world cop, something it actually hoped for when the Soviet Union had just collapsed.

But, this is of little concern to the young unemployed college grad or the senior citizen worried about the security of Social Security. They now want to know why we are fighting pointless wars overseas that are causing cutbacks in public services affecting Americans at home.

So, a few months prior to his Afghan speech, Obama to get the people behind the latest war effort, this time in Libya, pulled out the evergreen "humanitarian" rescue card, failing to realize American’s have become intelligent enough to know this has become standard dried out bullshit.

He said in his televised speech even though we can’t be the world’s policeman, we couldn’t stand by and watch a massacre take place. But that fact is, like it or not, we have been the world’s policeman and its bankrupting us.

The gross US debt has increased more than $500 billion each year since 2003, with increases of $1 trillion in 2008, $1.9 trillion in 2009, and $1.7 trillion in 2010. As of June 29, 2011, the Total Public Debt was $14.46 trillion and was approximately 98.6 percent of calendar year 2010's annual gross domestic product of $14.66 trillion.

The annual interest alone the US owes on this debt is about $400 billion. All raising the limit on the debt has really done is allow the government have a higher spending limit on the US national credit card.

You might say the US Government is a mirror image of the credit card using population.

So, Americans probably wouldn’t mind being the world’s cop if it didn’t cost the US taxpayers so much in American lives and American money. Here’s a thought: Why not be paid by countries as diverse as China and Saudi Arabia to keep them and their commerce secure on the high seas, for example?

This isn’t as far fetched as it may seem. After all, China is already America’s prime mortgage holder. But more than this, constant conflict would keep us occupied and distracted from the nation's pressing domestic problems…as long as those problems didn’t directly affect the people.

Possibly the biggest question Americans have to ponder, aside from what are they going to do when the oil runs out, is: Has the Orwellian nightmare in “1984”, the war that never ends, become a reality for them? The US seems to always be in some sort of combat role, sometimes being the only country willing to take on obvious humanitarian missions. Bosnia and Somalia were cases in point.

And yet, since WW2 the US has gained very little from its efforts computed mainly in lost lives and cash.

A look at major American military campaigns during the past 100 years, only WW2 was a conflict of national security and well-being. The Spanish-American War was purely political and economic,  entry into WW1 was largely due to Germany killing Americans on the high seas by unrestricted submarine warfare and Korea was a political operation to save Asia from Communism. Regrettably so was Vietnam.

The Cold War: We now know that the Soviet threat was grossly overstated as a popular bogeyman to keep Americans occupied and happy to be “free.” Iraq 1 and 2 was for oil and more oil...there was a rumor about weapons of mass destruction…but Halliburton couldn't find any.

Now 31 American troops have been lost during  a single helicopter shoot-down in Afghanistan. And we once again have to ask: What's it all for? We  have been spending US lives and billions in Afghanistan on another questionable conflict in a non-country of hill tribes of various loyalties and beliefs in a quest to stamp out terrorism, maintain the US backed government in power and secure women's rights. Yet, our leaders know once we leave, if ever we do, that region will probably revert back to its previous existence.

Alternatively, we could be securing our own borders and developing better defenses for new threats just over the horizon. We have yet to learn we can't change other nations to be a good fit for us. Vietnam should have taught us that.

And the biggest communist nation of all nations, China, has America by the economic short hairs as we squirm in the same bed. So, we’ve become friends with them, too.

But, while China no longer poses a threat to us of godless communism, we have to be on guard because those menacing Cubans are waiting to pounce only a few miles from our shores armed with the Communist Manifesto.

Wait! We now can see on the horizon where a newly developed Chinese anti ship missile reportedly could sink the entire US fleet. Sounds like another version of the Cold War in the green room.

More and more it seemed America needed an enemy to fight just as liberals need an underdog to champion. The country needed to have an adversary to keep the population occupied and tough. Or to paraphrase Orwell, to keep the fabric of society intact.

Without conflict Americans would swap fear and patriotism for glaring dislike for the way their democracy is dissolving. Domestic issues would again rate top priority. People might even be forced away from banal and idiotic reality TV to reality politics.

So, enter the perfect war, the War on Terrorism. What makes this so perfect is that it’s straight out of the book…a war that will always be underway because there will always be terrorists somewhere and governments devious enough to keep people on tender hooks fearing the next attack.

The trick for the population is to accept the fact there may always be terrorists, yet not let it disrupt society. Because when that happens, the bombers or shooters feel they have won and politicians will have a green light to curtail individual liberty on the basis of national security.

Now, however, Americans may be having their own spring…an awakening to the fact that US political leaders, right, left and center, have not been acting in the public interest. They have been acting in the interest of vested groups and ideologies aimed at keeping the military industrial complex at a high level of capacity, while the population’s brain functions are maintained a low level.

Yet, through necessity our days as the world cop seem to be numbered. As the Prez says, “It’s time for nation building back home.”

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