A Tale of Two….

On Memorial Day I saw Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) deliver a keynote address. She spoke of her two tours in Iraq and the powerful memory of her first “unanswered roll call ceremony” for a friend lost in combat. She shared that only one percent of our citizens have fought in these, the two longest wars in American history.

And then it occurred to me: another one percent of us have made obscene fortunes from these, the two most blatantly economically motivated wars in American history.

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These two one percents could not be more different.

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One, members of the super-minority, are making record profits quarter after quarter, and “investing” frightening amounts of money in campaign contributions and spendy lobbyists in order to keep things going their way: war profiteering, monopoly building, too-big-to-care, tax dodging, unregulated global capitalism.

The other are public servants, willing to do their duty until their last breath doing a job few dare face. Too often they leave our service broken or ill, only go become the collateral damage of a system being starved out of existence by tax cuts, tax loopholes, and tax subsidies even as we spend trillions of dollars on two wars with no war tax. The call for austerity is a mocking of this one percent by the other. “We will take care of the money, now you figure out how to take care of yourself.”

I am not a pacifist, but I am very against preemptive war. The idea that we systematically abuse so few for the gain of so few –  and leave 98% of us out of the game entirely – is not sitting well with me. Yellow magnets and 4th of July flags are not enough to count as skin in the game.

I will no longer humor the self centered profiteers only to neglect our selfless patriots.

If that means less war, OK. If that means proper care for returning troops, OK. If that means higher taxes on the prosperous one percent to finance our responsibility to the in-harms-way one percent, OK.

No big box store, no stock broker, no crony contractor, no wealth building “corporate-person” is going to take the metaphorical bullet for anyone. I prefer to support the people who would take a real bullet for me.

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About JKL

Not so quietly retired.

2 responses to “A Tale of Two….

  1. I cringed while reading this article. As someone who is a former active duty Air Force member, I spent 14 hour days 6 days a week while deployed in U.A.E. in support of Operation Southern Watch. We weren’t there because of the private corporations, but because of politicians. That is what is missing from this article. The US military is run and funded by the Federal Government, with our CiC as the President.

    It’s the politicians that drive the military budget, while thousands of businesses bid to fill the demands of these politicians. I don’t say only one party is responsible, because both sides really do push to get some kind of military spending in their district, for the purpose of jobs (bringing home the bacon).

    To blame businesses both large and small for supplying what those in government want, is either a lack of understanding of how things are done in government, or a refusal to blame those that really are responsible for the deaths of those who serve in the military. It’s why I said I cringed when I read this article.

    If it wasn’t for all of the businesses that come up with technology breakthroughs for our military, both on the weapon side, and the medical side, the deaths from military actions would resemble those of Vietnam. Those in the battlefield actually work with companies from time to time to let them know what they are coming up against, and what kind of weaponry or protective tech they need to do what the politicians task them to do.

    I’m sure it was just an oversight of Rep. Gabbard to mention that it’s usually our stupid ROE (rules of engagement) that tend to get our troops killed. Imagine a situation where civilians are being held by enemy combatants, and your squad has the ability to go in, and save the civilians. Yet the ROE says you can’t have a firefight because civilians are in the vicinity. Another is that you can’t call in air support while you are under mortar attack, because those firing the mortars are in the middle of a bunch of civilians, on purpose. Weak kneed politicians make these stupid rules, which get used in turn by enemy troops to kill our troops.

    I hate war myself, as do the rest of the military. We are thankful that we have companies that supply the military with the equipment needed to do what the politicians order us to do. Don’t blame the ones that try to keep us safe and supplied, while holding those that send us to war, blameless.

    • JKL

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I, too, appreciate innovation and technical support as assets to be respected. My realization during Rep. Gabbard’s speech was that too many of those who profit from war have more to gain than those who fight. (She, by the way, spoke only of honoring the fallen – it was I who made the leap to connect the two one percents.) Profits, control of markets, etc, are big benefits. AND I could not agree more that it is politicians who make this messy. I tried to mention BIG campaign donors and BIG lobbyists who promote war through those beholden to their financial influence. IT IS BUSINESS AT WORK THROUGH OUR ELECTED that keeps us spending on war AND decreasing their contribution to the taxes that pay for war. Maybe I would feel differently if the top tier still paid taxes according to the prosperity this republic’s democracy has afforded them. OR if we had a war tax. But we have neither – so war contrators get paid and aid to dependent children gets cut in this “austerity” charade. Again, this Army mom, whose son did two tours in Iraq, says thanks for your comment. jkl

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