Civil Discourse Now

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Syria: Americans who will do the dying do not poll well on the idea of this military conflict.

   Four major polls released in the past few days show the American people do not favor military action in Syria. (Pew: 29% favor/48% oppose/23% undecided; Washington Post/ABC, 36/59/5; NBC 42/50/8; Huffington Post 25/41/34.) One would think the opinion of the American people to be important when the country's political leaders consider important issues. Yes, that would be in a fantasy world.

   On the other hand, the House and Senate leadership of both parties support military action in Syria.

   Why would our elected representatives ignore voters' wishes on this important matter? War materiel is sold for such actions. Nic Martin has posted on this website the past couple of days and asked me to be more specific about the corporations who want war. The corporations will not line up and voice their desires publicly. Nor will Halliburton or Ford or Citibank participate in a re-make of the song about War in "Duck Soup," a la The Marx Brothers. (I had to get Marxism in here someplace.) When billions of dollars are spent by the United States in a conflict, those dollars go someplace. Sure, in some instances they end up on pallets in the Iraqi desert, or get wasted on bribing the wrong local leaders, or otherwise get spent places other than corporations. Some of the money goes to paychecks for the military personnel we deploy in such matters.

   DDE a/k/a "Ike" a/k/a President Dwight David Eisenhower warned the American people, in his farewell address, about the military-industrial complex. Of course, what would he know about such things? Granted, he acted as president for eight years (minus a few times when he underwent surgery on his heart and Richard Nixon acted in his stead; I'd hate to have had to sit in that office chair after Nixon occupied it a few hours.)  Okay, and there were the facts he was a graduate of the United States Military Academy ("West Point"), a veteran of World War I and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II who eventually obtained the rank of five-star General. 

   We can break down some of the expenditures by industry. Aircraft carriers might be nuclear-powered, but the ships around them, and the aircraft launched from their decks, depend on good old-fashioned rotted dinosaurs (fossil fuels a/k/a oil) for fuel. Oil corporations make profits there (and, probably, from the nuclear fuels as well; those silly oil companies have a hand in everything energy-related it seems). Then there are cruise missiles. One item I read say the list price for a cruise missile (presumably without any dealer rebates or autumn specials) is $1.5 million. The corporations that make and assemble those aerial messengers of democracy and regime change do so for a profit. Raytheon is the main manufacturer of Tomahawk cruise missiles. Its annual revenues are around $25 billion. It is listed as one of the five biggest military contractors in the United States.

   Our political leaders respond more to money than they respond to polls of the opinions of the American people. The old days of straight-u bribes are gone. The new age has brought the political contribution for campaigns. Members of the House of Representatives have to run every two years. They need money. Senate races are not cheap, every six years. With money, the apparati for election campaigns can be financed.

   But we can put a bright face on things. Some of the rebels who oppose Assad in Syria are people we previously backed. Al-Qaeda rebels used our shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles to beat back the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Now they (the people at Al-Qaeda) apparently are our buddies again, as we now funnel arms that wind up in their hands and on their shoulders.

   We should not get into a shoving match with anyone over Syria. This is a "war" in which we should not be involved. Write, e-mail or telephone your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator and ask that person to vote "no" for any support for Syria. 


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