But it's not just about war; it's the endless expense of preparation for war. Every Congressional district gets a piece of the pie. With a federal budget of 7.2 trillion dollars and "defense" being 10.5% of that, it's a big pie, and no other country even comes close. And incidentally that also amounts to almost half of all federal discretionary spending, so it sucks the oxygen out of what else can be done. And all this assumes no off-the-books spending too.

Naturally we need a reasonably large Pentagon establishment, but the point is that even without a shooting conflict (directly or through proxies, such as what we're doing to Yemen), the destruction of democracy can be exactly the same. It just takes longer and is more subtle. Throw in Citizens United and it's obvious where Congressional and Presidential interests lie.

Expand full comment

The Russians attribute their prosperity to Putin. During the time they have joined the rest of the world and enjoyed the results, he is all they have known. Plus, there is a generation gap; the old ones remember the lines to purchase anything.

Politically, Russia also has a big rural/city divide just like ours. Putin isn't the only one still smarting about the break-up of the USSR. They were raised on cold war propaganda, so were we. But, here is the difference: travel and communication has been wide-open in the country we grew-up in.

I do think the Russians know a lot more in 2022 than they ever did, but many vote their pocketbook. It's kind of ugly....we would know.

Expand full comment

“Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering

The U.S. military has been involved in war crimes and genocide for more than two centuries but this is ignored whether in North or Central or South America or Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq or in Yemen. Nothing that the Russians are doing in Ukraine is not being done by U.S. forces and its allies in Saudi Arabia with the bombing of Yemen where a child is dying from starvation every 75 seconds. The U.S. supplies the weapons, the target locations, and even refuels the Saudi warplanes and provides maintenance for them after their missions of mass destruction.

Expand full comment

This is a brilliant and timely analysis; we have been lied to about the reasons behind all the war actions American presidents and their congressional leaders have drug us through since 1950. Not only has it ruined our country financially, but it has also destroyed all the good-will we deservedly had as the 'Good Guys' after WWII. Eisenhower warned us about the manipulations by the Military Industrial Industry's insidious powers to corrupt our country in 1961 (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eisenhower-warns-of-military-industrial-complex).

During the 1950-2022 we have tacitly allowed the executive office during both Democratic and Republican tenure to wage small and large military incursions against most of the rest of the world. During the 1970s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, I remember working with former UDT (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_Demolition_Team) and other military specialist, and already then these young men expressed a complete loss of faith in their country going forward. This rot continued, and deepened after the draft was ended in 1973 (https://mindrightdetroit.com/about-vapes/quick-answer-when-did-the-military-draft-end.html). During the 1973-2020 period the entire US has been predominantly manned by a mix of career volunteers and young people unable to find a job and a career in other fields. Thus, unfortunately, the successive wars and war actions have been materially profitable for all these young men and women for 50+ years, and the Military Industrial manufacturing industry, with facilities in every congressional district has had an effective marketing base of civilian workers and families who needed to keep us on a perpetual war footing.

The lies surrounding all our war actions and, perhaps, even the 911 incident, thus have a tendency to, increasingly, become suspect, and become simply a continuous set of distractions that prevents us from maintaining our infra structure, invest in our neighborhoods and pay our K-12 teachers enough to graduate young people with marketable skills.

We have been lied to, we no longer have investigative journalists and we jail our whistleblowers.

Collectively, continuing to believe in the 2-party US system is almost impossible, because of the corruption and lobbying mechanism. Perhaps, just perhaps, a wave of 200 million voters simply never voting for an incumbent politician at any level ever again, may be our quickest way to quietly register our complete lack of faith in our current US political system. Would it not be a Blessing to impress new candidates with a mandate that their job will be to Serve, Listen and do their best on behalf of their home communities - and then return home to share their insights. NO MORE LIFERS IN WASHINGTON, DC.

Hartman citation:

But we’ve repeatedly failed to keep the power to make war constrained to the body that is, at least in theory, closest to the people: Congress.

Instead, for 70 years we’ve given presidents the power to make war with slick weasel words like “police action” and “Authorization to Use Military Force.”

Which makes it so hard to prevent war.

War is, on the one hand, the ultimate poison to a democracy unless its waged defensively like we last saw in WWII. The very human impulse to rally around one’s family, team, and nation is nearly irresistible, as we’ve seen here in America even when UN Weapons Inspectors are calling out the lies

Expand full comment


Expand full comment
Apr 4, 2022·edited Apr 4, 2022

The press is also mentioned in the constitution but has also been subverted to help lie us into war. It's happening again.

Citizen Psychosis Instead of Informed Citizens - Legacy Media

Since 2005, when I started my blog, I’ve been seeking independent news sources. After decades of donations to NPR and PBS, I even gave up on them and their growing dependence on wealthy donors. Today’s advertiser dependent legacy media are constrained by this dependence. Legacy media’s model based on entertainment and profit enriches a few while misinforming the many.

“The privileging of pro-war messages comes at the expense of useful reporting. As a result, American audiences remain largely uninformed about key issues regarding international affairs.”

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal and inexcusable invasion of Ukraine has provided a lucrative opportunity for the legacy news media to reignite and amplify more anti-Russian blather. None of this is to say that Russia or Putin should be defended in the press. Rather, American citizens, like any citizens in a supposed democracy, need context to understand global affairs, and the press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of providing that context.”

“However, when it comes to reporting, the legacy news media privileges profit over veracity. Indeed, much of the legacy media’s revenue and many of its guests originate from the defense industry, which benefits financially when Americans are supportive of war. For example, in March of 2022, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson critiqued Russia on NBC’s Meet the Press, but the host, Chuck Todd, neglected to mention that Johnson sits on the board of global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin. This is a clear conflict of interest that audiences should be made aware of when they consider Johnson’s analysis.”

"For their part, the corporate news media endorsed the [Iraq] invasion and perpetuated the fake news that legitimized it. Most politicians in the two corporate-backed political parties endorsed it as well."

" ... Just as anti-war figures like Jesse Ventura, Phil Donahue, Bill Maher, and Chris Hedges were pulled from legacy news media in 2003, corporate news and big tech have recently worked to remove content by anti-war and anti-imperialist figures such as Oliver Stone, Abby Martin, and—once again—Chris Hedges, who this time around lost his platform with Roku, DirecTV, and YouTube, which removed access to the archives of RT America, both from cable subscription services and online."

"Meanwhile, the very same people who lied to the public and got them to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq are now “informing” the public about Ukraine and Russia."

“ … If you want to stop World War III, rather than cutting out Moscow mules, remove legacy news media from your diet, and expand your news menu with broader, more independent and diverse perspectives and information. Our collective future depends upon it.”

We don’t have a Joseph Goebbel, but we do have legacy media CEOs who know what’s good for their bottom line may not be good for America.


Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment