Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Updated

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:00 am

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Chapter 7: Militarism and the Media

So how come every time there's a war, so many people support it?

That's another good question.

Most Americans are not very eager to fight wars halfway around the world.

Here.

Uhh ... lemme think about it.

In order to win public support, pro-war politicians have always had to wrap foreign wars up in red, white and blue and tell Americans that it's their patriotic duty to support them.

[Girl holding a present wrapped up in red, white and blue:] ?--TIC TIC

Still, it would be hard to convince people without the help of the news media, especially the television networks. When it comes to war, the networks discard all pretenses of objectivity.

[Four cheerleaders from ABC, FOX, NBC and CNN yell:] Bomb 'em back! Bomb 'em back! Waaaay back!
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:00 am

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After the 1991 Gulf War, one of the Bush Administration's top war planners spoke to a group of prominent journalists and thanked them for their help. [145]

"[Television was] our chief tool in selling our policy." -- Richard Hass, National Security Council, 1991

It sure was. We were treated to live 240hour war coverage, sponsored by Exxon and General Electric and cleared by the Pentagon.

Just how many lives can these new high-tech weapons save, Colonel?

When the Pentagon is preparing to invade a foreign country, the news media faithfully repeat the official justifications for war and paint monstrous pictures of the enemy of the hour.

Reliable sources reported that ____ [Fill in the blank] eats babies for dinner.

Lawrence Grossman, who was in charge of PBS and NBC News for many years, described the role of the press this way: [146]

"The job of the President is to set the agenda and the job of the press is to follow the agenda that the leadership sets."

As a result, you get just about the same message no matter what channel you turn to.

ABC: Our game plan is right on schedule ...

CNN: Our game plan is right on schedule ...

EYE TV: Our game plan is right on schedule ...
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:01 am

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Why do all the networks sound the same? Why are they all consumed by war fever every time the White House decides to send troops overseas?

Maybe it's got something to do with who controls them.

The television news media are owned by some of the largest corporations in the country -- NBC is owned by GE, CBS by Viacom, ABC by Disney, Fox by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and CNN by Time Warner. The members of the boards of directors of these corporations also sit on the boards of weapons manufacturers and other companies with vested interests around the world such as Boeing, Coca-Cola, Texaco, Chevron, EDS, Lucent, Daimler-Chrysler, Citigroup, Xerox, Philip Morris, Worldcom, JP Morgan Chase, Rockwell Automation, and Honeywell.

Our networks tell you everything you need to know.

XEROX; HONEYWELL; CHRYSLER; BOEING; ROCKWELL AUTOMATION

In fact, the corporations that control the television industry are fully integrated into the military-industrial complex.

For example, let's take a look at the media empire of one of America's premier military contractors -- General Electric.
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:01 am

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GE has major investments around the world, which it expects the Pentagon to protect. It is also a charger member of the military-industrial complex.

A member in good standing, I might add!

GE is the country's third largest military contractor, raking in billions of dollars every year. It produces parts for every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, makes jet engines for military aircraft, and creates all kinds of profitable electronic gadgets for the Pentagon. It's also the company that secretly released millions of curies of deadly radiation from the Hanford nuclear weapons facility in Washington state and produced faulty nuclear power plans that dot the U.S. countryside.

"We bring good things to life!" -- GE

Top executives at GE have long been aware that in order to keep billions of Pentagon dollars flowing into its coffers it was necessary to build public support for massive military spending. In 1950, President Truman named Charles Wilson, GE's board chairman, to head the Office of Defense Mobilization. In that capacity, Wilson told members of the Newspaper Publishers Association: [148]

"If the people were not convinced [that the Free World is in mortal danger] it would be impossible for Congress to vote the vast sums now being spent to avert this danger. With the support of public opinion, as marshalled by the press, we are off to a good start. It is our job -- yours and mine -- to keep our people convinced that the only way to keep disaster away from our shores is to build up America's might." -- Charles Wilson, 1950.

(Of course, Wilson and his buddies at GE expected to get their hands on a hefty chunk of those vast sums.)
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:01 am

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Under Wilson, GE got into the media business itself to promote its pro-war message. In 1954, it hired a floundering actor named Ronald Reagan to be its corporate spokesman. GE furnished Reagan with an all-electric house and gave him his own TV show, which was called "GE Theater."

It also furnished Reagan with "The Speech," GE's political message for America, and sent him around the country to deliver it. He continued to deliver variations of "The Speech" throughout his career.

Meanwhile, GE was busy buying up TV and radio stations across the country.

Then in 1986, GE bought its own TV network -- NBC. [150]

Good evening, I'm Tom Brokaw and this is the NBC Nightly News.

General Electric and the other huge corporations that own the news media are hardly unbiased sources of information. Yet most of the news available to us -- about war and peace and everything else -- is filtered through their perspective. This gives them a powerful influence on public opinion.

Everyone is rallying behind the President.

Hmmm ...

But their influence is not as complete as they might hope.
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:02 am

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Chapter 8: Resisting Militarism

In fact, there's been strong opposition to foreign military adventures since the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars of the last century. The anti-war movement grew especially strong during the war to conquer the Philippines.

"I have seen that we do not intend to free but to subjugate the Philippines. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land ... I have a strong aversion to sending our bright boys out there to fight with a disgraced musket under a polluted flag." -- Mark Twain, Vice President, Anti-Imperialist League, 1900 [151]

Let's go back to Charles Wilson's era, when he and the media were mobilizing support for the Korean War. At first they were very successful. But despite their impressive efforts, the support didn't last long. After the body bags started coming home, the majority of people turned against the war.

[Mother:] I ant my son back home! Now.

The government and the media once again did their best to whip up support for the war in Vietnam. But as the war escalated, the greatest anti-war movement in U.S. history arose. At first, the opposition was small but determined.

[Anti-war demonstrators:] BRING OUR MEN HOME
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:02 am

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But opposition grew by leaps and bounds as people began to learn what was going on in Vietnam. By 1969 there were 750,000 people marching on Washington, and millions more marching in cities across the country.

In May 1970, after police and National Guard troops fired on anti-war demonstrations, killing four students at Kent State in Ohio and two students at Jackson State in Mississippi, students at 400 universities across the country went on strike -- the first general student strike in U.S. History. [152]

When police shot and killed three people during the Chicano Moratorium against the war in August 1971, a rebellion raged through East Los Angeles for three days. [153]

Resistance to the war took many forms. People refused to pay war taxes.

People burned their draft cards.

Hell no, we won't go!

SELECTIVE SERVICE
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:02 am

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The most famous draft resister was Muhammad Ali.

[Muhammad Ali says:] I won't serve in a white man's war!

People blocked the path of trains hauling troops and munitions bound for the war.

STOP THE WAR! STOP THE TRAIN.

14,000 people were arrested when they moved to shut down Washington, D.C. for three days in 1971.

It was the largest mass arrest in U.S. history! [154]

Even more serious for the Pentagon, discipline was breaking down among the troops in Vietnam. The soldiers saw no reason to fight, and they wouldn't. By the end of the '60s, a virtual civil war simmered between soldiers and officers. A U.S. military expert warned the Pentagon about the state of its army: [155] [156]

"[By] every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non-commissioned officers, drug-ridden and dispirited where not near mutinous." -- Col. Robert Heinl, U.S.M.C. retired, 1971.

Record numbers of soldiers and sailors deserted or went AWOL. Organized resistance was developing among the troops. Hundreds of underground G.I. newspapers were springing up at bases around the U.S. and around the world. Contingents of soldiers and sailors were marching at the head of anti-war demonstrations.
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:02 am

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Soldiers coming home from Vietnam were telling the country about the horrors of the war and they were organizing to stop it. In April 1971, more than a thousand Vietnam veterans gathered at the Capitol Building in Washington and threw back the medals they had received in the war. [157]

By the end of the decade, the majority of the people were against the war.

The anti-war movement, together with the struggles waged by African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and other oppressed peoples in the U.S., and the women's liberation movement were opening people's eyes to a whole system of injustice.

The growing opposition to the war played an important role in convincing the government that it had to pull out of Vietnam.

"The weakest chink in our armor is American public opinion. Our people won't stand firm in the face of heavy losses, and they can bring down the government." -- President Lyndon Johnson, 1968 [158]

As a result of the Vietnam War, a broad anti-militarist sentiment developed among the American people, which was derisively called the "Vietnam Syndrome" in official circles.

Don't talk about that dreadful disease!
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Re: Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism (Upd

Postby admin » Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:03 am

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Because U.S. leaders knew that Americans would not stand for large numbers of U.S. war casualties, they had to restrain their military impulse. They kept on bombing other countries, but for almost two decades they did not send large numbers of U.S. soldiers to fight on foreign soil.

Until 1991 ...

Then when George H.W. Bush did send hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf, people were very apprehensive. The majority did not want to go to war. A powerful anti-war movement grew more quickly than ever before in U.S. history.

Soon the streets were filled with demonstrations.

Immediately after the war began, hundreds of thousands of people marched in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

George the Elder knew he had to finish the war quickly and with few U.S. casualties or the people would turn against it. When Iraq chose to withdraw rather than fight and the war ended with a one-sided slaughter, Bush was euphoric.

"By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all!"

AMERICA IS NO. 1 -- AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT! [159]

After 9-11, George W. Bush set out to test his father's proposition. He promised us a long and bloody "War on Terrorism." [160]

"So long as anybody's terrorizing established governments, there needs to be a war." -- George W. Bush, October 17, 2001
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