A quote I like to cite often.
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive [Branch of Government] is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war...and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."I think it pretty much sums it up.
James Madison--April 20, 1795
War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes.
From the Treasury Dept., a little history on the national debt.
Public debt is a fact of life. The U.S. has had debt since its inception. Our records show that debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War amounted to $75,463,476.52 by January 1, 1791. Over the following 45 years, the debt grew.The New Republic had a short article on war tax precedent. (Congressman David Obey and other top Dems introduced legislation that would impose a surtax to help pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
Notably, the public debt actually shrank to zero by January 1835, under President Andrew Jackson. But soon after, it quickly grew into the millions again.
The American Civil War resulted in dramatic debt growth. The debt was just $65 million in 1860, but passed $1 billion in 1863 and had reached $2.7 billion following the war. The debt grew steadily into the Twentieth Century and was roughly $22 billion as the country paid for involvement in World War I.
The buildup to World War II brought the debt up another order of magnitude from $51 billion in 1940 to $260 billion following the war. After this period, the debt's growth closely matched the rate of inflation until the 1980s, when it again began to increase rapidly. Between 1980 and 1990, the debt more than tripled. The debt shrank briefly after the end of the Cold War, but by the end of FY 2008, the gross national debt had reached $10.3 trillion, about 10 times its 1980 level.
Since the War of 1812, higher taxes have essentially gone part and parcel with war--the two current wars being the exceptions. In fact, the Bush tax cuts are perhaps the only instance in our history of substantial tax cuts during a time of war.And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
Last year, The Urban Institute published a book called “War and Taxes,” that outlined the long history of “shared sacrifice.” “Indeed, the history of America’s tax system can be written largely as a history of America’s wars,” they wrote. Taxes from 1812 to 1815 that targeted retailers, sugar, carriages, and other items helped fund 40% of the War of 1812. The Civil War saw the nation’s first income tax--from the Union in 1862 and then the Confederacy a year later. World War II incorporated about 35 million previously untaxed citizens into the tax structure, in what would be the “most thorough revision that the internal revenue laws have yet received.”
And during Vietnam, despite a reluctant President Johnson, a 10-percent surtax was added to the federal income tax.
Support the troops damn it. During most of our wars there was some form of conscription. Even with the new improved all voluntary force, we have the poverty draft. For many minorities the military was a way to enter a meritocracy. During the Civil War, $300 could buy someone to take your place. The press was more than a willing participant in “bringing the many under the domination of the few.” As were persecution of war resisters, German immigrants during WWI (see the Montana Sedition Act for an example http://www.seditionproject.net/) and the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII. The arms industry, AKA the MIC, made bazillions and while the skilled workers may have made a decent wage, those doing the extraction of the raw materials, (coal, iron ore, etc.), were at the mercy of the “Cooper bosses” and other industrialists as well as the federal government who too often sided with these captains of industry in suppressing the workers. The monies taxed and spent on the war machine robbed the nation and its citizens an opportunity to improve the standard of living. Let us not forget this quote.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies-in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive [Branch of Government] is extended.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953
The examples of this are too numerous to mention, and congress has been more than willing to cede power to the executive branch. The latest examples of course are the Authorization to Use Force Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 and the National Defense Authorization Act.
Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. (I had to look up emoluments. It’s a fancy word for money.)
Again the congress rolls over when the executive appoints officials to the sacred halls of the Pentagon and other agencies even though they are the “Dumbest fucking guy on the planet”. The revolving doors that these people go through from government to the defense industries and policy “think tanks” and lobbying firms, and back again could be used to provide some of our badly need energy if hooked up to a generator. Instead they go to the bank and get the “honor” of pontificating every Sunday morning. And in congress, a plum committee assignment is often the reward for being wrong.
The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war.
Holy shit was he prescient! This old Marine said it best.
“War is a racket.”…and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both.
General Smedley D. Butler
If you dare to criticize the war(s), don’t expect a civilized discussion. You will be called every name in the book and then some. Don’t be a “Dirty Fucking Hippie” and demonstrate against them either. “Damn commies!” “Socialists!” “Support the troops!” “Get a job!” Better to get a gas mask in my opinion.
The immoralities of “collateral damage”, torture, the poverty draft, crushing of descent, etc. are all the results of an acceptance of war as a necessary enterprise. American exceptionalism has always been the catch all get out of jail free card. “My country right or wrong.” The full quote is usually not used;
“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
Carl Schurz (1829–1906)
Electronic surveillance, prosecution of whistle blowers, pepper spray and rubber bullets by our over militarized police, infiltration of anti war and peace organizations, “free speech zones”, the NDAA, and all the other losses of civil liberties we have been witness to and are seemingly powerless to reverse.
We are fed a continuous buffet of bull shit by the talking hairdo stenographers, pundits, and so called “experts” and told it is caviar.
Fuck ‘em. I don’t buy it and haven’t bought it for 40 plus years.
“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”