The Cost of Hubris
September 5, 2014
Some like to call it the cost of war. Many of our costs of war were just that. But not the most recent costs of wars. They were costs of hubris, the price of personal heritage, power hunger, tough guy images, and, of course, the funding of the biggest department of our government, the military/industrial complex. That’s not what it is called. It’s better known as the defense department. But it has grown way beyond defense and has chewed up our tax dollars like a growing sponge in a pan of water. We probably have enough weaponry to kill everyone on earth many times over and we are still building more every day. Imagine our defense contractors licking their chops every time another defense budget is passed. It is probably easier to get a grant to develop another military weapon than for a poor kid to get free tuition. The defense contractors not only get lucrative contracts, these contracts are often open ended. The cost over runs are rampant and fully understood on both sides of contract negotiations. When did you ever hear of a military material contract coming in under budget?
The budget request of the military/industrial complex is a mere $500 billion this year. The total spending on national security is a mere $1 trillion dollars. That should pay the annual college tuition for every college age person in the country. That should pay every family in the US a thousand dollars per month. That should provide free healthcare for 100 million people. That would provide enough food to sustain everyone in the country with a subsistence diet every day of the year. No more hunger. Imagine what it would do in rebuilding our rotting infrastructure of highways, bridges, airports, waterways. Imagine what it would do in developing alternative fuels in order to save our environment to support human life.
Of course we have to have national security. We have to have defense. But we don’t have to have hubris at the cost of education. We don’t have to assure personal heritage at the cost of healthcare. We don’t have to feed power hunger at the cost of personal hunger. We don’t have to create tough guy images at the cost of the lives and health of our young people that we send off to wars of hubris, personal heritage, power hunger, and tough guy images for our fearless leaders. We don’t have to allow the military/industrial complex to suck all of the air and life out of the room because we have a fear of looking weak and succumb to the pressure of those who prosper from warfare.
The Bush/Cheney wars have cost us $3 trillion to date. That is just the dollar amount that this pathetic wrecking crew cost us. That doesn’t include the real cost of war, the real cost of hubris, the cost of the families who lost loved ones or who got them back in a damaged condition. All for hubris. All for the tough guy image. All for personal heritage. All for the military/industrial complex and the attitude they engender so they can fill their pockets.
The 3 trillion dollars doesn’t include the enormous and inestimable cost of the damage we do with our bombs, our drones, the innocent people killed and maimed, the communities, the cities and the countries destroyed, infrastructures destroyed, power sources destroyed, hospitals destroyed, schools destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people killed as collateral damage. That term collateral damage is a weasel word for mass murder. If they happen to be in the wrong place when we decide to show our power it’s just too bad. Mass murder is just collateral damage. Victims of collateral damage are easily forgotten because we didn’t care about them to begin with. They aren’t important. We are important. No one else matters.
Our National Anthem says: “….And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.…”, and it also says: “…Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just…”. The question is who decides when our cause is just. Who decides if the bombing is just, if the mass murder is just, if the mass destruction of cities and countries and people is just?
Many of us call for military action in every instance of misbehavior the world over. What should we do in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria? What should we do in Ukraine? What should we do in Russia? Why not let Putin have his path to the sea? Should we get involved? Should we send our kids over there? Tough questions all. No easy answers. No right answers.
And a better question is, who do we want to make those decisions in the future? Do we want the war mongers to decide? Do we want the military/industrial complex to decide? Do we want elected leaders to decide? Who do we want to decide?
Think about it!
Convince someone today to help us elect better leaders. Please!