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News Link • WAR: About that War

The US War Culture Has Come Home to Roost

• Gilbert Mercier, OpEdNews.com

Police violence in the United States should not surprise anyone. In Ferguson, Missouri, we have witnessed the use against US citizens of Iraq-tested war technologies. On August 17, 2014, a police force using armored vehicles and military tactics fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at peaceful protesters who had been demanding justice against Darren Wilson, a killer cop who took the life of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. According to an autopsy, Michael Brown was shot six times, including twice in the head; one of the bullets that penetrated his head came from above him, which could indicate an "execution style" for the killing attributed to Wilson. A return to violent tactics rather than the community policing promised by the authorities to the people of Ferguson, and a decision by Governor Jay Nixon to call up the National Guard were very much part of an escalation.

For decades and all over the world, the US has worked to spread "freedom and democracy" via warfare. As long as this was being done in the towns of Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, ordinary Americans often applauded the endeavor, lured by the disinformation, but mostly they ignored the crimes being committed in their names, because these were not in their own backyard. As the streets of Ferguson look more and more like those of Fallujah, it is impossible to dismiss that the US' best exports, warfare and civilian repression, have come home to roost. When the war machine runs out of places to occupy abroad, it mutates into an occupying force at home, starting in Black or Latino neighborhoods, and it manifests itself as police violence, curfews and a state of emergency. This is what happens when the military-industrial complex becomes the cornerstone of an economy.

The US economy is a war economy. Together with fostering warfare aboard, a climate of insecurity at home has become a necessary business model for the growth of the war and security business. Between 2001 and 2014, US military spending has more than doubled to exceed the staggering level of $700 billion dollars a year. This represents about 20 percent of the overall federal budget despite not including retirement and medical care for veterans, which represent an additional 3.5 percent of the budget. Furthermore, this 23.5 percent of the budget per year does not include emergency and supplemental bills for the specific wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor does it include moneys for the vast domestic "security" apparatus that comprises the Department of Homeland Security, FBI counter-terrorism or NSA intelligence gathering.

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