US Military – Pummeling the World, July 4th 2017

[This is an Introduction to my article nearing completion on Trump’s Political ‘Base” and the US Corporate Warrior Elite ]
On July 4th weekend, 2017, the US media was abuzz over yet another controversial tweet by President Donald Trump. It was a doctored-up video showing Trump pummeling a downed journalist on his back. The US liberal media is especially aghast, joined by many Republicans who also find such tweets ‘uncivil,” “inappropriate” or “beneath the Office” of the Presidency. Particularly CNN is enraged since its initials logo was positioned over the head of the attacked journalist with an accompanying hashtag #FraudNewsCNN #FNN.
I can join the critics of Trump’s antics and tweets. Nevertheless, the WrestleMania tweet of a downed and pummeled journalist, with a US President on top delivering blows – well, it signifies to me much more.
Viewed from the perspective of the world, this strong-arm image, this beating from above by a heavy-weight USA leader, is a fitting image of how the US military’s bully tactics have long dominated nearly every continent – with over 800 US military bases and five major global command centers dividing up the world. (Hillary Clinton’s liberal hawks and neocon supporters from her 2016 campaign are now delighted that Trump has largely turned over military strategic planning to its “proconsul” generals who head up these global command centers.) The US people pay for all this. Truth be told, the suffering of blacks, immigrants and other people of color and the working poor within the US are also victims of this corporate war elite as it both shapes our police and surveillance practices and also drains public funds for wars abroad – funds that the people need here.

The world’s peoples – predominantly innocent civilians – are regularly pummeled by this US corporate warrior elite that enforces an exploitative political economy for the already rich. This corporate warrior elite has a long history even under its liberal presidents, of bombing, kidnapping suspects for torture (officially called “rendition for interrogation”), and sustaining war through covert and overt means. Today the US fuels the strife of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria – and don’t forget Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and yes Palestine.

The US corporate warrior elite memorably interfered in elections in Chile of 1973 – yes blatant electoral interference, as historian of the CIA Chalmers Johnson documents in his book, Nemesis about how US militarism destroys any semblance of a US people’s “Republic.” In Chile, the US and its corporate cronies eventually destroyed that oldest democracy in Latin America, preparing the way for a US-friendly, military strongman/dictator August Pinochet.

The US liberal media, and many progressives in the US complain about Russia interfering in US elections. Do US citizens remember our own interference in Russia’s elections and our greater reputation for skillful subversion of many other nations’ elections? In Russia, do US-Americans know how US corporate warrior elites influenced elections there and subverted post-USSR Russia’s economy, with devastating consequences for Russia’s people? (This is documented in NYU Russia Studies and History Professor Stephen F. Cohen’s Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.)
Women have been among the primary sufferers of this US-orchestrated dispossession and bloodshed the world over, as in Honduras, so devastated by a military coup in 2009 and legitimized by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Yet Honduran women continue to lead with others a strong resistance (as evident in Lety Elvir’s and Maria Roof’s Women’s Poems of Protest and Resistance: Honduras 2009-2014, and Melissa Cardoza’s and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle’s 13 Colors of Honduran Resistance/Trece Colores de la Resistencia Hondureña.

Most Americans are hardly ready to throw off their US corporate elite – unless they are activists of unusual acumen or organizing elsewhere in “the Americas” and in other parts of the world. As for US-Americans, they are often too busy romancing America on holidays like this one. (Can we enjoy time-off from work for family this weekend without the national hype?) How many US-Americans in the recent past stopped off for chips and salsa or other snacks to munch while watching a CNN-covered “BomboMania” with Wolf Blitzer tracing, backgrounded by dramatic digital music, the US blitzkrieg war operations – in Afghanistan of 2001, in Iraq of 2003 and 2004 (or during the earlier TV-covered US invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991). How many US-Americans dozed off, watched liberal TV nonchalantly or just didn’t pay attention while the liberal news media for decades covered-up, and often justified US war-making abroad to the US public? The liberal news media makes US militarism and war look respectable, necessary, even though that US military is still pummeling other peoples’ lives abroad for the sake of US geopolitics and all too often, for the creature comforts of all too many US peoples here.

Let yourself seethe on July 4th against Trump – okay. But also seethe and organize against all the smug liberal institutions that sustain the US corporate warrior elite. And yes, it is possible to seethe over US militarism on July 4th and think rigorously, and celebrate and support families – and organize in hope.

Organize how? As Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report advises, we might begin by supporting Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R. 608).” Ford writes, “The bill prohibits the use of federal funds to assist ‘Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or any individual or group that is affiliated with, associated with, cooperating with, or adherents to such groups,’ and would halt all U.S. assistance to governments that aid such groups. Gabbard’s bill would outlaw Washington’s policy in Syria and render U.S. arms sales and aid to the Sunni Gulf monarchies and Israel illegal.” Only three Black US representatives support the bill (Barbara Lee, John Conyers and Bobby Rush) among a few others. This is one important step, but it is limited to a Congress that has not proven itself an effective check on the US military. So, along with this small step and maybe others, overall and more basically we have to stop the hype for the US military and build locally and nationally a new radical peace and anti-war movement.

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