Why does Tom Hayden always think that our Pentagon is engaged in a conspiracy? True enough, many of our generals throughout US history have had their own agendas, starting at least with Aaron Burr, the traitor; and Ben. Washington, who sought to lead a new nation to victory in war, at least so long as his enormous "expenses" were paid.
But let's look at Hayden's theme throughout his life, which has its moments of truth. To Hayden, the North Vietnamese military was a heroic enterprise fighting for its people and national unification. He believed the same about the Sandinistas, who of course lost when the votes came in, and the same in El Salvador. Now, in Iraq, insurgents again are entitled to respect.
But not our military. Nope, our military not only is the iron fist of naked capitalism but, according to this article, is a prime mover and shaker itself towards that end. Now, there is some truth to this, because all bureaucracies are interested in their own turf first, and the officers in same, civilian or military are most often interested in their own survival, then that of their organization, and then the nation or other greater good in that order. So our military can be expected to follow that general principle most of the time. And it is also true that the worst part of George Bush 2 is that he is indeed the representative and agent of a super-rich class that strove to become as permanent oligarchy as it could, abandoning real Republican ideals such as limited government along the way--an ideal that has its place, even though I believe our federal government has historically been the guarantor of last resort of our freedoms.
This doesn't mean that our own military is almost entirely made up (at least the brass) by venal, oligarchic, pig-headed killers, looking out only for the continued imposition of world capitalism upon the oppressed masses of the world, which, when one gets right down to the bottom of it, is Hayden's thesis.
Rather, our loyal-to-America military was given a job to do. Its brass and capable enlisted men and women developed plans to carry out the wishes of our elected officials. If they listened to anyone OTHER than our elected officials, then they would be no better than any other junta. Assuming Hayden has been right on every single issue over his entire lifetime, if our military does not follow what Bush asked for and Congress voted to do, then they are rebels and the same thing as all other other colonels ruling all their little satrapies all over our planet.
Let's fight our political battles where they belong, with votes. Let's not ask the military to exercise its own judgment anywhere except in two instances: first, when rendering its advice, and second, when conducting military operations.
And let's not continue the habit of praising every two-bit dictator such as Arafat, Castro, Hussein and Chávez, who really don't know when to take off a uniform, while putting down our own fighting forces. Otherwise, when we need a Patton to take on a Hitler, s/he may not be there.
Keevan D. Morgan
Jul 13 2008 - 6:52pm