by Jeff Huber
Parts I, II and III of "Johnny and the Warmongers" described John McCain's intimate relationships with the neoconservatives and the military/industrial complex. The fourth and final essay in the series discusses how, even with a Barack Obama presidency, militarism will continue to be the single greatest threat to America's security.
John McCain's policy positions reflect the same formula for disaster that America has followed throughout the past eight years.
According to his campaign web site, "John McCain believes we must enlarge the size of our armed forces to meet new challenges to our security." What are these new challenges? "The global war on terrorism, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and the rise of potential strategic competitors like China and Russia." That sounds like the same old set of boogeymen the neoconservative Bush administration has been making scare noise about, and the "threat" they pose doesn’t sound any more credible coming from the mouth of John McCain.
Opinion from respected authorities and reports by leading defense analysis organizations like the Rand Corporation overwhelmingly agree that application of military force is the wrong means for fighting terrorism, that indeed, use of the military toward that purpose is counterproductive.
Iraq has invited us leave and Pakistan has invited us to stay out, and there's consensus among sentient observers that pursuit of victory in Afghanistan is a losing proposition.
The Bush administration has grown fond of telling us—over and over and over and over—that no nation on earth presents a greater challenge to us than Iran, but has yet to explain why that is. Our own Intelligence agencies avow that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. For years the administration and its yes men generals like David Petraeus have accused Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq, but has failed to credibly support any of those allegations. If anything, Iran's mediation between warring Iraqi Shiite factions is responsible for most of the reduced violence that the main stream media has so compliantly credited to Petraeus and the "surge" stratagem.
Iran's defense budget is less than one percent the size of ours. North Korea's entire gross domestic product is less than ten percent of our defense budget. It has a brace of nuclear weapons, but it can't afford to feed its people in the winter. If the North Koreans ever use their nukes on us or on one of our allies, we could bomb them back to the Stone Age in the blink of an eye. They're barely out of the Stone Age as it is.
Russia and China each spend ten percent or less on defense than we do. The Russians already lost the part they sit with trying to run with us in an arms race. The Chinese had sufficient ancient wisdom to learn from Russia's mistake rather than make it themselves. They're both so far behind now they'd never catch up, and they know it. They won't bleed themselves white economically trying to do the impossible.
We spend more money on defense than the rest of the world combined. We don't need a larger military. We don't need the one we have now. We don't need half of it.
Yet John McCain and the war oligarchs he fronts for would have us continue to buy $330 million fighter jets to dogfight rogue airliners, and $2 billion bombers to do the job of $600,000 cruise missiles, and $8 billion dollar aircraft carriers to chase pirates around the Indian Ocean, and a $63 billion missile defense system that couldn't shoot down a butterfly.
John McCain has some interesting ideas about how we can afford to continue our military adventurism. "The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit," according to Jobs for America: The McCain Economic Plan. "Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction."
Thus McCain reveals three major facets of the insanity behind his neoconservative core policies: He believes a) that there is something one can describe as "victory" to be had in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the "war" on terror, b) that he can save money through further deficit spending and c) that he can then make the debt go away merely by cutting up the credit cards.
It would be nice to think we're about to leave the lunacy of the last eight years in the rear view mirror, but it's not prudent to expect fairy tale narratives from real life. Call them what you like—mongers, hawks, neocons, Pavlov's dogs of war—they've been among us since apes first used sticks and bones to take food from other apes by force. This latest batch, Bill Kristol's gorillas, won't let a McCain loss on Election Day defeat their grand purpose. They'll skulk off and hunker down in the right wing media, think tank and academia sanctuaries and execute a Fabian strategy. They've already covered their retreat route with booby traps: Iraq, Iran, the Bananastans, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, North Korea, Russia, and now this monkey business in Syria, all of it is designed to distract attention and resources from our real security challenges involving the economy, education, health, the environment, infrastructure and so on.
They'll pressure the Obama administration to adopt their military-centric policies, employing media hypnosis to tell America, "You were winning when we left power," and setting the stage for a counteroffensive, for a great GOP hope like retired general David Petraeus to sweep in from the wings in 2012 and get things back to business as usual, the nourishment and maintenance of armed conflict and war profits everlasting.
We already won World War II and the Cold War, and we already lost Vietnam. We don't need to do those things again.
It's time to move on to new business.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Scott Horton's interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.