To the editor:
When reporters recently interviewed Leon Panetta, secretary of Defense, about what should be cut from defense spending, his response was predictable. It was like asking a Wall Street CEO if their system of outlandish bonuses ought to continue. Panetta is one of many politicians subservient to contractors and war profiteers who jealously guard an ever-growing and all-consuming machine that President Eisenhower referred to as the “military industrial complex.”
Thanks to corporate-owned media with financial ties to war for profit, defense spending is venerated as a sacred cow exempt from investigation. During the Cold War, the public was scared into a paralysis of analysis as the media employed terms like “communism” and “domino theory.” Today, TV viewers are kept in check with the constant rhetoric of “war on terror,” “terrorist threats” and “September 11.”
Yes, we do need a strong national defense, largely because of all the hornets’ nests we have stirred up by arming oppressive regimes and by the proliferation of our own military interventions. Nevertheless, it is our patriotic duty to hold Washington accountable for every defense dollar that is superfluous or counterproductive to the genuine demands of our country’s security.
Outside of a popular movement to challenge wasteful defense spending, the military industrial complex will soon devour seniors’ modest benefits and monies for our children’s education. Moreover, America’s underfunded infrastructures will resemble those of a Third World nation.