To the editor:
I read McLaughlin’s column last week about his Viking ancestry waiting to see how he would spin it into some conservative talking point.
Sure enough, there it was: “[M]en today may wish they never have to tap their innate capacity for combat, but that’s not possible when other men threaten their families and their way of life.”
It’s a reasonable statement — but if he means to apply it to U.S. foreign policy he comes dangerously close to mimicking George Bush’s ridiculous statement that “They hate us because of our freedoms.”
The fact of the matter is that the threat to Americans living on American soil from foreign attack is minimal. Nobody is going to invade us and take us over. No other foreign country even has that capability.
The last time foreign troops set foot on American soil might have been the British in the War of 1812. (Terrorist attacks are another story but their effect is limited and will never bring the whole country down.)
Let’s be clear: The United States has the largest military in the world by far; it has 761 military bases across the globe; it has 10 aircraft carriers in service compared to one for Russia and one for China.
The argument that all this is necessary for self-defense is laughable.
U.S. military strength exists to project U.S. will on the rest of the world. To the extent that this is for the global good, preserving peace and maintaining the world order, it can be justified. However, if you know your history — and McLaughlin certainly should — it is clear that since the beginning of the Cold War the United States has acted covertly and overtly to preserve its strategic interests and the interests of its corporations.
It is done in the name of fighting communism, the Drug War, and now the War on Terror, but a skeptic might not be so easily convinced.
Examples include overthrowing the government of Iran in 1953 because it nationalized its oil. Supporting a coup in Guatemala in 1954 to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company.
More recently, George Bush sold a frightened public on a theory of weapons of mass destruction in order to invade Iraq in 2003. Iraq had nationalized its oil in 1972 and U.S. companies now have access to it. The list goes on and on. Don’t take my word for it. Please do your own research.
But consider this: If our domestic policy can be dominated by the interests of the rich and the corporations, so too can our foreign policy.
- Category: Letters