Monday, September 03, 2007

Chicken Hawks and "Other Priorities"

Walter Lippmann once said, "I don't like war-like old men." He was trying to point out the unfairness of old people waging wars that young people would have to fight. But at least back in the good old days, the old men that Lippmann was referring to were all veterans of either World Wars One or Two. They knew the horror of battle first hand. They knew that sending the children of America into mortal combat - however just the cause might seem - was the most terrible decision a civilian leader could possibly make. That's not the case anymore. Far from it. The astounding thing is the fact that the career of Dan Rather was destroyed because he told the truth: George W. Bush evaded the draft in the 1960s by enrolling in the Texas Air National Guard. Through the machinations of his powerful father, he was able to jump out in front of a waiting list of over two-hundred people. And when he was securely installed, the cowardly little thug went AWOL! And how about Dick Cheney? When asked why he didn't volunteer to fight in the war in Vietnam - a war he enthusiastically supported - his pathetic response was, "I had other priorities." It must be stated for the record that for anyone with a keen sense of irony, the Bush administration is a virtual treasure trove of goodies, is it not? The gift that keeps giving!

A generation after the fact, these same dirty old men - these draft dodging chicken hawks - are the ones waging a senseless war that they know is doomed for defeat - and young people are dying in it by the thousands. Does anyone know what the latest body count is? I've lost track.

And now we are re-learning a lesson that we should have learned forty years ago: Our government has been hijacked by the armaments industry and will make war if only for the sake of keeping the cash (our tax dollars) pouring into the coffers of the weapons manufacturers who fiance the campaigns (and in some cases the lifestyles) of these murderously corrupt politicians. Whenever a candidate for public office courageously speaks out against this atrocious situation, he or she is accused of being "soft". Forty years ago they were "soft on communism." Today they're "soft on terrorism." It's the same old tired and stupid accusation - just a different "ism".


"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of misplaced power whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties and democratic processes."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961


The military industrial complex that Ike spoke so presciently of in his farewell address to the nation forty-seven years ago this January should be permanently shut down. It has not only looted the economy of a country that has the potential to be the greatest place in the world in which to live (Dirty little secret: It's not) but it has also turned this fragile planet into a powder keg. The United Nations - for the sake of life on this planet - has got to put the merchants of death out of business not only in this country, but across the globe. Why is it that this manner of dialogue is always dismissed as the ramblings of a fool and a fanatic? Why is it that so many people who call themselves "Christians" would tolerate a situation that utterly flies in the face of the words of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called, 'children of God.'" (From the Gospel according to Matthew)

What is being done at this very moment by our government - in our name - is sheer madness. But we could put an end to it tomorrow if we really wanted to. We should tell our young people that the government of the United States cannot be trusted and that the situation will not improve much next year if the Democrats are put back in power. They should be made aware that joining the military is not a good option. That's why the sons and daughters of privilege don't enlist. That's why George W. Bush didn't enlist. When the fools in power bring the draft back (and it's going to happen - count on it.) a mass resistance needs to be organized. We should no longer support a government that wastes so much of the treasure of this once-great nation on weapons of war. Think what might happen if there were no longer any children willing to don a uniform and march off to die? What would happen if there was a nation-wide tax strike? What if we all stood up and shouted, in unison, "We are not going to support this insanity anymore." It's not impossible! It can be done - It will be done - Thy will be done! All we are saying is give peace a chance.

From this day forth, I will no longer "support our troops." If "supporting" them means encouraging the murderous agenda of the Bush administration, then count me out, brother or sister! I just want them to come home, safe and sound. I don't want them to kill or be killed any longer. I don't want them to have to deal with lost limbs and wasted lives anymore. Anyone who seriously believes that the war in Iraq is going to have a happy ending and that the USA will emerge from the carnage victorious has been watching too much FOX News (FLASH: They've been lying to you from the moment they went on the air).

This war is over. This war is lost. Get used to the idea. Come to terms with it. Stop being in denial - GET A GRIP, FOLKS! The almost four thousand American kids who have lost their lives in this hideous atrocity (not to mention possibly a million or more Iraqi men women and little children) have died for nothing. This obscene situation was engendered only because a handful of GOP connected corporations wanted to loot a country that is in possession of the second or third largest oil reserves on the planet. Is that an "un-American" thing to say? Quite frankly I couldn't care less if I tried. I refuse to be a "good German", thank you very much. Just call me a citizen of the good ol' planet Earth.

I was just curious: Is there anyone out there who still believes that sending this disgusting, half-witted little frat boy to the White House was a good idea? Anyone? Anyone???

War is over if you want it.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY

By the way: In case you were too caught up in the latest misadventures of Britany Spears and Paris Hilton to take notice, the middle class in this country is being totally and permanently destroyed. Just thought you'd like to know.

Happy Labor Day, everybody!


At 10:36 PM, Anonymous fearless flower said...

Hello Tom,

I wish Al Gore were running now. His environmental platform makes the most sense for peace. For us in the USA, the danger of death or irreparable harm by self-poisoning through pollution is far more imminent than being overrun by terrorists or even having a nuke dropped on us (never mind a bunch of them) by a minor sovereignty of vengeful extremists.

We are rapidly becoming crippled by the problem of debilitating illness from pollution. Case in point: the exponential increase of autism-related disorders (1 in 10,000 ten years ago, 1 in 150 today). These children will never be able to fight our wars and must be cared for by others who also then cannot fight our wars.

Saving the environment is the way to wage peace, end our dependency on foreign oil and take away the reason for all the wars.

Peacemakers have always been bitterly persecuted and misunderstood by those supporting wars. But I believe those who foolishly and rashly support preemptive war, especially Christians, risk bringing Divine judgment upon themselves.

Bless you, Tom, for taking a stand for peace against this war and facing the potential persecution (and prosecution!) for doing so. I'm proud to stand with you and the many other peacemakers and protesters of this unjust, unholy, criminal, senseless war. Our number is growing every day and our voice is getting louder.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Anita said...

some people would say that the term 'military industrial complex' has become a left-over or over-used phrase, a catch-phrase of the left, etc. (but, since eisenhower coined it, to call it a term of the left is absurd).

hbo (or some cable channel) has been playing oliver stone's JFK over the past few weeks. i watched it this weekend (after having not seen it for several years) and was really astounded (once again, but this time with new eyes) at the scene with kevin costner and donald southerland (mr. x, i believe) where southerland gives this fascinating run-down on his career as a special ops officer, the strange "security lapses" that happened that day in dallas, and the outrage among (i believe) industrial leaders that jfk was planning to exit viet nam and his retreat from the bay of pigs. so much of what they said made me think that what was going on then, is exactly what is happening right now. what keeps america going economically (or at least that's they way we've set up our economy) is to keep us on a perpetual war footing.

and jfk was made long before iraq. and i believe long before 9/11 (???). oliver stone gets criticized as playing fast and loose with history and facts. but is that really the case? or is it that we, to paraphrase jack nicholson, "can't handle the truth."

great post ...

anita (aka coletteoh)

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Anita said...

oh ... and i love mitt romney's explanation as to why his sons aren't serving in the military ... they are HELPING THEIR FATHER RUN FOR OFFICE.

mighty patriotic of those young men, non?

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard Chaney say on national TV say “I had better things to do than go to Nam”. As if the 58 thousand plus low life’s who died there could not have found something better to do. How does someone like that end up VP? I would not count these people out of any war game, to win they have to invade Iran. We are fighting the war in Iraq and soon Iran to keep the US dollar as the oil purchasing medium and the international paper standard. The dollar will be valueless if removed as the oil purchasing power. Do you really think that the status quo ho is going to let her dollars collapse?

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Robert Lightfoot said...

As long as we have no opposition party in the US, the war(s) will most likely continue. Even after Bush is gone in in January of 2000, we're going to be stuck with the mess for a while.

I've talked to soldiers in Europe and they just don't see it as we do, war, because they literally live inside a cacoon that supports everything about war. The garrison in Vicenza is also literally a Little America with all the comforts of home; which means they see the films, the news, the US Army wants them to see. They eat, sleep, and work under a program designed to keep them gung-ho. I know, since I was once one of them, "protecting the frontiers of America" ...

Our younger generation would have a better chance if their society offered them more options in life. But what can you expect from a military industrial complex?

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the illusion all this time that the dems were some type of opposition party, I can't speak from a repub standpoint anyway I expected much, much, much, better opposition by the dems once they took control of the Congress and Senate, however I do understand how even one turncoat such as the slimeball joe blo LIEberman can place a spoil in the party.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Bush loves to spout the Bible but has missed "blessed be the peacemakers" and instead adopted "Vengeance is mine" saith the Lord.
He has laid off the God talk lately tho maybe God sent another message via Pat Robertson that he is displeased with Bush

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Saltwater said...

I have just been catching up on your most recent posts or articles, and everything you write is so true. Today, when I saw the picture on the newest post, I thought "I want to copy and print that poster and put it on the truck", and then a little fear of retaliation made me think about it. I live in Kansas in a town where, some historians say, the Civil War began (Lawrence and Lecompton) in the 1850's. I mention that in reference to your great column about Jefferson Davis and the North/South split in this country, which still exists and shows up in such forms as the Confederate flags you mention. Anyway, I mention where I live because after spending the first half of my life in Connecticut and other New England states, and the second half (so far) here in Kansas, it seems to me that this is still the conflicted border area it was in the time of Bleeding Kansas and the Border Ruffians. Only, the divide is not about blacks and slavery, but about those who support our current government and those who do not. So, even though there are a lot of liberals and peaceniks in this area, people who are against Bush and the War, apparently we are heavily outnumbered by Bushites in the form of, generally, Republican Baptists who praise Jesus, but don't follow His teaching about peace, and even sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the church service. (true). What would Jesus think if He walked in a church and all His worshipers were singing "..And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air..."? But that's the American Midwest, to a geat extent. It like The South Lite. It is rare to see a bumper sticker that is anti-Bush or anti-war, but there are still a lot of those obscene Support the Troops yellow ribbons around. I'm too poor and too darn tired to deal with an harassment, or getting pulled over by the police just because they don't like my bumper sticker. But on the other hand, sometimes I want to do it anyway. But I have a young son to raise and any political activism I do could actually cause him problems in his very conservative school. He;s going on 14, and I've told him tha Bush's war might still be going on when he gets out of high school, and there might be a draft by then if the war continues or escalates.
Another comment about the Confederacy: in an old hardcover issue of Americn Heritage, I read an article entitled "The Vice-President Flees", about Davis's Veep- I forget his name- who literally went on the run at the end of the Civil War, and ended up down in Florida "running like a dog through the Everglades" (thanks Kingston Trio). Wouldn't it be delightful to see Bush and/or Cheney (and Condi too) in that position, of having to flee for their lives because of treason, and ending up in some "spider hole" somewhere, like Hussein, like the Confederate V.P., before being found and brought to justice.
It's not that I hate them, it's just that they are such a menace to civilization.

The hard part is really getting the right truthful messages out. The blogs and websites are great, but all too often preach almost entirely to the choir; and the more powerful and more-viewed media outlets, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, and sadly even PBS, have failed to present the truth, but have cheerleaded the war and "supported the troops" and given short shrift to the antiwar sentiment in the nation. Every so often the MSM throws the progressives a bone, and reports on, say, the Haditha massacre, or briefly mentions the 180,000 (at least) AK-47's and other wepons that mysteriously went missing in Iraq.
Q:How do you lose 180,000 assault rifles and automatic pistols? A: On purpose.

Yet, the MSM won't cover it or the many other things like it.

It's as if none of the anchors or reporters want to go through what Dan Rather or Bill Moyers has gone through. They want to keep their fat retirement and their high-paying jobs, and the way to do that is to basically use the White House and the Pentagon as their main news services. "The Pentagon says" or "The White House says" or "President Bush says"- that's the MSM for you, mostly. The White House tells the networks what to say and they say it and 24 hours later it's the "truth", at least in the minds of millions of voters who choose not to think any further than that.

Thanks for your inspiring colums. I only wish they could be more widespread. Maybe we need to go back to handbills and broadsides, print and post the truth all over town, like Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty did.
Of course, there are laws against even posting garage sale posters without permission.

If the Sons of Liberty and the Founding Fathers were reincarnated today and started putting up posters criticizing King George, they'd end up in the slammer, but by Americn cops and not British redcoats.

I'm kind of hoping for a tsunami to come up the Potomac and wipe the slate clean in the District. Or maybe the sea levels will rise and flood Washington once and for all, and we could start over with a new government with some integrity. Nice fantasy.

Anyway, I don't want to make this comment too long -although it already is ;>)
- or I'd write a lot more, but suffice it to say that I just completely agree with all you say, it's amazing. Keep on truckin'.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Charles Moore said...

Hi Tom,

A great, great article.

Just 3 quick points, I agree completely with Anita about Romney's big strapping sons doing their part for the country by helping to get their father elected. As my South Georgia redneck relatives would say "Doesn't that beat all?"

Point 2 - with your remark about some so called Christians being so opposed to the basic precepts of Jesus teachings, isn't it ironic how those who scream the loudest against the "sin and immorality" of abortion and stem cell research beat the drums the most for the war as if that was not killing?

And lastly, does anyone still think that sending Bush to the White House was a good idea? Yes, one of my neighbors thinks he is God come back to earth. It is getting so that I simply can no longer talk to her even as a neighbor because she is so blinded by her admiration for that idiot.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Dr, Samsara said...

I recall the fear mongering chickenhawks in the 1960s who gibbered about how we had to stop the communists in Viet Nam otherwise we'd be fighting them as they invaded California. This was another lie fed to the gullible and defective to justifiy sending hundreds of thousands of young men into the senseless meat grinder of S.E. Asia. Now the right-wing pundits on Fox, talk radio, and the thugs in the current Bush Regime regurgitate a similar swill of untruths! The only thing changed are the location of the conflict, different generation to go into the meat grinder, and a differnent stink to the lies.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Thank you for the kind words, folks!

Oh, and by the way: That American body count that I had lost track of? As of today the number is 3,757.

I need a drink....


Tom Degan

At 12:27 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...


Loved the post! Chicken hawks indeed! You ought to make copies of the artwork on this post and sell them/give them away at protest rallies!

One of those 3757 was Joshua L. Morley who lived rightn up the road from the little town of Saluda North Carolina where I make my home. He was killed on August 26 in Samara Irag. He was only 22 years old.

Oh yea! I finally got a chance put a new post on my blog! I think you'll like it! I let President Pork Pie have it REAL good!

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,
Another tremendously good piece! If I had a drink every time these subhuman thugs did something else that upset me, I'd be completely oblivious to the whole rotten bunch by now.

Mary Eman

At 3:41 AM, Anonymous larkrise said...

The Chinese are quietly dumping their dollars. We have not seen the end of the fallout from the Subprime Lending mess. The deficit continues to grow by leaps and bounds: 50 billion here, 50 billion there, with no end in sight. The Fat Cats, the Saudis, the Billionaires around the world have already traded in their dollars for yuan, reals, gold, etc. Bush continues to saber-rattle toward Iran. Is there a massive air-strike plan? The Guardian says there is. Will Iran take the blow and crumple? NO! Will the price of gasoline skyrocket to unprecedented heighths? YES! When a tropical storm threatens the oil rigs in the Gulf, but doesnt even damage them, gasoline prices rise. Can you imagine what would happen if the Persian Gulf gets shut down.....Plus, Russia will fund and arm every terrorist group on the face of the earth that wants to hit U.S. interests. And, I cant even begin to imagine what China will do with all of those debt bonds. Our greed-driven, chickens--t politicians, who pretend to govern, are going to get a lesson in reality, if they continue to give the Bush Barbarians more booty. The core is rotten. The collapse is inevitable. It will be a rough ride, but maybe it will be the only way to clear the temple.


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