Going AWOL from Military Encroachment
Is it possible to be a deserter when you're not even in the service? If so, then count me in. With its "war on
terror" the US military industrial complex seems to be steadily taking over the last vestiges of civilian life.
Just recently, the US Navy was granted approval to
deploy ships using low-frequency sonar, despite
knowledge the system injures whales and other mammals.
Then Air Force General Ralph E Eberhart started pushing for changes to laws restricting the military's ability to participate in domestic law enforcement.
Recently we've been treated to the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee's hearings on attacking Iraq.
Rather than inviting voices of experience and reason
(such as Denis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian
Coordinator for Iraq or Scott Ritter, the former Chief
Inspector of the United Nations Special Commission to
Disarm Iraq) to testify, the hearings became a
forum for hawks pushing for all-out war. While the
focus is reportedly eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, curiously no mention has been made that
the five permanent members of the UN Security Council
also happen to be among the world's biggest arms
dealers. Unmentioned too has been US complicity in the
sanctions-related deaths of over one million Iraqis.
Perhaps we'll get to that later.
Not to be outdone, Boeing has ominously merged its
communications and space unit with its military
aircraft and missiles division. Why? According to
Boeing CEO Paul Condit, the reorganization reflects the
way future systems will be "designed, acquired and
maintained" and will help Boeing better target "R&D
Chew on that a minute. Sounds harmless enough at first, but remember this is Boeing - the same company that justifies its billions in tax breaks and corporate pork by emphasizing the company's contributions to civilian life. Never mind that Boeing has a disgraceful track record of violating governmental contracts, and that in spite of accepting "job creation" subsidies, it has slashed 100,000 employees in the last ten years. Never
mind that even though the company is propped up with
taxpayer dollars, its profits remain private and nothing stops it from moving production - and jobs - to
places like military factories in Xian, China. Doesn't
matter: Boeing is still the leading recipient of US
Export-Import Bank corporate welfare, and a symbol of
So just what then is implied by "communications" and
"space" now falling under the military domain? Brings
to mind the Pentagon's purchasing all rights to Ikonos
satellite pictures of Afghanistan soon after the allied
bombs started falling, thereby shielding the
suggestible masses back home from gruesome displays of
Afghan civilian casualties. "Communications" = hiding
And now it would seem "the heavens" = war, or as Steve
Hadley of the National Security Council says, "Space is
going to be important. It has a great feature in the
Not hard to predict that the final frontier's great
feature will be massive military contracts defining
"R&D opportunities" in aerospace boondoggles like Star
Wars, and defense contractors such as Boeing making out
That is, when Boeing can take time from its current busy
schedule of producing satellite-guided "smart" bombs to
be used in air strikes on Iraq.
But just hold on a second - who says the Navy owns the
oceans? Should the military control space? Is a
kangaroo court all that really stands between my
country and all-out war? If communication falls under
the defense domain, does that make ordinary citizens
who want some answers the enemy?
I don't remember voting for these changes.
While I'm grateful to those who choose to serve in the
military, that doesn't mean I signed up for boot camp
myself. The quiet yet omnipresent hand over of our
lives and liberties to a war-based mindset destabilizes
our communities and drains our resources.
Uncle Sam may want me, but I want my oceans, my sky and
my voice back.
Heather Wokusch is a free-lance writer. She can be
contacted via her web site at www.heatherwokusch.com