George Washington, The Pentagon, and the CIA
By Sherwood Ross
When George Washington left the White House, he warned Americans to beware of “those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty.”
Inauspicious to liberty! What a diplomatic way of saying overgrown militaries are destroyers of liberty. Please note: Washington said those words a hundred and sixty years before President Eisenhower’s celebrated warning against the military-industrial complex. It may even be that as Eisenhower was stuck for a model for a farewell speech he wisely looked back on what Washington said.
But what have we got today if not the biggest, the costliest, and the most overgrown warfare machine ever created...tightening its grip on the entire world...poised to attack any point on the planet by land, sea, air, and, as we shall see, even from outer space.
Since World War II, America has become the new Rome, only larger, grander, greedier...an Empire on which the sun and the moon never set and which operates in the dark cloak of secrecy; an Empire that has its boots on the ground on every continent; an Empire that spends more for war than peace, an Empire whose atomic arsenals can destroy the planet; an Empire that directs vast armies and navies that dwarf all the forces of its potential enemies combined; an Empire whose spy apparatus snoops on the entire human race; an Empire that dominates the globe from 1,000 bases on its own soil and hundreds more overseas from Diego Garcia to Okinawa; an Empire of secret, military prisons and torture chambers; an Empire where prisoners have no rights and can rot for decades behind bars with no trial; an Empire that is the planet’s No. 1 arms peddler; and an Empire that is hated by millions because it supports despotic regimes that deny them their freedoms; an empire, in short, that is run from the Pentagon today and is the exact opposite of everything George Washington ever stood for.
If you doubt this, read “House of War” by James Carroll. The book is subtitled, “The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power.” Carroll declares, “The Pentagon is now the dead center of an open-ended martial enterprise that no longer pretends to be defense.”
If you still doubt, read “The New American Militarism” by Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University. He writes, if America persists in global primacy and impressing its values on the world, “America will surely share the fate of all those who in ages past have looked to war and military power to fulfill their destiny. We will rob future generations of their rightful inheritance. We will wreak havoc abroad. We will endanger our security at home. We will risk the forfeiture of all that we prize.”
If you doubt we have become just the opposite of what George Washington wanted, read what former President Jimmy Carter says about the Pentagon deploying weapons in space: “The ABM Treaty prohibited space-based weapons but our government’s abandonment of the treaty in 2002 opened the door to this extremely destabilizing project. The new Defense Department doctrine defines our goal as “freedom to attack” as well as to defend from space. The goal is to strike any target on earth within 45 minutes.” Carter writes that one Air Force scheme is called “Rods from God.” This plan calls for hurling cylinders of heavy metal from space at 7200 miles per hour that would strike a target “with the destructive force of a small nuclear weapon.”
If you think President Carter exaggerates, read Noam Chomsky’s book “Imperial Ambitions.” Chomsky writes, “The Air Force Space Command...said the U.S. is going to move from ‘control’ of space to ‘ownership of space.’” This means “no potential challenge to U.S. control of space will be tolerated. If anyone challenges us, we’ll destroy them.” Chomsky says this means “putting platforms in space for...nuclear and laser weapons, which can be launched instantaneously, without warning, anywhere in the world. It means hypersonic drones that will keep the whole world under photo surveillance with high-resolution devices that can tell you if a car is driving across the street in Ankara....meaning the whole world is under surveillance.”
Not even in George Orwell’s “1984” was Big Brother watching everybody in the world the way Uncle Sam is now watching you, yes you, and you and you and you and you and you.
We have come so far from what George Washington wanted that many rulers of America could be tried as war criminals. In his book, “Rogue State” Washington investigative reporter Bill Blum indicts a number of recent presidents and public officials starting with Bill Clinton, “for his merciless bombing of Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights in 1999, and also for his “illegal and lethal bombings of Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.”
Blum goes on to indict General Wesley Clark for his role in the bombing of Yugoslavia. He indicts the first President George H.W. Bush “for the death of more than a million innocent Iraqi citizens, the result of his 40 days of bombing in 1991,” including the deliberate ruination of the public water supply. Blum indicts former General Colin Powell for his role in the attacks on Panama as well as Iraq.
Blum indicts Caspar Weinberger, the Reagan era defense secretary, for the bombing of Libya in 1986. Blum indicts Lt. Colonel Oliver North for his role in planning the illegal invasion of Grenada and his support of the Contras’ attacks on Nicaragua. So you see, this has been going on for some time, much of it kept secret from the American people.
And what would George Washington make of President Barack Obama? It was Washington who led his ragged army of shoeless patriots to depose a king with tyrannical powers over them. But there in the Oval Office, like a god on the throne, sits President Obama raining down death and destruction from the heavens on all those he suspects of actions against America. No court orders. No trials. No lawyers. No juries. No justice. Just the will of the king, King Obama, the former lowly CIA employee, now the powerful chief of operations for the CIA’s global crimes, and the crimes of the Pentagon as well.What would George Washington, the president who warned of “those overgrown military establishments,” have thought of America today? You tell me at email@example.com.
(Sherwood Ross is an award-winning reporter and poet based in Miami who writes on foreign and domestic affairs and runs a PR firm "for good causes.")