America’s Greatest Problem Ignored by US News Media
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 10 Jan 2011
In order for us to understand properly a problem we need to get to its source, without which it is bound to remain and deteriorate to the detriment of everyone concerned and involved. Like many other nations, the United States is confronted with numerous problems due to the fact that one problem leads to another endlessly. In many instances, things tend to get completely out of control and intelligent steps need to be taken to remedy the situation.
Source of Major Problems
In the first place, we need to figure out the real source of the crucial problems we face that is literally disintegrating not only the nation where it is found, but sooner or later the entire world as well. Of course, if we were to have a group of concerned individuals who try to figure out the real source of a crucial problem, we may likely get different viewpoints, which may all prove to be true in some way or another.
Needless to say, this would be already a step in the right direction. The next step would be to find a way how to correlate these viewpoints as to get to the one that is eventually contributing to all other existent problems. In a number of cases, we do fail, for one reason or another, to bring into the open the real source of all problems that surround us. This is due to a variety of reasons, among which it may be lack of perception.
Let us now explore properly America’s greatest problem that is ruining the nation to the point of eventual collapse. We need here to keep in mind that what makes a nation great is not to be sought in the structure of its cities and costly automobiles. It is merely to be sought in the quality and caliber of its people. In other words, a nation is as strong or weak as its people do reveal to be individually and collectively. Hence, the people’s health and education should occupy top priority in all governmental endeavors.
To this end, everything needs to be sacrificed and not the other way round, that is, the welfare of the native population should not be sacrificed for anything that is material, especially if it is negative and destructive in nature. Before we get to the heart of the matter, we need to keep in mind that the United States is relatively a young nation, less than 250 years old. This explains why the way this nation thinks and acts at times reveals conspicuous immaturity, which tends to be shown in lack of insight and foresight.
As a result, we may fully realize and understand why those who really want to help the USA become so frustrated. The United States has emerged to become a very controversial nation. This explains why there are so many people around the world that view this nation as a God-sent gift on earth, while others view this same nation as a Satanic force that is bent to destroy any nation that does not submit to its will. Of course, it is not appropriate for us to take sides since there are 360 angles from which we can view an object.
The purpose of this presentation is to focus on what may be termed to be America’s greatest problem. The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language tells us that the word “problem” is derived from the Latin problema, that is, pro (before) + ballo (to throw). This explains why problem is defined as “questions proposed for solution, decision, or determination; a knotty point requiring to be cleared up.” A problem does not pop up from the midst of nowhere. It is always caused by someone or something.
Those that cause the problem always have a purpose in mind, which they may or may not want to reveal. Quite often such elements that create and promote a problem do so because they believe it would be in their immediate interest and long-range benefit. However, those who suffer from the results of an involved problem would view it as vicious, an evil that ought to be obliterated in the best interest of everyone concerned and involved. Here we have a conflict between good and evil, between construction and destruction.
Regardless of the definition we may prefer to use to describe America’s greatest problem, which is not the focus of the US News Media, its nature and very essence remains always the same, negative and destructive. In fact, this very great American problem has destroyed successfully the US economy that forced her already into over $14 trillion dollars debt. To turn an insult into injury, instead of having the US government officials going to the source of this problem as to eradicate it completely, they continue to augment this source of economic ruin even at the cost of the health and education of the American people.
It explains why in the USA today we have 59 million people medically uninsured, 132 million without dental insurance, 60 million without paid sick leave, and 40 million on food stamps, not to mention millions that do not have adequate home facilities. This is due to America’s greatest problem: its addiction to wars. A study of the USA since 1950 reveals that this nation’s top priority was always the manufacture and sales of weapons and military items, the building of foreign military bases and the staffing of our oceans with warships.
Albatross of America
This has been costing the USA billions of dollars every month. When President Bill Clinton left office he left $800 dollars billion surplus. But when President George W. Bush left office he left over $4 trillion dollars in debt and since then it tripled. The $800 billion dollars Bush inherited went to finance wars, more foreign military bases, and the manufacture of devastating weapons. The military became the albatross of America. To this end, the US government began to drain money from Social Security, health care and education to finance wars.
Although Republicans and Democrats differ in their philosophy of government in terms of priorities, when it comes to the promotion of wars and continued military build-up they seem to be both in the same boat. They are both kept hostage of big corporations headed by the weapons industry and the military industrial complex. The moment a governmental official considers cutting down on weapons and military expenditures, the adversaries in the US Congress begin to accuse him as being “soft on terrorism!”
This technique, which is mostly used by Republicans against Democrats, has served to squeeze tightly the balls of prospective peaceful and diplomatic politicians who believe that we can solve all problems in the world through healthy dialogues and strong diplomacy. This approach was very much emphasized by President Barack Obama in his presidential campaign. As a result, the American people elected him as their President because they were literally sick of American wars all over the world.
In fact, Obama promised, if elected, to close Guantanamo Bay prison on the Island of Cuba and to bring all American troops out of Iraq. In addition, he said he wanted to concentrate on Afghanistan where he could bring a permanent diplomatic solution there. The moment he tried to carry out these promises his opponents in Congress who are the mouthpiece of big corporations headed by the weapons industry and the military industrial complex, began to accuse President Obama as being weak on terrorism, as being naïve. Unfortunately, Obama gave in to the will of war corporations, which control the US Congress.
As a result, Guantanamo Bay prison has never closed down. There are still many prisoners there, some of whom were imprisoned merely on suspicion without any proof of guilt whatsoever. The American troops are still in Iraq and the USA has built a few additional military bases there, which reveals its intention to remain there for ever by all means. Instead of cutting down the US troops in Afghanistan, Obama sent 30,000 more troops and he is still considering of sending more. The USA would not allow the United Nations to take charge.
Deceitful Political Promises
Now the Republicans that became the majority in the US House of Representatives have vouched to the American people to reduce the enormous US deficit by cutting down billions of dollars in what they term to be “pork money,” that is, money used on useless and unimportant programs. Very ironically, such programs deal with the health care and education of Americans as well as with their adequate home facilities! But what is worse, which may be termed as criminal in the sphere of morality, lies here.
If such money is being taken from the vital needs of the American people was really intended to bring down the tremendous deficit of the United States, one could perhaps take a deep breath and develop willingness to undergo the sacrifice. But the US government officials who make such statements are fully and blatantly lying to their constituents. The money they take from their vital needs is going for the manufacture of more weapons, the opening of more foreign military bases and the promotion of more wars around the world.
As a result of these war and militaristic policies, millions of Americans are living a life that is very similar to those living in some of the poorest nations on earth. Why is it that the US News Media says nothing to the American people about the real source of all the surmountable problems they are facing with so much strain and pain? The US Media is ready to criticize openly anything you can imagine, including religion and God Himself, if needed. However, the very thought of ever criticizing the weapons industry and the military industrial complex haunts them with fear.
This explains why in the United States the military industrial complex is viewed as the holy cow, as the element that is so sacred that the very idea of criticizing it or oppose it literally constitutes a blasphemy. It explains why so many deceitful slogans were formulated to deceive the American people as make them keep their mouth tightly shut. Among such slogans that try to justify the US involvement in never-ending wars we find: safeguard of freedom and democracy, national defense and security, and no one said freedom is free.
The USA firmly believes that the nations of the world respect it because it is militarily powerful. To this end, the USA wants to continue to develop newer weapons of mass destruction and to use them each time an opportunity offers to show that this nation means business, regardless of how many millions of innocent people are killed. When former US General Colin Powell was asked about the number of Iraqis that the US troops massacred, he was quick to say: “We do not keep a count of that. We view that as collateral damage!
Military Role in Perspective
The American military serves as a tool in the hands of the US government to control the whole world directly or indirectly. To this end, every nation that has allowed on its soil US military bases may be viewed to be officially a satellite of the United States. This is always done in the name of “national defense and security.” The United States needs to realize that at this stage of history the waging of wars in the traditional conventional way is over. This means that the idea of a nation waging a war against another nation is now a thing of the past.
Today, those that want to take revenge against the United States for any reason whatsoever are merely a handful of young people, whose identity is mostly unknown, that seek to commit what is termed to be terrorist activities. But the USA is so deeply trenched in the concept of traditional warfare – that of a nation waging a war against another nation – that following the 9/11 event in New York, this nation proceeded to identify the terrorists of this sad event with Iraq, even though not one of the 19 terrorists was from Iraq.
So the USA waged a war not against the terrorists that demolished the twin towers in New York but against another nation known as Iraq. Prior to that, they also waged a war in Afghanistan, which is still going on. Again, since the so called terrorists do not fight conventional wars, the question that needs to be raised each time the USA resorts to conventional wars against the terrorists is this: Who are the terrorists? They have no real identity. Anyone in Iraq who kills a US soldier is viewed as Al-Qaida, regardless of the motive.
We need here to bring in mind the preamble of the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) which states: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” This brief statement gives us the clue of how to solve the problem of future wars and future acts of terrorism. We need to help all the nations of the world by providing them with a good health care and a good educational system so that children may grow up into adulthood respecting each other and caring for everyone in need they come across.
The world at large does not believe anymore the USA when it speaks of democracy and freedom, environmental protection and human rights. We are all familiar with the saying: Actions speak louder than words. This nation never tried to develop an international program of disarmament and arms control. On the contrary, it tried to equip many nations with all weapons and military equipment needed. It refused to go along with the United Nations to abolish all nuclear weapons and landmines from the surface of the earth.
Putting Priorities in Order
The United States has viewed its peaceful neighbor Cuba as enemy imposing an embargo that has been going on already for 50 years. Ironically, the United States has tried to help African and South American nations with weapons and military equipment under the guise of “national defense and security.” At the same time, Cuba has tried to help these same nations by providing them medicine and physicians along with educational material and teachers. While Cuba was implementing the preamble of UNESCO, which is the very foundation of peace, the USA was literally defying it.
Fairly recently, while the United Nations voted to condemn NAZI brutalities that took place in Germany under the Hitler regime, the USA voted against this resolution! If the United States really wants to leave a good legacy for our children, grandchildren and future generations, it must start by replacing its belligerent foreign policies with healthy dialogues and strong diplomacy, like Barack Obama advocated in his presidential campaign. As a result, he got not only elected as US President but he also won the Nobel Peace Prize afterwards.
The United States is viewed as the seat of capitalism whose motto is: “The sky is not the limit.” This means one can make money without limit. There is nothing wrong in that. But we need to keep in mind that there are ethical and moral standards that must be safeguarded and that they cannot be violated. This means one is morally prohibited to make money at the expense of others, that is, to the detriment of other people. The USA should feel morally obligated to close down all corporations that manufacture items that are meant to be destructive.
Such corporations may then start producing beneficial products. Instead of making tanks for soldiers they may make tractors for farmers. Those that work for war corporations should quit their job and seek to do something useful with their life. This may serve as a good asset for the USA, which could then use its military bases for humanitarian purposes and its warships as floating hospitals to provide assistance to poor nations. All of this would be a gigantic step for a permanent world peace and an assurance that the United States would never incur debt of any kind in the best interest of all its citizens.
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 10 Jan 2011.
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