American Empire: How the Military-Industrial Complex Is Warping America’s Values

Venezuelan offshore oil platform

Part 1 of 3

I stopped trusting the United States a long time ago. I find it very hard to believe anything that comes from the federal government. I am convinced that both major political parties have the same agenda: world domination. I also believe that Congress has lost most of the power reserved for it by the United States Constitution.

The Bush administration greatly expanded Executive Branch power, especially in the area of military operations. The Authorization for the Use of Force passed in 2002 had a stipulation that the Executive Branch must report to Congress every 60 days on how the AUOF was being used. (Public Law 107-243, Oct 16, 2002). This practice to my knowledge is not being followed by the Obama Administration in violation of the law.

This means that the President, by not informing Congress on the use of force covered by the authorization every 60 days, is guilty of breaking the law. This gives the President carte blanche to use military force without any supervision by Congress in violation of the War Powers Act and the Constitution. I believe that this wanton disregard for the law is far more dangerous to our republic than President Clinton having oral sex with an intern for which he was impeached by the House of Representatives. The American people seem to be learning deceit from the top down.

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the reason that I began to write politically over six years ago. The experiences I had trying to form a new political party (The Liberal Party of America) gave me a comprehensive look at the way politics and political parties work in this “Brave New World” of the 21st Century and the decades leading up to where we are now. When I realized what the requirements consisted of in order to get on the ballot in different States, I understood what an enormous undertaking it was. It wasn’t just a matter of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures; it also consisted of developing organizations that could raise money to pay for professionals to get the petitions completed, and that cost in the neighborhood of one dollar a signature. Unless a particular State had hundreds or thousands of people ready to hit the pavement to knock on doors or to set up a table downtown or in a mall, professional s were the only viable way to get the petitions completed. This is one of the reasons that only the Republicans and Democrats are the only political parties on the ballot in all 50 states.

Before any campaign literature is printed or candidates presented to voters, hundreds of thousands of dollars must be raised. The requirements for ballot access only get more difficult year by year. This is because the two national political parties have a vested interest in making the process difficult. It’s easy to understand how this benefits them. We may believe that casting a ballot in the United States is free with the price of citizenship until we realize that putting choices on that ballot is prohibitively expensive.

Trying to form a new political party led me into the shadowy world of campaign finance. When I started to examine the practice of raising cash for political campaigns, I soon realized that much of the money raised for federal office seekers came from special interest groups like Pac’s, lobbyists and bundled contributions from corporations. I became adept at “following the money” by accessing The Center for Responsive Politics . I soon realized that starting a new political party was daunting, to say the least. The Liberal Party of America had by this time, members in eight States and a very comprehensive website. Still, by this time, I understood that any real prospects of successfully starting a new political party were more than likely a million to one.

After this experience, I realized that campaign finance reform was truly the reform that enables all other reforms. The two major political parties have no interest in changing the status quo, and why should they? The truth is that they have made the process of ballot access more difficult through the years. The monopoly they have managed to maintain and build upon in the twentieth century has been remarkable. The truly amazing thing about their co-opting of the political process in America is that they have managed to keep it from becoming an issue that begs reform. It is very rare to see a politician push for campaign finance reform.

I believe that the reason for this is twofold. First, the subject is seen by those that don’t understand it as dry and boring, there are many more issues that seem to be more exciting and interesting; until one realizes that nothing will change fundamentally unless we break the monopoly of power that the Democrats and Republicans share. The second reason is that campaign reform is a true Catch-22; only elected officials can change the system and most elected officials owe their political fortune to this rigged system. It would be political suicide to stand against what has allowed these two parties to play what is the only game in town.

The McCain-Feingold Bill was the last meaningful campaign finance reform bill. It took courage for these two senators to propose it across party lines. I believe it was readily accepted because it was basically outdated before it became law. It was too little, too late. With the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations, unions and special interest groups to donate to political campaigns with no limits, we have basically ceded our Federal government to those with the money to buy it. We took control of our government from the citizen and gave it to corporations. If the definition of fascism is a corporately run state, we have become that fascist state.

War and the prospects of more war seem to be the engine that drives this nation. I read something from Citizen’s for Legitimate Government (CLG) that told of new estimates of Venezuela’s oil reserves in the Orinoco region of that country. A new US assessment of Venezuela’s oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia. Scientists working for the US Geological Survey say Venezuela’s Orinoco belt region holds three times as much petroleum as previously thought. The geologists estimate the area could yield more than 500 billion barrels of crude oil. This assessment is far more optimistic than even the best case scenario put forward by President Hugo Chavez. The latest estimates project that Venezuela has 500bn barrels of crude oil.

“Telling the US about this is like setting forty child molesters loose at a playground. I am thinking the CIA/Xe has eight coups boiling on the stove, even as I type. Hopefully, Chavez’s armies are up to the task. We need to establish a global defense fund for the world to resist US oil- and water-grabbing, in light of the High Whore Court’s recent decision to blatantly task the corporate terrorists with installing political drones in every level of US government.” –Lori Price

This is truly troubling, not because I’m afraid of Hugo Chavez’s plans to use the receipts of those oil fields to bolster his socialist government, no, I’m more afraid that my own country will develop a pretext to invade Venezuela. I’m writing this in the hope that our aggressive government realizes that there are some of us that realize what’s up.

The U.S. has brought back the 5th Fleet that will patrol Latin America and the Caribbean. The U.S. has also leased seven military bases in Colombia (Venezuela’s next door neighbor) for a 10-year period. These bases are being promoted as a way of interdicting the supply of cocaine that reaches America. According to the L.A. Times, back in 2003 the U.S. and Columbian governments were successfully eradicating coca plants. We can all see how well that has worked out. Personally, I am very skeptical about America’s resolve in wiping out the coca crop. I am also skeptical about Columbia’s commitment to stopping the flow of cocaine into the United States.

I’m pretty well convinced that drug interdiction is in reality nothing more than a cover for American military intervention in Latin America. I believe that I’m not the only one that suspects this. Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, has been ridiculed by the press in this country for suggesting that the U.S. is in the process of invading that country. Unfortunately, I believe he is correct.

The United States saw no “peace dividend” that was touted at the end of the Cold War with the demise of the Soviet Union. In fact, spending on the military has only increased. This year, a missile defense system will be implemented in former Soviet republics and satellite states of the former Warsaw Pact. The U.S. has formed a major new military command in Africa. We have 737 military bases overseas. The cold hard fact is that the United States is encircling Russia, China and Iran in its quest for Global hegemony. The military budget for 2010 has been increased by 21 billion dollars over the 2009 budget.

End of Part 1.

Timothy V. Gatto

Tim Gatto’s new book Complicity to Contempt is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Abe’s and other fine bookstores now. Kimchee Days, A novel about an anti-aircraft Battery (reminiscent of M*A*S*H and CATCH-22) in Korea during the years 19690-1971 will be out soon.


  1. says

    With all of the jabbering going on out there about ways to cut spending, only Bernie Sanders of Vermont (God bless him!) has had the common sense to state what should be blatantly obvious: We need to make drastic slashes in military spending.

    “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of 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
    January 17, 1961

    We could cut our military budget in half and still have enough really cool bombs in our arsenal to destroy the world three times over – and then some. The Cold War is over, folks. Why on earth are we still pissing away our national treasure on these military contractors? Could it possibly be that our very economic survival depends on our stockpiling the entire planet with weapons of mass destruction? That is the question we all should be asking.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers;
    for they shall be called sons of God.”

    Jesus of Nazareth

    Just a thought.

    Tom Degan

  2. says

    Are you an American? So what’s the big deal with “global hegemony”? You would prefer China, Russia, or Islam having it? Imagine trying to ram the horrible Quran, er, Communist Manifesto, er, Mao’s Little Book, er, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights down everybody’s throats :) Imagine trying to topple shining knights of light and justice such as Hugo Chavez and Imadinnajacket :) They have to build walls to keep people out of their countries, right? :) If only they’d let you out of the horrible U.S., you’d be taking Spanish lessons in Caracas right now, wouldn’t you? :) The U.S. is a great horror show, every citizen is living in Hell 24/7/365, and you’re smart, so smart :) How about that mean Hillary Clinton pledging $100B a year to poor nations for climate, man, that’s going to give us hegemony as we mark the money and use it to foist horsemeat on them :)


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