For some reason today I decided to listen to Sean Hannity on my car radio. He was, of course, attempting an apologia for the failed campaign of Mitt Romney. And one of his points was, at some point Americans are going to make a “conservative” turn, if not on fiscal issues, then on national security ones.
Translation: Hannity sees the upbuilding of the military-industrial complex as a “conservative” stance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rising militarism is hardly a hallmark of conservatism.
For instance, yesterday over at the Old Right AntiWar.blog, John Glaser wrote:
Americans are duped into thinking that when the rulers talk about facing national security threats, they are literally talking about keeping the population safe from foreign threats to their lives and immediate security.
Putting more than a minute’s thought into this is enough to penetrate its underlying fiction. Does any body really believe that Jon and Jane Doe in Springfield America-town were actually saved from destruction and destitution by a virtually 15-year-long war in Vietnam which killed almost 60,000 US soldiers and millions of Vietnamese?
The secret wars America fights are even more enlightening in this respect, because these are the wars that the national security state is determined to fight, but knows the motivations can’t be packaged and sold to the American people to make them actually believe their safety is at risk. Who can really say that Jon and Jane were personally threatened when the CIA decided to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 and install a more preferred dictator? Who in America would otherwise have been existentially threatened if Reagan had not helped foment a savage civil war and support massive human rights abuses by proxy to undermine the Sandinistas in Nicaragua?
Likewise, yesterday at The American Conservative, William S. Lind scribed a pertinent piece called, “Why Conservatives Hate War.” Writes Lind:
The threat war poses to the cake of custom is exacerbated by one of its foremost characteristics: its results are unpredictable. Few countries go to war expecting to lose, but wars are seldom won by both sides. The effects of military defeat on social order can be revolutionary … The plain fact is, conservatives loathe unpredictability. They also know that vast state expenditures and debts can destabilize a society, and no activity of the state is more expensive than war. America’s adventure in Iraq, driven in no small part by the quest for oil—which will now mostly go to China—has already cost a trillion dollars, with another trillion or two to come caring for crippled veterans. Even the peacetime cost of a large military can break a country, as it broke the Soviet Union. American conservatives used to be budget hawks, not warhawks … Real conservatives hate war. If that now sounds as strange as thinking of blue as the conservative color, we can thank a bunch of (ex?)-Trotskyites who stole our name, and a military-industrial-congressional complex that has bought right and left alike. If history is a guide, and it usually is, the price for the nationalist right’s love of militaries and war is likely to be higher than we can to imagine. (emphasis mine)
Sean Hannity and his ilk are not conservatives. As a shill for the military-industrial complex that is quickly bankrupting our nation–both materially and culturally–Hannity provides the distraction to cover up, and the justification after the fact, for we Americans having our collective pocket picked. Furthermore, not only does big military not serve national security, it actually jeopardizes it. Our military adventurism continues to make the U.S. the object of hatred in unstable regions, thus creating more national security threats by encouraging terrorism. Again, Glaser writes:
It is not for the sake of Jon and Jane that the United States Government establishes military bases, props up obedient dictatorships, and goes to war in the Middle East. They are not safer and their wallets are emptier because of these policies. It is for the sake of the supremacy of the government – the rulers – that these policies are imposed … “National security interests” are just that: interests of the national security state, not of the people.
Lind is justified in calling identity-thief conservatives like Hannity and those in government for whom he serves as a surrogate voice “Trotskyites.” They are interested in perpetuating a permanent state of cultural revolution, and one primary engine of this revolution is Big Military and its front, the national security state. And permanent revolution is hardly a conservative stance.
I don’t know if this makes me a liberal or a conservative, but I envision the good society looking somewhat like a verse from Pete Seeger’s song, “Or Else!”: “Johnny will get the money he needs for that operation, and the Air Force will hold a raffle to buy a bomber.”