The other day, Greenwald wrote a very good summary of America’s collapsing empire. Basically, we are entering year nine of the Afghanistan occupation, and Republicans are leading a crusade to cut benefits and Social Security during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Greenwald highlighted this disturbing passage from a NYT article:
Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further — it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.
Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.
Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters.
I occasionally feature bits of empirical evidence to prove the existence of the collapsing empire in this blog, like the inevitable Republican-inspired Mad Max future of no firefighters, or parks, and endless water shortages. And we’ve seen signs of the decay everywhere – the real unemployment of 16 percent, and certain counties’ decision to switch from pavement to gravel roads in order to save money, not to mention the woeful state of the nation’s other infrastructure (water mains, bridges, etc.).
I don’t need to tell you shit is bad. But what’s so amazing about all of this is Washington’s utter indifference to the state of the decaying empire. (Quick digression: Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to imply empires are a good thing. We know the true toll of colonialism and empire expansion, and I reject the notion that America must remain an all-powerful empire in order to survive and thrive.) If the ruling class isn’t made to understand the effects of their detrimental policies, the U.S. will not only lose the empire, but the very fabric of society itself.
Take for example, the U.S. plans to sell $30 billion-worth of F-15s to Saudi Arabia. While watching MSNBC this morning, a fairly useless human being (didn’t catch his name, but he’s an old, white, male journalist – does that narrow it down?) claimed that this move may not be the best idea in the world because it might anger Israel. You know, because the US also sends Israel around $1 billion annually ($114 billion total) in military aid, and they’re our supposed allies, so if we’re arming their sworn enemies, it looks…weird.
See, because the only threat here is that Israel might get upset – not the U.S. taxpayers who fund the military, which in turn outsources weapon research and development to private companies (that whole “Military-Industrial-Complex” thingy). The fairly useless human being (FUHB) on my teevee (along with this article) also state not to worry because the US military never gives brown people the best weaponry available, but rather last year’s hot toy. Of course, the toys can still maim and kill civilians, but since they’re not the shiniest, newest toys, the weapons sales practically don’t count!
Meanwhile, our politicians continue their rich tradition of investing time and money – not in jobs, green energy, schools, infrastructure, or healthcare – but into weapons and weapons sales. Not only that, but the US is now arming mortal enemies Israel and Saudi Arabia, in the midst of their expansionist Iran paranoia, while the US tells Iran not to bother investing in nuclear energy because they totes shouldn’t worry about their hyperventilating, super-armed neighbors. Everything will be fine. Maybe. Who cares? We’re six thousand miles away from you.
It appears the Grand Vision is to arm every corner of the Middle East and hope the brown un-Christians nuke each other into oblivion so the US can set up Tennessee 2.0 where Tehran used to be. Then, we can get at that sweet, sweet oil unimpeded by the vaporized natives. Keeping foes in constant armed conflict is a great way to suppress real democracy (the thing we’re supposedly in the Middle East to set up). With the Middle East trapped in constant volatile war hell, the US can operate forever in the region under the pretense of “helping” the poor people…who we arm…against their neighbors…precisely so they’ll keep fighting forever. See how that works? Neat, isn’t it?
With things so shitty at home (bad schools, people losing their homes, jobs, etc.) the military is guaranteed a limitless supply of poor kids/soldiers to help out in the Forever Wars. And our politicians are aiding the cause by focusing America’s last dollars not on progressive evolution, but on feeding the MIC, which is literally pushing the collapsing empire toward the abyss.
Link to this article:
– Allison Kilkenny