But did people listen? Nope. They were too busy having babies and getting rich and trashing the environment. Meanwhile, the Lockheeds and the Grummans and the Boeings built their empires quietly, rejoicing when like-minded greedy assholes like Reagan and Bush (both of them) took over and raped our country's treasury for their military-industrial friends. Congressional dems may bitch and moan about not giving any more blank checks for the war, yet when it comes time to stand up or shut up, they've given Bush every penny he's asked for and more. John Murtha may be against the war, but he's the first one in line to vote for more military spending so his constituents will stay happy, keep their military-related jobs, and elect him to another term.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, 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 or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together....
As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Going a little farther back and to another country's history, Alexandr Solzhenitzyn gave us some words of warning too, and I fear they may prove prophetic as well. I want to quote a little bit of his Gulag Archipelago (Part I, Chapter 1, "Arrested"), in which he speaks about the docility of the Russian masses during Stalin's purges: (note: all italics are his)
Is that us, minus the Cheka (so far) to arrest us all en masse? If it came down to it, do we love our freedom enough to pick up whatever tool is at hand and fight for it, even in the face of the seemingly overwhelming crush of this wannabe fascist state? Or do we deserve to have our precious constitutional rights taken away, as Chimpy's signing statements and illegal wars and criminal eavesdropping continue? What will happen if the government names you or me or you neighbor an "enemy combatant" (based on an illegally wiretapped phone call or intercepted email), and the arrests begin?
The majority sit quietly and dare to hope. Since you aren't guilty, then how can they arrest you? It's a mistake! They are already dragging you along by the collar, and you still keep on exclaiming to yourself: "It's a mistake! They'll set things straight and let me out!" Others are being arrested en masse, and that's a bothersome fact, but in those other cases there is always a dark area: "Maybe he was guilty...!" But as for you, you are obviously innocent! You still believe the Organs are humanly logical institutions: they will set things straight and let you out.
Why, then, should you run away?...
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?...
If... if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more, we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.
Are there enough of us who care enough to fight?
Many times on this blog and on other blogs I read, we've wondered aloud whether Bush/Cheney will cede their little thrones in January 2009--or whether they'll even allow us to choose their successors this November.
Further, I've seen some pretty convincing evidence that the republican's Hillary-Hatred is so intense that were she the democratic nominee, the repubs would rather see Gomer Pyle (read: Fuckabee) take office than this woman. And don't even get me started on the "we're not ready for a black president" contingent.
Yesterday morning, PoP served up this little Morning Martini, asking what we'd do if we woke up to find that Geezer Walnuts McCain were our president. That's a bitter enough drink to swallow, but let me add a little shot of piss to the mix: what if he chose Dick Cheney or Condi Rice to be his VP?
I don't think the country can survive another republican presidency, or--more to the point--another presidency committed to whatever makes the corporate world and the military-industrial complex even richer, and just fuck the rest of us.
The warning shots have been fired, and they're still whizzing over our heads. Can you hear them?
UPDATE: Bush is now shooting off every gun in his arsenal.