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The folly of the proxy war in Ukraine and how the military-industrial-complex has become the enemy from within

The Chris Hedges Report 18 Dec 22

There was once a wing of the Democratic Party that stood up to the war industry. J. William Fulbright. George McGovern. Mike Gravel. William Proxmire. But that was decades ago. The new Democrats, especially with the presidency of Bill Clinton, became shills not only for corporate America but the arms industry. No weapons system is too costly. No war, no matter how disastrous, goes unfunded.

The massive military budget, with $858 billion in military spending allocated for Fiscal Year 2023, an increase of $45 billion over the Biden administration’s budget request, and nearly $80 billion over the amount appropriated by Congress for the current fiscal year, keeps growing.

When 30 members of the party’s progressive caucus recently issued a call for Joe Biden to negotiate with Vladimir Putin they were forced by the party leadership and a war mongering media to back down and rescind their letter. What happened to the Democratic Party? Why has it become impossible to question war and the massive expenditures on arms? Why is such questioning political suicide? Why can’t a Democrat ask, especially at a time of economic hardship and huge deficits, how much we are going to divert to the war in Ukraine which has already consumed some $ 60 billion – as much as we spend on the State Department and AID — with no end in sight? Joining me to discuss the extinction of anti-war Democrats in Dennis Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, who served eight terms in the House of Representatives before the Democratic Party gerrymandered his district to ensure his defeat.

TRANSCRIPT

…………Dennis Kucinich:……………………. what’s happened with the Democratic Party, I think as soon as the Democratic Party made a determination, could have been 35, 40 years ago, that they were going to take corporate contributions, that wiped out any distinction between the two parties. Because in Washington, he or she who pays the piper plays the tune, and that’s what’s happened.

So, there isn’t that much of a difference in terms of the two parties when it comes to war except, notably, partisan reasons or not, there were over 50 Republicans who voted against the last tranche of money that went to fuel the war in Ukraine. And I felt that was notable, and of course, the potential speaker of the house should the Republicans win will be Kevin McCarthy, who has made it a point to say that he’s going to look at that funding.

….  Right now, the arms industry is making money hand over fist with the expansion of war. That’s how they make their money.

……..  And so, with respect to the Democratic caucus, this event, a retraction of the letter by a significant caucus within the Democratic Party, is a new benchmark of a slavish obeisance to the status quo within the party, which then supports war. And a majority of Republicans at this point are supporting war. So you have Congress supporting a war, and this is the way it’s been.

…… when the Pentagon budget comes up, there is a parade of various businesses, small and large, who will make appointments with the congressperson or staff and lay out how many jobs are in the district and how important it is to a district business to have this budget passed……….

………  I went to as a member of the government oversight committee in which an inspector general testified there are over $1 trillion worth of accounts in the Pentagon that couldn’t be reconciled. That they had over 1100 different accounting systems, deliberately, I suppose, constructed so as to make obfuscation rule the day.

So, from that moment on, I just said, wait a minute. They’re not keeping track of how this money’s spent. Why in the world should I vote for this budget? So from that point on, right through to the conclusion of a 16-year service in the United States Congress, I didn’t vote for a single budget of the Pentagon or any of the supplemental appropriations to keep wars going because I knew it was a racket

………….. the truth is the members of Congress are always under enormous pressure locally from their constituents, from contractors within their constituency, from the mediated environment, and the party. And so, it’s a rare individual, and I’m not doing this to elevate myself, but it’s a rare individual who will go against that, because you risk, at times, you may risk your political career.

…………………………………….. The truth of the matter is that we’re in a heavily militarized society driven by greed, lust for profit, and wars are being created just to keep fueling that. It moves right into this idea, this old idea of a manifest destiny. And then you leap into the 21st century where there are still people who believe, as in the Project for the New American Century, that it has to be that America must rule the world, that it is our destiny. I mean, that is such old thinking, but that’s where we are.

…..I see the world as one. I think that human unity is the truth that surrounds all of us. And when we start separating ourselves, and we engage in this polarized thinking, polarized thinking is a precursor of war……….  I’ve gone away from the orthodoxy which is now part of politics that says, well, keep that war going for whatever reason. We’re going to beat the Russians. We’re going to beat the Chinese. What? We’re beating ourselves.

………. NATO  has become now a kind of sock puppet for Western powers, notably my own dear country the United States. 

….from 2014 how the US engineered a coup and knocked out the Ukrainian government and put in one that would serve the US interest, which was to nullify the power of the constituency in Eastern Ukraine, which was Russian-speaking. 

And they wanted to basically, by any means necessary, keep that out of influencing the policies of the region, which they did. I mean, 14,000, by some estimates, Russian-speaking Ukrainians were killed from 2014 until 2021. Most Americans have no idea about that.

But anyhow, once the US, once the intelligence started to say, hey, we can knock Russia out like that, okay? We’ll crush Russia economically. These sanctions are going to put Russia away. And the EU bought into it. What’s the result? Well, the war goes on. But in the meantime, the sanctions have created a dramatic increase in the cost of energy. Plus they blew up the pipeline. That’s another increase in the cost of energy.

…… This is going to cause a lot of problems with the EU. And NATO is there as a cat’s paw for war………  they’re paying an economic price right now for the misjudgment of the European officials who were coaxed into it by the US.

….. And this ends up being a nightmare. Not only for Europe though, but we’re getting visited with it somewhat here. 

……………………. suddenly Ukraine becomes a bloodbath of a chess board where these innocent people are just being used as pawns in a game of nations. 

Chris Hedges:  Let’s talk about the press, because you spoke about going back to your constituents as an anti-war candidate and feeling blowback. But isn’t that because, essentially, we have a press that has locked out anti-war critics?

Dennis Kucinich…………………………………. And so, I’ve seen this dynamic before. And the media, we have a heavily mediated society, even more so today than 20 years ago. And we also know that the government can have legions of people working computers, sending out messages that praise those who are for the war and attack those who aren’t. We’re living in a hall of mirrors here when it comes to trying to find out what is really going on……………. , I’m also concerned that things could spin out of control, even now with respect to Russia, with respect to China, North Korea. And what a tragedy…………

Chris Hedges:  I want to ask about these pimps of war, these shills for war……  now they’re beating the drums, of course, for endless war with Ukraine. It doesn’t matter how mistaken they were in the past, they are perpetuated, their think tanks are perpetuated. They never lose their purchase on the cable talk shows. You’ve dealt with these people. I know some of them, Abrams and others. They are truly human mediocrities. And I would include the generals like Petraeus and others.

Dennis Kucinich:  …………. Well, if there ever was a country that was in need of a process of truth and reconciliation, it’s America. 

…………..  What Gore Vidal calls the United States of Amnesia just takes place, where people forget the mistakes. Not mistakes, the misdeeds of the past. And unless we have some measure of accountability we’re always going to be wearing the stain of war waged against innocent people around the globe.

……………………………… We should also be clear, we’ve lost almost all these wars going back to Vietnam, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

That was Dennis Kucinich, former presidential candidate, served eight terms in the House of Representatives before the Democratic Party pushed him out. I want to thank the Real News Network and its production team: Cameron Granadino, Adam Coley, and Kayla Rivara. You can find me at chrishedges.substack.com.  https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-chris-hedges-report-show-with-346

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December 18, 2022 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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