“Steel in Our Ship of State”


Obama and the Military Industrial Complex

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.

President Obama’s speech, August 31st, 2010.

How many fantasies and collective national delusions did Obama perpetuate in his last paragraph?  Will the right-wing now be satisfied with such 19th century imagery?  Does this satisfy their manly desires of the warriors being the core of our national identity?

The troops give us confidence?  The young men and women we tattered for years and then we brought them back home broken and discarded.  We used them at their best, then we abandoned them to physical and mental disabilities.  An economy that cannot employ them and give their families a glimmer of a life their grandfathers enjoyed after WWII.

The difference is that the “steel” he talks of is used, spent.  Our troops are a mirror of how we use our citizenry and then discard them into a pile of used materials– like the iron scrap heaps of broken cars that we ship off to China we see on the highways.

Where are the better days?  1.2 Trillion of our treasure thrown at a mistake.  Something this President opposed and now he sits with the flag and the pictures of his children creating the imagery that his opponents want to hear.  They want the old imagery of heroism, steel and ships in rough waters supported by warriors.

This paragraph establishes  the chilling  Eisenhower warning about  the military industrial complex as reality.   Maybe these words are used to give a people being tossed around in rough seas some glimmer of dignity.  But it’s a  false dignity that is used to just satisfy the machine of militarism.   The troops are just a ploy to give the monster a human face.

In truth, our steel lies in many other places and in this day in age, what holds society is not 19th century anachronism, steel.    And yes, the speech writers can produce this imagery for those who are pining for American exceptionalism.   What did we learn as a nation? Many things, but history, politics and interests will mask what we learned.  Sugar coat it in sweet language.

We come home defeated and wrong, but yet we engage in flowery language and continue the political fanfare that put us into this war.  What did we prove?  We can win wars in no time.  But, we can never win an occupation.  We destroyed all civil society of Iraq. We destabilized the region, Iran, is now more powerful.  But, we lie to ourselves.

We allowed a group of extremists , the Neo-Conservatives , to carry out their theories.  Our elected politicians stood by and let it happen.  We as a nation let it happen.  Our media did not ask questions.  And now we make ourselves better cause we will turn the page.

Who will pay for this mistake?  The young men and women who came home with broken bodies and souls.  The Iraqi people who lost their lives, homes and all their way of life.  Yet, our President uses the flowery language to paint a picture of collective national delusion based on 19th century imagery.

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1 Comment

Filed under American Politics, Culture and Society, Middle East

One response to ““Steel in Our Ship of State”

  1. Linda Anne Chancler

    I have come to really respect the chilling prescience of Eisenhower. The tea bagger types are so ignorant they don’t realize that they (and their children) are the cannon fodder for the neo-cons. Those of us who could read the proverbial writing on the wall after 9/11 still couch our knowledge and convictions in niceties even as we watch a President we happily elected become some sort of a Stepford President. How else to explain how “health care reform” became a windfall for the insurance companies. Oh, they won’t be able to deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions but won’t be able to afford to pay what they’ll charge you. These wars have resulted in uncountable death and suffering, and for what? Nothing has changed and many things are worse than before.

    With so much information available to so many, you would think that our citizens would be outraged, but that isn’t the case. The generation that reaped the benefits of the boom years are retired, their children raised they no longer care to support the school systems where they live now. Their selfishness extends to health care too, though they are happily cashing social security checks and signing up for medicaire they happily deny government sponsored health care for everyone else. They sit in their homes listening to Rush LImbaugh every afternoon, nodding their heads in agreement, conveniently forgetting that their pensions and lifestyle was won and fought for many of them by union leaders supported by the Democratic party.

    Our success as a nation is no longer assured. On so many measures we fall short already. We treat our children and elderly abysmally. The only thing we rank highest in is our weaponry and ability to intimidate.