The buzz word since 9/11 in the United States and other countries has been terrorism. Everyone who is anybody and even nobody have written a book the subject claiming to be an expert on A. How to combat terrorism and B. How terrorists are created? birthed? triggered? Use what phrase you will but what it boils down in my mind – is every country needs an enemy.
America has become such military state that the question of how it would justify spending such mind boggling amounts on weapons, weapon delivery vehicles and personnel would be difficult. Selling weapons makes a lot of money for the United States as we continue to be the largest arms dealer in the world.
Heck.. we will sell to both sides of a conflict just to make a dollar. In 2006, the United States agreed to sell 10.8 billion in arms to the “developing” world according to a New York Times article written by Thom Shanker on September 30,2007.
The United States current proposed military budget for 2010 is $663.8 according to the Defense.gov press release of May, 07, 2010. The current defense budget stands at $671 billion.
The education budget for 2010-11 was only $127 billion dollars which boils down to basically one sixth the size of the defense budget. These numbers I am throwing around indicate what the focus of the United States government is on – which can be summed up in one word. Power.
Soft Power, Hard Power, Power with chocolate chip cookies and a Slurpee. The US is all about maintaining its interests before that of any other nations – which is part of how a nation state is suppose to function – but with the added idea that its in balance if possible with other nations of the world.
The idea of power is multifaceted – in this case what what I am talking about is access and influence. The United States didn’t have a need for a large armed force to assure access and influence until after World War II and then once that large war machine was built and profitable there was no need not to keep it going. Prior to that the slave trade was mostly carried out by the French and English colonial empires and the United States benefited through trade with the English and French although I am sure there were some American’s who decided to go into the Trans Atlantic Slave trade because of the large profits to be made- the major benefit being that the United States had a free labor force – slaves.
World War II with the massive effort on the home front by women, minorities and the everyone else not shipped off to war created the current economy only to be tweeked slightly upon the return of the men from war – because they wanted their jobs back and America is a patriarchal society – so the ad men went to work to lure the women back to the homes the the idea that what they really wanted was a husband, home and lots of nice new appliances all located in suburbia.
The consumer culture expanded until its so ingrained in our culture, we don’t even question the fact that babies of 1 and 2 years old can be “branded.” Branded meaning that kids as young as 2 years old can be taught through advertising to prefer a specific brand over another. But what does this consumer culture have to do with America creating its own enemy in the form of “terrorists”?