Militarism in America

jacdon at jacdon at
Wed Nov 20 22:27:07 MST 2002

The following article appears in the Nov. 21, 2002, email edition of the
Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter, published in New Paltz, N.Y., by the
Mid-Hudson National People's Campaign/IAC via jacdon at


Militarism, according to Webster's New World Dictionary, displays
certain characteristics, including  (1) the policy of maintaining a
strong military organization in aggressive preparedness for war, and (2)
the glorification of a military spirit or attitudes in a nation.

One need not search the dictionaries or contemplate the impending war
with Iraq and the bloated "defense" budget to determine whether or not
American society is infected by the scourge of militarism.
Occasionally, just listening to a fairly trivial radio news item will
suffice.  This surely was the case on National Public Radio's "Morning
Edition" broadcast Nov. 20, when a news reader recited an upbeat, cheery
little glorification of how our nation's military leaders cleverly
exploit weather patterns and predictions to determine the best time to
drop bombs or even when to launch a new war.  The Pentagon has such
sophisticated technology, the audience was informed, that it virtually
"owns the weather."

Militarist moments such as this impregnate our entire mass media, and
our society.  Militarism, said the late 19th century reformer Jane
Addams, "can never be made a democratic instrument."  And Martin Luther
King Jr. noted that, "Our only hope today lies in our ability to
recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world
declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism." Helen
Keller went further:  " one of the chief bulwarks of
capitalism, and the day that militarism is undermined, capitalism will

"Militarism," according to the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the
Draft, "is a value system that stresses the superiority of some people
over others. Under militarism, the people deemed inferior are
dehumanized as enemies who must be overpowered by any means necessary.
Those who deem themselves superior are permitted to take whatever they
want from others — land, freedom, natural resources, cultures, lives —
by force."

A non-militarist society studies the weather patterns to determine the
schedule of a picnic or a ballgame, not to destroy another society for
oil and empire.

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