Tonight at 8 o’clock the CBC is showing Eugene Jarecki’s documentary, Why We Fight [trailer], a meditation on the American war machine.
The film is inspired by Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential farewell speech from January of 1961.
A quote from this speech:
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. […]
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 Statehouse, 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.”
We are reminded, near daily, that we are fighting for freedom, democracy, and ultimately peace.
We are asked to support our troops, without ever questioning their actions.
Our leaders preach an overly simplistic “us=good them=evil” ideology (see: dualism), appealing to fear, prejudice, and patrotism to win our support.
As responsible global citizens we must see through this rhetoric.
We must always question Why We Fight.