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A political system influenced greatly by a large, permanent military force

Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military capability and to use it aggressively to expand national interests and/or values. Examples of modern militarist states include the United States, Russia and Turkey. It may also imply the glorification of the military and of the ideals of a professional military class and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state".

Notable Topics

  • Army, Standing - A permanently established army of paid or conscripted soldiers and other military personnel
  • Military Industrial Complex - The U.S. military "establishment": the armed forces and the companies and politicians that depend on them


Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Oct 1956
Summarizes highlights of the 1956 presidential race, thanking Adlai Stevenson for calling for an end to the draft and nuclear weapons tests, and various proposals about repealing the income tax
The most heartening feature: Stevenson's resurrection of a lost issue in America—the draft. Those who object that Adlai will not really end the draft miss the point—for the first time since 1941 we do not simply accept the draft as an act of God. It rings once again as an issue ... For this service, Stevenson deserves our thanks ... Ending the H-bomb tests would not only slow down the cruel armament race; it would stop poisoning the atmosphere with deadly radiation, a poison that endangers the future of the human race itself. Why spread such destruction in peacetime?
Related Topic: Taxation
An American Empire! If You Want It instead of Freedom, Part 1, by Richard M. Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Apr 2003
Examines Garet Garrett's 1952 essay "The Rise of Empire" and contrasts it with Charles Krauthammer's "The Unipolar Moment Revisited" and his concept of "unilateralism"
Civil society places the dignity and privacy of the individual at the center of social affairs. Commerce and trade are the peaceful and voluntary means and methods by which people interact for mutual improvement of their lives. The military mind, on the other hand, imposes hierarchy and control over all those under the direction of the commander in chief. The successful pursuit of the "mission" always takes precedence over the individual and his life. And Empire, by necessity, places increasing importance on military prowess and presence at the expense of civilian life ...
The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Freedom Daily, May 2006
Criticizes the use of the word "isolationist" by the media, "internationalists" and other foreign intervention promoters, looking at the heritage of noninterventionism as exemplified by Washington's Farewell Address
The United States [in 1793] had a relatively small armed force, which many Americans nonetheless viewed as expensive and dangerous in peacetime. Americans had inherited a suspicion of militarism from their British friends who had supported them in the American Revolution. Those maverick Englishmen celebrated the Whig tradition, which had defeated the Stuart kings in two civil wars. The Stuarts lost, in part, because of their fondness for standing armies in peacetime.
As We Go Marching / America's Emerging Fascist Economy / Toward a Planned Society, by Walter E. Grinder, Libertarian Review, Aug 1976
Review of the books As We Go Marching by John T. Flynn, America's Emerging Fascist Economy by Charlotte Twight and Toward a Planned Society by Otis L. Graham, Jr.
In Twight's book there is inexplicably not one mention of the Pentagon, of the WIB, of the OPA, of military expenditures and contracts, or of national security management. ... It is militarism that places increasing power in the hands of the government to better control the economy. It is militarism that can most easily be used as a cover to create and maintain government jobs. It is militarism that can, with most political acceptability, be used for purposes of Keynesian pump-priming. It is militarism that permits the State to become, in Twight's words, a full-fledged 'market surrogate.'
Blueprint for Dictatorship, by Justin Raimondo, 30 Apr 2007
Describes how the Defense Authorization Act, the Military Commissions Act and changes to the Insurrection Act could be used to impose martial law in the United States
This use of the military to enforce domestic order is a new development in American history, one that augurs a turning point not only in terms of law, but also in our evolving political culture. Such a measure would once have provoked an outcry – on both sides of the aisle. When the measure passed, there was hardly a ripple of protest: the Senate approved it unanimously, and there were only thirty-something dissenting votes in the House. Added to the Military Commissions Act, this new brick in the wall of domestic repression creates the structure of a new imperial system on the ruins of the old constitutional order.
Bush's Wartime Dictatorship, by Justin Raimondo, 21 Dec 2005
Examines Bush's claims regarding secret surveillance, the militarism and fascism underlying his regime and the lack of an effecive opposition
This doctrine of presidential supremacy is derived, in substance and style, from the unrestrained militarism of the regime. That we are now in a state of permanent war requires that our government undertake a perpetual war on what is left of our civil liberties. Given the nature of this conflict with a formless, stateless enemy, more a concept than a combatant, there is no longer any division between the "home front" and the struggle against the worldwide Islamist insurgency, between domestic and foreign policy. That the antiwar opposition ... will wind up being treated as "the enemy" should surprise no one.
The Bush Torture Memos, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines how the Bush Justice Department and the Pentagon twisted legal interpretations to absolve themselves of charges of torture in dealing with "enemy combatants" in the "war on terror"
Another memo that leaked out in June 2004 was the [Pentagon's] ... This ... report — drawing heavily on the Bybee memo — helped establish interrogation policies for U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere ... The Pentagon insisted that unless Congress specifies in a law that the president will be banned from committing specific crimes, he is presumed to be exempt from any limitation during wartime ... The Pentagon updated American military morality, explaining why the principles of the Nuremberg war crimes trials may not apply if soldiers claim that they were "following orders."
The Danger Is Intervention, Not "Isolation", by Sheldon Richman, 29 May 2014
Reflects on pronouncements by President Obama (at West Point) and Defense Secretary Hagel (at a Chicago foreign affairs forum) on Americans turning more "isolationist"
[Defense Secretary Chuck} Hagel said that withdrawing from the world would have a high cost. Has he checked lately on what military and political engagement is costing the taxpayers? The full cost of the military alone is over a trillion dollars a year. The U.S. government spends more on this than most of the rest of the world combined ... The butcher's bill and the money price cannot be tolerated. America's record of death, injury, and destruction has on net created enemies. The gross cultural and economic distortions from worshipful militarism have yet to be calculated.
Democracy: The God That Failed, by Justin Raimondo, 12 Oct 2005
Discusses the actual results from the so-called Bush Doctrine involving "democratizing" the Middle East as well as several other countries which have a "democracy deficit"
Chalmers Johnson, the trenchant critic of American militarism, has characterized the U.S. as an "empire of bases," and what we are witnessing is the extension of this global system of linked launching pads for American military intervention from Kyrgyzstan to Ukraine to Iraq. This ... is our real foreign policy objective. Ukraine is preparing to enter NATO, so that Western troops and weaponry will soon be poised 15 minutes from Moscow. Iraq, too, is the future site of permanent U.S. military bases, and there are ample signs that we are already digging in for the long haul.
Divestment Works, by Jim Davidson, The Libertarian Enterprise, 21 Jun 2009
Praises Richard Maybury but criticizes some of his investment advice, recommending instead that one should not invest in military and defense-related stocks in order to stop the "death merchants"
My concern ... is that the military is slaughtering civilians all over the world. MAGS is an Israeli military contractor ... and the Israelis have been quite aggressive about slaughtering unarmed non-combatants ... When you invest in the military, you signify your desire for more of it. If enough people invest, you get more of it ... The answer is to divest. Stop investing in the military. Withhold your support. Don't send your children into the military. Stop investing in the death merchants. Sell your defense contractor stocks. Resolve never to buy them again.
Related Topics: Business, Richard J. Maybury, War
Eisenhower Was Right, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 16 Feb 2004
Comments on the announcement of a 30,000 person increase in U.S. military, not authorized by Congress, but under "emergency" power by the Secretary of Defense and reflects on the wisdom of Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the military-industrial complex
The ... Army’s chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told the House Armed Services Committee that he is going to increase the size of U.S. forces by 30,000. Did Congress authorize the increase? No. And when a few congressmen indicated to the general that they'd be pleased to have Congress authorize the increase, the general responded that Congress didn't need to trouble themselves with providing such authority — that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had already authorized the temporary increase under his "emergency" power — and that the "emergency" would justify the increase for the next four years.
Farewell Address, by George Washington, 19 Sep 1796
Full title: The Address of General Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States
Published in the American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia
While then every part of our country ... must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and Wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries, not tied together by the same government; which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments & intriegues would stimulate & imbitter. Hence likewise they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown Military establishments, which under any form of Government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty ...
Related Topic: Foreign entanglements
Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, by Paul Gottfried, The Freeman, Nov 1995
Review of Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, edited by Gregory P. Pavlik and published by FEE
Flynn has been proven right in his view of the military in the modern welfare state, as a microcosm of social experimentation. Revenues raised for conscripted armies have been used throughout the century to support and render dependent on government much of the young male population; the military has also been a laboratory for creating a population subservient to public administration, which has made itself into a new voice of authority. Flynn rightly notes that military expansion in Imperial Germany was favored not by the Prussian aristocracy, but by the advocates of a powerful modernized German state, including socialists.
Give Me Liberty [PDF], by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
In America we do not have even universal military training, that basis of a social order which teaches every male citizen his subservience to The State and subtracts some years from every young man's life, and has thereby weakened the military power of every nation that has adopted it ... As Stalin said at Teheran, American capitalist production is winning this world war. The men unprepared and untrained for war have the economic and military energy that defeats in war the most socialized of all peoples, well trained for war by compulsory military service.
The GOP, RIP, by Justin Raimondo, 8 Sep 2006
Ponders the status of the Republican Party prior to the 2006 mid-term elections and after nearly six years of the George W. Bush presidency
Their policies discredited ... the neocons retreated ... and regrouped to fight another day. The first stage ... would catapult them to the opposite side of the political spectrum – but without, of course, in any way altering their core principle: devotion to the cult of the war god. Militarism, not only as a foreign policy but as the organizing principle of the domestic order, is the central doctrine of the neoconservative creed, and they have never betrayed it no matter what their party registration. The neocons, in their takeover of what used to be the conservative movement, have Prussianized the GOP.
In Afghanistan, They Died for No Good Cause, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Dec 2013
Critiques an exchange by NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on the rationale for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan
Seriously? The most important part of the calculation as to whether the U.S. military will continue to occupy Afghanistan is what American military personnel have lost in the past 12 years? In the business world, that's called throwing good money after bad. In economics, it's known as sunk costs. The past is gone. Any action is future-oriented. The right question is, What would be the consequences of continued military occupation? Additional killing and dying will not bring back the dead or restore lost time, nor will it make the losses worthwhile.
Related Topics: Afghanistan, Middle East
Iraqi Sanctions and American Intentions: Blameless Carnage? Part 1, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Jan 2004
Examines the effects of the destruction of Iraqi infrastucture during the 1990-91 Gulf War, the subsequent UN sanctions and the "oil for food" program
A Washington Post analysis published on June 23, 1991, noted that Pentagon officials admitted that, rather than concentrating solely on military targets, the U.S. bombing campaign "sought to achieve some of their military objectives in the Persian Gulf War by disabling Iraqi society at large" and "deliberately did great harm to Iraq's ability to support itself as an industrial society." The bombing campaign targeted Iraq's electrical power system, thereby destroying the country's ability to operate its water-treatment plants ... The U.S. military understood the havoc the 1991 bombing unleashed.
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq
The Iraq War Crash, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Mar 2007
Discusses a 9% drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 27 Feb 2007, which also affected other markets, in the context of the Iraq War and a potential conflict with Iran
Bush is demanding $716 billion for his "defense" budget, which, as one news report described it, is "greater than the annual gross domestic product of all but 14 countries." ... Which brings to mind Madeleine Albright's infamous scolding of Colin Powell, which had her saying: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Well, I hope Madame Albright is satisfied: these days, our formerly superb military is getting a lot of use, and there are growing indications that the Bush administration is preparing to use it against Iran.
Is Capitalism Why We Fight?, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 6 Apr 2006
Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
["Why We Fight"] deserves credit because it seriously tries to discuss what is arguably the most important issue of our time: the militarization of America, a nation that once had a strong, classical liberal, anti-militarist tradition. Still, the documentarians, in true American fashion, do not want to go deep into how this militarization of America came about, a militarization that showed itself even before the feature started when the spare audience at my movie house was treated to—you guessed it—an ad for why everyone should join the National Guard.
It Came From Washington, by Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, 29 Jun 2012
Examines U.S. government adversarial actions towards Russia and China through NATO, in the Middle East and in the Pacific
For a country incapable of occupying Iraq after 8 years and incapable of occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, to simultaneously take on two nuclear powers is an act of insanity. The hubris in Washington, fed daily by the crazed neocons, despite extraordinary failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, has now targeted formidable powers–Russia and China. The world has never in its entire history witnessed such idiocy. The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.
Killing Iraqi Children, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 19 Jun 2006
Comments on a Detroit News editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
The military mindset is totally different from the police mindset. Assume that there is a suspected terrorist hiding among 10 innocent people. How would the military and the police deal with that situation? The military would not chance the suspected terrorist's escaping or his killing a soldier in a gun battle. As we have seen in the al-Zarqawi killing, the military would simply drop a bomb on the suspect, even knowing that the innocent people around him would also be killed. In the mind of the military, the "collateral damage" would be worth it, even if it included children.
Mission Creep: US Military Presence Worldwide, Mother Jones, 22 Aug 2008
An interactive map showing the buildup of U.S. forces around the globe since 1950, with details on 2007 levels
Mission Creep in Iraq, by Sheldon Richman, 21 Aug 2014
Examines how the initial Aug 2014 "humanitarian" intervention in Iraq, following the Sinjar massacre, keeps morphing into something bigger
There are several reasons not to intervene militarily in another country's conflict, even modestly. One is the potential for mission creep. We already could detect the signs of mission creep in Iraq ... The safe bet is that the mission in Iraq will continue to grow. Few people believe that airpower alone will defeat the justly abhorred Islamic State or that the Iraqi military can get the job done on the ground. So Obama could be tempted to up the ante in order to prevent any touted gains from being squandered. Mission creep is only one reason why intervention in foreign wars is never a good idea.
Related Topics: Iraq War, Barack Obama
The Myth of War Prosperity, Part 2, by Anthony Gregory, Freedom Daily, Jan 2007
Main part of the review of Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy (2006) by Robert Higgs
Running through the book from beginning to end is a deep analysis of the many facets of the U.S. warfare-state economy ... Higgs scrutinizes the tendency of Congressional "pork hawks" to funnel large sums of tax dollars to pet projects for electoral purposes, even when the Pentagon itself has not requested such lavish expenditures ... Higgs and Kilduff suggest that, while spending tends to go up and down with public support for militarism, we can probably suspect public opinion itself to be influenced considerably by politicians motivated, independent of popular interest, to promote militarism.
Non-Marxist Theories of Imperialism, by Alan Fairgate, Reason, Feb 1976
Examines writings of critics of imperialism that are not based on Marxist analysis
Another early critic of the permanent war economy was Arthur A. Ekirch in The Decline of American Liberalism ... and The Civilians and the Military ... In these books Ekirch traced the decline of classical liberalism and of the antimilitarist spirit in the United States, culminating in an unprecedented peacetime militarization of both government and economy. Considerably ahead of the New Left critics of the 1960's, Ekirch pinpointed the emergence and consolidation of a vast military-industrial complex which required a progressive abandonment of laissez-faire economic policies.
North Korea's Nukes: Why Now?, by Justin Raimondo, 11 Oct 2006
Comments on the first North Korean nuclear test and the political prospects for the Korean peninsula, considering also China and the United States
The reason ... is ... because Washington adamantly refuses to end its 50-year-plus military occupation of the South ... [F]or internal political reasons, as well as the economic interests of base-building military contractors, the American occupation has continued as part of the U.S. "forward" stance in the Pacific and around the world. ... What brought us to this moment is our refusal to recognize that the costs of global hegemony are far greater than the alleged benefits, including the dubious "benefit" of maintaining expensive and militarily unnecessary bases on the far frontiers of Empire.
Obama and King, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 Aug 2013
Contrasts Martin Luther King Jr.'s April 1967 speech condemning the Vietnam War with Obama's actions (planning to bomb Syria) on the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech
This sort of radical analysis was rare among Vietnam War opponents, who preferred mostly to talk of policy blunders and miscalculations, rather than criminal opportunism ... "Our only hope today," he said, "lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism." King had been pressured not to denounce the war, but he ignored that advice. How could he preach nonviolence at home, he asked, while remaining silent about "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government"? How, indeed?
Related Topics: Corporatism, Vietnam, Vietnam War
Obama's Willful Foreign-Policy Blindness, by Sheldon Richman, 30 May 2013
Analyzes President Obama's 23 May 2013 speech at the National Defense University, later comments on Memorial Day and the reactions from Republicans
Despite Obama's acknowledgement of the dangers ... of perpetual U.S. warfare, one strains to find signs of change in the speech. He says "our response to terrorism can’t depend on military or law enforcement alone," but he still envisions a large role for the military: He says the first order of business is to "finish the work of defeating al Qaeda and its associated forces." And, "Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al Qaeda and its associated forces." But "its associated forces" is a conveniently vague justification for continued U.S. militarism. It goes beyond Congress's 2001 authorization for military force.
On Conscription [PDF], by Daniel Webster, 9 Dec 1814
Condensed from speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, given in opposition to bill proposing conscription during the War of 1812, reprinted in Left and Right in 1965, during the Vietnam War
[This bill] is an attempt to exercise the power of forcing the free men of this country into the ranks of an army, for the general purposes of war, under color of a military service ... The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion ... A military force cannot be raised, in this manner, but by the means of a military force. If administration has found that it can not form an army without conscription, it will find, if it venture on these experiments, that it can not enforce conscription without an army.
Our Patience on Iraq Should Be Exhausted, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Apr 2007
Comments on George W. Bush's request that the 2007 Iraqi troop "surge" be given a chance and on congressional efforts to impose a 2008 withdrawal deadline
President Bush['s] war in Iraq ... must be viewed as one piece of an imperial program that has placed U.S. military bases in 130 countries, according to Chalmers Johnson ... The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mean more permanent bases. Hundreds of thousands of American military personnel are stationed all around the globe. House Republicans denounced the withdrawal deadline by arguing that it would endanger the U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and "around the world." About the only concern one hears expressed about this is that the military is stretched too thin to fight another war, perhaps against Iran.
The Pentagon's Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 28 Feb 2007
Discusses the power to "arrest, torture, and execute" anyone (Amrican citizen or not) claimed to be an "enemy combatant" by the U.S. president and the military, and the shenanigans in the José Padilla case
The president and the Pentagon now wield the omnipotent power to arrest, torture, and execute any American they label an "enemy combatant." ... this power ... has totally upended the relationship of the military and civilian in the United States ... Historically, the U.S. military has lacked the power to arrest, incarcerate, or inflict harm on American civilians ... Today, the Pentagon has the authority, on orders of its commander in chief, to send American soldiers into any neighborhood in the country and take into custody any American citizen and inflict harm on him simply by labeling him an "enemy combatant" ...
"The Police Force Is Watching the People", by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 22 Aug 2014
Argues that the facts are crucial when identifying "the agressor and victim in particular cases" such as occurred in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and separately, that the role of police forces must be re-examined
[W]hatever happened between Wilson and Brown, it cannot justify the military-style reaction of the police and other government personnel in the aftermath. Pointing weapons at and verbally abusing peaceful demonstrators is intolerable ... People rightly decry the obnoxious militarization of even small-town police departments, but the problem is deeper than that. Police forces abused people—particularly black people—long before the Pentagon started giving cities and towns war materiel. Remember those scenes of dogs and firehoses being turned on peaceful civil-rights marchers?
Road to Empire, by Justin Raimondo, 28 Nov 2007
Discusses the "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America" signed on 26 Nov 2007, after the U.S. Congress went into recess
Oh, they may solicit the complicity of the top Democratic leadership ... but essentially they'll do what they have always done in the hundred-plus countries where U.S. troops are currently stationed, and that is negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement, the essential element of which immunizes our soldiers from being prosecuted by local authorities for crimes against the natives. In this case ... the scope of the agreement is a bit more comprehensive ... as well as the "security" factor, i.e., the military details of the continuing occupation, including U.S. troop levels and the construction of permanent American bases.
Searching for America's Next Enemy, by Doug Bandow, Mises Daily, 17 Jul 2006
Discusses attempts by some U.S. conservatives to find a new enemy nation and focuses on China as a "threat"
You may have thought that the end of the Cold War ... meant peace. Think again. Washington must occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, ... and, most importantly, beat back the yellow horde ... Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently suggested that "Since no nation threatens China, one must wonder: Why this growing investment. Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases?" In fact, that question would be better asked by Chinese officials to Secretary Rumsfeld. Who threatens whom? America's increase in military outlays over the last few years alone equals China's entire defense budget.
Related Topics: East Asia, China
The Servile State Revisited, by Joseph Sobran, The Wanderer, 5 Jun 2003
Ponders David Hume's observation as to the ease with which "the many are governed by the few" and positing that in modern society, "the habit of obedience" has been taken too far
To me one of the most dispiriting features of the war on Iraq was the ease with which the State was able to convince millions of productive Americans that this was somehow a war for their freedom. These people, mostly conservative, are simply unable to see the military establishment as a huge and integral part of the bureaucratic State, parasitic on the country's wealth. The military is the one part of "big government" with which conservatives have no quarrel, though every objection to socialism applies to military organization—to the warfare state as well as the welfare state.
Related Topics: Democracy, Law, The State
So What If Freedom Isn't Free?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 31 May 2013
Examines the assertion "Freedom isn't free" from the viewpoint of free will, negative or positive rights, resource scarcity and common usage
The last time I heard ["freedom isn't free"] I had just condemned military conscription—the draft—as slavery. It's also brought out to rebut those who refuse to support any given war, the globe-girdling military American establishment, or the pervasive and distorting military-industrial complex ... In practice, invoking [the phrase] is merely a way to avoid having to discuss how the government uses the military and commandeers resources for foreign adventures. We're supposed to believe that any commitment of troops to a battlefield constitutes protection of freedom and that's all there is to it.
The Threat of Militarism, by Karen Kwiatkowski, 9 Jul 2006
Presentation to Global Scholar seminar, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia; discusses "the nature of modern United States foreign policy" while reflecting on what Eisenhower, Smedley Butler and Mark Twain said and wrote
Greed and gluttony in big government contractors is understandable. But when the last remaining materially productive enterprise in America is the defense and security sector, and when it is only from those sectors that high-paying American jobs are created and sustained, then the greed and gluttony of Americans themselves is harnessed with that of politically connected weapons and war-support companies ... It's all good, you see, to spend this type of money. It means American jobs. All we need is a demand in the marketplace. And sometimes, Congress and a President can also help with some of that "creation of demand."
Trivial Dispute: Obama versus the Interventionists, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 May 2014
Examines Barack Obama's speech at the 2014 West Point graduation and points out the scant differences between him and those advocating military intervention, in arguments for continued U.S. meddling in other countries' affairs
Obama's straw man is the interventionist who sees military force as the only or the primary tool in the toolbox. Who actually fits that description? Even Sen. John McCain, who's overly fond of American military power, says the U.S. government should not send troops to Syria or go to war with Russia over Ukraine ... Leaving aside whether what [Obama] calls aggression in any given case really is aggression (what counts for politicians is not what is done, but who does it), the only way for the U.S. military to be drawn into a situation is if a president sends it in. It is not an act of nature.
The Troops Don't Defend Our Freedoms, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 21 Oct 2005
Examines whether foreign invasion, terrorists taking over the government and the federal government, through the President and its orders to a "loyal and obedient" standing army, are plausible threats to the freedom and well-being of Americans
No nation has the military capability of invading and conquering the United States. Not China, not Russia, ... not North Korea ... Not anyone. To invade the United States with sufficient forces to conquer and "pacify" the entire nation would take millions of foreign troops and tens of thousands of ships and planes to transport them across the Atlantic or Pacific ocean. No foreign nation has such resources or military capabilities and no nation will have them for the foreseeable future ... Imagine the level of military forces that would be needed to conquer and "pacify" a country as large and well-armed as the United States.
The "Value" of Public Schooling, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines public schooling, first comparing it to military boot camp and the draft, then discussing indoctrination in "officially approved" ideas via approved textbooks, and imagining a teacher going against the established doctrines
What is the first thing that the military does to new recruits? ... First comes boot camp, a seemingly nonsensical period of time in which soldiers are ordered to drop down for pushups at the whim of an officer. Soldiers learn to march together in unison, mastering such movements as right-face and left-face. They're taught to respond without hesitation with "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to an officer barking questions a few inches away from their face. Why? ... [N]one of [those things] comes in very handy once the actual fighting begins. The reason is very simple: to mold each person's mindset into one of strict conformity and obedience.
The War of 1812 Was the Health of the State, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 6 Mar 2015
Discusses how James Madison's conduct of the War of 1812 led to changes in American attitudes, including mercantilism, militarism, imperialism and centralization
Madison proposed conscription ... and later a peacetime standing army to the Congress ... Attitudes toward the military also changed for reasons of national and economic security. When Monroe succeeded Madison as president, Weeks writes,
a guiding principle ... in [his] effort to expand American foreign trade concerned the construction and maintenance of a formidable military force. Republicans traditionally had mistrusted large military establishments as subversive of republican institutions. Yet once again, the War of 1812 led to a reevaluation of a basic tenet of the Republican faith.
We Were Warned about the Rise of Empire, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 13 Jun 2014
In light of calls for U.S. re-intervention in Iraq, revisits Garet Garrett's 1952 essay "The Rise of Empire" discussing Garrett's five traits that are "the true marks of Empire" and their applicability to the United States in 2014
One need only look around to see evidence of the "ascendancy of the military mind." Not even a looming fiscal crisis prompts a serious reconsideration of America's far-flung military presence or its putative "interests" everywhere. Reverence for the military intrudes on everyday life; one cannot watch a ballgame or even a televised cooking competition without being subjected to sappy expressions of gratitude for supposed "service to our country." Americans did not always have a worshipful disposition toward the military.
'What Kind of Democracy Is This?', by Justin Raimondo, 23 May 2007
Examines questions about American democracy and militarism posed by professor (and retired Army colonel) Andrew J. Bacevich after the death of his son in combat in Iraq
The militarist aesthetic is a key advertising tool used to market this war, and it is very useful in deflecting any effort to defund it: after all, we have to "support the troops" and our Dear Leader, no matter what folly they're embarked on, and damn the consequences. "Shock and awe," the pretentious habit of giving each of our wars of conquest titles like Operation Iraqi Freedom, and those presidential photo-ops of George W. Bush decked out in uniform and mingling with the troops like a Roman emperor with his praetorians–all this glitz has, until now, served to mask the cruel reality of war ...
Related Topics: Democracy, Democratic Party, War
Why We Fight, by Justin Raimondo, 1 Feb 2006
Detailed review of the 2005 documentary Why We Fight
... we segue into shots of an air show where militarism and entertainment meet and merge. Then a few statistics: the U.S. spends more on the military than all other categories, and, furthermore, spends more than the combined total of the top 10 other military budgets in the world ... A key sub-theme ... is the business of militarism ... dramatized in a series of interviews, shots of military trade shows, and a visit to Raytheon ... The trick in the militarism business, we are told by a Defense Department analyst, is to over-promise the benefits and lowball the costs of any new defense system ...
Without the State, No Troops to Support, by Jeremy Weiland, 6 Mar 2007
Comments on the critics of the 2003 Iraq invasion who qualify their opposition by saying they still "support the troops"
Even for an "antiwar" politician, the military is the final guarantee of order and control, both domestically and abroad. So the only thing worse than opposing the troops is to challenge the special nature of this thing we call "the troops"–to stop treating servicemen and women as some abstract policy artifact and examine their objective human reality ... Every last shred of professed obligation to support the military ... is a coordinated myth designed to trick us all into working together like a big, amoral machine–with policy wonks at the control panel, of course.
Related Topics: The State, War
Would You "Support the Troops" in Bolivia?, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 27 Dec 2006
Discusses U.S. military contracts and the hypothetical case of a soldier objecting to being deployed for an invasion of Bolivia on orders from the President, contrasting it to the real scenario of the 2003 invasion of Iraq
Soldiers who join the military voluntarily sign a very unusual contract with the federal government. It is a contract that effectively obligates the soldier to go anywhere in the world on orders of the president and kill people as part of an invasion force against other countries. It doesn't matter whether the intended victims deserve to die or not. That issue is irrelevant as far as the soldier is concerned. His job is not to question why people he is ordered to kill should be killed; his job is simply to invade and carry out the killing, no questions asked.
Related Topics: Standing Army, Bolivia, Ethics, Iraq War, War

Cartoons and Comic Strips

I'm afraid the situation is dire, gentlemen, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 10 Aug 2015


What's So Bad About The Galactic Empire?, by Sean Malone, 4 May 2017
Analyzes the various Star Wars movies and attempts to answer the title question and conversely what is good about the Rebel Alliance
[T]here's one more terrible thing we know about the Empire from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Reformed Storm Trooper Finn (FN-2187) explains to Rey that he was actually taken from his family as a child, conscripted into the Imperial Army, and trained to be a soldier. That's a form of slavery that many real-world governments have used throughout history. Sadly even the United States government still has the power to draft its citizens into war, though that hasn't happened for decades.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Militarism" as of 26 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.