We’re told we must listen to our experts. We’re ridiculed when we don’t. But who is an expert? Who gets to say who an expert is? What is an expert?
We’re told Four-Star General William Westmoreland was an expert. But he told us “I am absolutely certain that, whereas in 1965 the enemy [North Vietnam] was winning, today he is certainly losing.”
We’re told Four-Star General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of State Colin Powell is an expert. But he told us, in a dog and pony show at the United Nations, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
We’re told that Provost of Stanford University, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is an expert. But she told us “Iraq has a high-level political commitment to maintain and cancel its weapons”.
We’re told that Congressman, Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, and Vice President Dick Cheney is an expert. But he told us that, if we invaded Iraq and killed its President, we would be “greeted as liberators”.
We’re told the 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives are experts. But they told us in a near-unanimous Joint Resolution that “the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated”.
How do our experts become experts? We declare them to be our experts. We give them credentials that prove their expertise. We gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Barak Obama. He’s our expert who dropped tens of thousands of bombs on more than half a dozen nations that did not pose an imminent threat to us — something he himself declared unconstitutional.
We should pause, remember, think, ask questions. Are our experts experts? Why do we listen to them? At what cost, do we listen to them?
Our experts sent 58,000+ of our loved ones to wage war against Vietnam and die. Our experts sent 3,500+ of our loved ones to wage war against Afghanistan and die. Our experts took trillions dollars from us and gave our money to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics in exchange for big, bad-looking worthless weapons that make the weapons of Vietnam and Afghanistan look like sticks and stones.
Which side are our experts on? President Dwight D. Eisenhower answered that question in his Farewell Address on January 17, 1961:
“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 State house, 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 ignore the answer from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower fondly was known as “Ike”. “I like Ike” was his campaign slogan. And there can be no doubt about his military bona fides. As the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II, he planned and implemented the D-Day Normandy landings. He was the Military Governor of the American Occupation Zone in Germany. He was Chief of Staff of the Army. He was General of the Army, a Five-Star General.
Ike’s professional and personal life was the military. He was military personified. Yet, he risked the comfort of his entire personal and professional world by warning us about the military-industrial complex — something only he could see as the threat it is.
Why do we ignore his answer?
The military-industrial complex has killed and wounded countless of our loved ones. It’s taken our treasure away from the needs of our inner cities and infrastructure.
And now it forces us to listen to the Speaker of the House of Representatives tell us “The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and the actions he has taken”, as, at the same time, we become embarrassed and saddened and angry as we watch our military experts hand over our first-class military arsenal to another tribal nation that just defeated us.
Do you wonder why our military experts wage wars for reasons that we can’t understand? Do you wonder why our military experts lack the expertise to win a war? Do you wonder what winning means, in the context of the wars we’ve been waging for the last twenty years?
I don’t wonder. Ike answered all these questions for me. I like Ike.