Why is there so little U.S. protest against military spending?
Crowds of protesters have taken to the streets when police killed innocent black people or to protest the Supreme Court's decision to restrict abortion rights. However, almost no one protests against the roughly one trillion dollars given to the military-industrial complex, to pursue the illegal and immoral foreign wars of the United Stares. Why? The answer is money. Protest is silenced by money.
The trillion dollar silencer
Recently Joan Roelofs published a book entitled “The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States” (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022). In this book, she points out that the U.S. military-industrial complex has located military bases in regions where the local economy is entirely dependent on them. The vast river of money flowing into the pockets of the military-industrial complex implies that very many people earn their living, directly, or indirectly, from the manufacture or use of weapons.
Arms for Ukraine
Why is there bipartisan support for sending many billions of dollars worth of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, thus gradually escalating the war into an extremely dangerous proxy war between Russia and the United States together with its NATO allies? The great danger is that the escalation of the conflict will result in nuclear war. However, politicians from both U.S. political parties are so blinded by nationalism that they believe the risks to be necessary in order to “weaken Russia”, thus asserting American global hegemony.
Eisenhower's farewell address
Here is a quotation from Eisenhower's famous speech:
Now 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, and 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.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Riverside Church speech
Here is an excerpt from his long speech:
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, and whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the -- for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours...
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.
Just one year after making this speech, Dr. King was assassinated.