The Myth of US Civilian Government
It’s not so unusual for people to live under an undemocratic regime where the military plays a big role in deciding and setting long term goals, where elected political leaders serve to maintain the continuity and help enforce those long term military plans, irrespective of the wishes of the people. What is unusual is for a large section of the population to not know it. That of course speaks to the level of sophistication and tremendous success of the U.S. propaganda, which is arguably second to none.
A major claim made by the U.S. government is that it’s a civilian democracy, which is false on both accounts. I have written at length previously on why it’s not a democracy, even based on their own definition. The role of money in politics and elections and the private ownership of mass media by the same corporations that practically rule over the nation, decide its politics and set the policies, are only a part of the story – the most obvious part of why it can’t be called democracy. But, what’s even less discussed or understood is that it can’t be truly called a civilian government, either, due to the significant role the military plays in governance.
Many, if not most, Americans know that a significant portion of the national budget – more than any other type of spending – is dedicated to military and how that spending is almost as big as that of all the other nations of the world, combined. Many may even realize that even if the U.S. cut its military to a fraction of what it is now, no nation or coalition of nations would dare attack it. Many may also have come to realize that the U.S. military posture around the world is only offensive and never defensive and that such incredible and massive firepower indeed can’t be about defense, but about world domination whose beneficiaries are a tiny minority of Americans – the colloquial 1%. Many are also coming to see the militarized urban police that view the poor and minorities as “the enemy”, to be an extension of the military, ready to take on the domestic population, just as the military does people overseas, and even that distinction is getting blurred everyday. But, what’s also important to understand is what this means or does to democracy and the idea of the will or interests of the majority, or to civilian rule.
What the deeds of this government in the past 150 years and especially since World War II have made sufficiently clear – not to mention the biggest genocide in human history against the natives, slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, police brutality against and incarceration of people of African origin – is that it’s very much a military government run by military personnel and based on military principles and long term military objectives. Civilian presidents who get into the White House become the “Commander in Chief”, which gives the impression of a civilian leadership, but it’s not the individual president or his cabinet that makes long term and key geopolitical decisions. Those decisions are made long before he steps foot in the White House and even before he becomes a candidate. Some of these plans are made even generations before him. The decisions he makes are framed and constrained within the long term plans that have been set in motion with long term economic and political objectives and executed with the help of the military, without which the economic and political objectives can’t be realized. This in turn elevates the significance and role of the military in the decision making process which ends up dictating its requirements and considerations to ensure meeting of the hegemonic goals of the military-industrial empire, which has come to rely on its military power for realization of its imperial plans. By being the enabler of the political and economic objectives and plans, the military considerations and plans take prominence and box civilian leadership within those plans. After all, it’s not workers or students or teachers or nurses or single working moms or those concerned with the environment who advise the president on policy; it’s the military and National Security advisors, when he’s not swarmed and pressured by corporate lobbyists. It’s the CIA that briefs him every morning working constantly to destabilize governments and advance corporate agenda.
Wars and military aggression thus become the norm, regardless of which of the two corporate parties wins the corporate sponsored elections. Where corporations want to go, the military is sent to pave the way and stands guard so the Exxon-Mobiles and GE’s and J.P. Morgans and the Monsantos can set up shop and profit. The two parts of this military-corporate complex work in concert so the American 1% can get even richer than it already is, at the expense and detriment of not only people overseas but also people here.