(May 28, 2011) Mr. President Meet Mr. Complex
I bumped into this topic at the Guilford Vermont I-91 rest stop.
I tried to shake it off, but the God I know sort of chastens and hounds and loves you, until you do what he says.
I was stretching my legs and wandered over to a wall of photos honoring those who had been killed in recent wars. There were two photos of each soldier who had given his or her life. The first was of a fresh high schooler smiling and shiny, the second, way serious, and in combat fatigues.
My heart goes out to all you veterans of the past, and also to you all serving in the armed services today on this Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for your service. And for those of you still serving, I pray your lives are protected and fruitful.
We are a country that fled the wars made by the Kings of Europe, and then fought one, to be left alone. Then another to do away with slavery. Then two more to do away with more European evil.
And then the politics and industry and technology of warfare speeded up, and our country became the leader of a world wide arms industry, funded by our tax dollars (and nowadays one corporation gets 29 billion dollars a year). This mash up of the weapons making industries, and politics, and vested business interests and technology, and secret statecraft, all funded by the people's money, alarmed U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. So much so, that before he left office in January of 1961, he prophesied about about the dangers of what has become known as the Military Industrial Complex (MIC):
"This conjuction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new to 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 must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livlihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. ... The potential for a disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
President Eisenhower further warned that "only an alert and knowlegeable citizenry" would have the wisdom to negotiate its need for a legitimate defense and the cause of an ongoing and sovereign freedom ( a freedom worth having so to speak).
Let's look at the historical dates and multitiude of actions in the last fifty years and you can decide for yourselves whether the MIC has something, or anything to do, with what President Eisenhower prophesied:
April 1961- 'Bay of Pigs' invasion, Cuba;
March 1965- Vietnam, 200,000 troops by December of 1965, then Tet Offensive;
1969-70- Escalation, including Cambodia;
August 1990-February 1991 First Gulf War (36 billion$ funded by Saudi Arabia, "Coalition Forces" comes to fore);
November 1994- August of1995: U.S. And NATO attack Serb targets in Bosnia;
October 7, 2001- Afghanistan Invaded;
March 2003- Iraq;
January 2007-Surge in Iraq;
December 2009- Surge in Afghanistan;
April 2011- War against Libya.
What's interesting about these "invasions", "wars", "escalations", "coalition actions", "nation building exercises", "surges", "pro-democracy efforts" and now "humanitarian efforts", is twofold. First, they (save the surge in Iraq) all occurred during a first Presidential term when a leader is most keen on showing strength, and second, they all have given military leadership and corporate weapons manufacturers greater and greater latitude to test, and update, and convince us to pay for, the ever more vast and deadly means of war.
Now we could be just totally cynical and say these wars and such happen in first terms, so that re-elections can happen for second terms. But President Eisenhower's words tell us plainly that there is more to it than the ongoing given of political ambition.
There's a trillion dollars a year going on, and decades of research and development, and international weapons deals, and shifting and maintaining wordlwide political alliances, like the present nine billion dollar foreign aid packages to Pakistan and the use of drones, and other complex stuff that seems to fit together. There's a lot going on, and none of it stops on a dime.
And despite the ever changing political alliances around the world, where friends become enemies and vice versa, there always seems to be a faint and steady drum beat for more war, and bigger defense budgets, for more troops on the ground, for more bases overseas, and to use the stuff of war before it becomes obsolete. This is all done in the name of "national interest", and more recently the idea of exporting our way of life.
This drum beat goes way beyond any party politics, so we can forget about any silly, unrendered Republican or Democratic flavor to it. It's a drum beat unto itself. It's never been seen before in America as Eisenhower said. Fifty years from Eisenhower- "national interest" and the occasional "national defense" has become national offense, all the time, all around the world.
The idea of the Military Industrial Complex is not complex.
It's about the dangers of any government and people getting too politically comfortable and sleepy in purchasing, and maintaining and then using the stuff of war, whether for a good economy, a healthy Wall Street, for our well funded politics, for good jobs at defense contractors, for the national interest, for nation building, for international peacekeeping, or against terrorism. Or whatever value is readily at hand at any given point in time, so that as the wheels of the MIC keep turning (as long as the F-35 gets two engines built by two different corporations).
I'll end with the example of the greatest King of Israel, King Josiah who ruled from 640 through 609 BC (the greatest after King David, anyway). He brought back the national cultic celebration of the Passover out of Egyptian Slavery. He expanded the northern borders of Israel. He wiped out Canaanite idolatry. The book of the law was found in his day. He was all that any man could be.
But, at the end of his thirty year national run, after all the great and faithful things he did for God, back in the day when leaders went into the fray themselves, he personally went looking for war against Egypt-Assyria. He figured to ally his dynasty and nation with the rising nation of Babylon (2Chronicles36,20-22).
"After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egpyt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, "What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own good sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that he will not destroy you."
v. 22 "However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo."
King Josiah not only lost his life for not asking God's will in war, but his disobedience left his sons as the last kings Judah, without any anointing, and soon led off in chains into Babylonian slavery.
And that's not all.
Then God took away the kingship itself- no king for six hundred years, until Jesus came along.
Now I'm not saying the USA has to get a word from the Lord before it acts. It would be great if we operated this way, but that not our history or constitutional set up.
What I am saying is this. For us faithful, and there are many among us 300 million souls, God's will is always more important than our country right or wrong. I'm as patriotic as the next guy, and I thank God for the blessings I have and continue to enjoy in this country, but when it comes to the efficacy of oil and the cost of wars, and who pays and who benefits, and the deaths of our fellow Christians and countrymen pictured at the rest stop, we do need to hear from the Lord, and to follow His will.
And then with that we need to speak up and say what we have heard, just like Eisenhower. Just because we faithful know in part and prophesy in part is no reason to keep silent.
I'm not pretending that I have had a word about every U.S. war as listed above. But look what happened to Israel, the nation was punished in many ways (no king for you, exile, temple destroyed, priests out of Zadokite line, and so on) for the simple fact that they refused to ask what was up in God's world and their nation, both of which were speeding up right in front of their eyes.
We may not be a Christian nation in a legal sense, but make no mistake, that doesn't mean that the God of the bible, of Jesus Christ, of Israel, isn't still the sole sovereign over life and death. It doesn't mean he doesn't have a definite and informed opinion about the ways and means of war, and the ways and means of peace. It doesn't mean he doesn't want everybody to ask him what's up in our world today. It doesn't mean he won't share that info, even with some non faithful folks here on this earth (Neco and Cyrus), the earth he gave all us, the earth that one day will be judged and inherited by some folks.
Shalom on all nations, in the faithful name of Jesus.
PREACHING HOUR TV
TUESDAY EVENINGS - 8:30PM EST
Preaching Hour TV weekly on Cox PATV Channel 15 in Cheshire, Southington and Meriden CT and on VCAM Channel 15 10pm Fridays in Burlington VT.read more...
Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...