SABERS have been rattling in Persia for nearly 3000 years, so this latest Iran flare-up looks boringly repetitive.
Jews have spent most of their existence around warring empires — it’s where our “You tried to kill us/We survived/Let’s eat!” holidays all come from — beginning with Pesach, the celebration of our birth as a People, escaping from the Egyptian empire. Jewish visions of a better world (e.g., “Nation will not take up sword against a nation, nor will they train for war anymore”; Isaiah 2:4), haven’t stopped anyone from making war, or creating cultures that glorify it.
But maybe we can learn something new if we view the current scenario with fresh eyes.
WW II made the US, a warrior empire. It was less intentional than just where we ended up — as the world’s only nuclear superpower, with influence over vast areas of the globe. We created our “military-industrial complex” to mobilize for WW II, and to never to be caught unprepared for war again.’ And we never dismantled it.
By 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower was warning that the military-industrial complex’s enormous influence threatened to create a “disastrous rise of misplaced power,” and could endanger our liberties and democratic processes.
Only “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” could compel the military-industrial complex to serve America’s peaceful methods and goals.
TODAY, we spend 53% of our federal budget on the military-industrial complex. It provides massive employment — for three million active and reserve military people, and millions more civilians, operates from thousands of US and overseas facilities, and delivers production capacity and revenues for huge national-level projects — from the Internet, interstate highways and satellites, to Navy Seals, renewable energy and international security.