U.S. Cranks Up War Machine


Fifth Estate # 322, Winter-Spring, 1986

Rambo-man Reagan is gearing up the U.S. military machine for an escalation of his wars against the Empire’s pandemic array of enemies. A trident of battle plans was announced from the White House on January 21 which included a decision to seek $100 million additional aid for the murderous Nicaraguan contras, “assistance” to the troops of South African stooge Jonas Savimbi who is trying to oust the Cuban-backed Angolan government, and increased support for Reagan’s doomsday Star Wars system.

Little opposition can be expected from a timid and opportunist Congress whose major concern will be re-election and which lacks the will or guts to stand up to Reagan’s insane crusade against the rest of the world. If any capacity for Congressional resistance to an ever-increasing war budget were possible, the bugaboo of anti-communism is already in place to line up support for whatever the U.S. President requests. With Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev due here this year, the Reagan stance of toughness is projected as the only option within the context of the inter-imperial rivalry. According to Larry Speakes(lies), “The Russians are watching to see if the United States is weak-kneed in any fashion in dealing with the defense budget.”

Perhaps most frightening (unless you happen to live in El Salvador or Nicaragua) is the institutionalization of the nuclear arms race in space. To counter the Soviet’s continual gestures toward peace, Reagan needs to mobilize every last reserve of anti-communist frenzy in order to justify this terrifying escalation of the nuclear arms race the U.S. began in 1945. The Russians don’t need a show of strong support for the U.S. “defense” budget; they’re already worried enough about Reagan to have offered and then extended a nuclear test-ban treaty and to offer a nuclear weapons elimination plan that even His Dimness admits is “interesting.”

Interesting, but not interested. Reagan fears talk of disarmament like Dracula fears the dawn, for it is in preparation for war that his vaunted economic recovery lies. The transfer of public tax funds for the wars in Central America is awesome enough but pales before the intended expenditures for Star Wars. Costs as high as $1.5 trillion are bandied about for a fully-deployed system and with 1,500 contracts in the immediate offing, it takes no great understanding of the situation to see that Eisenhower’s fears have been realized.

Reagan plans to preside over the final conversion of the economy into a total garrison state. It’s not a matter of heeding Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the dangers of the “military-industrial complex” as if it is an entity external to the state and hence subject to its control. Rather, that the state itself has become that very complex of war and production. Now, more than ever, to be against war is to be against the state.

What has been described as a “low-intensity” war against Central America heats up daily. The near $1 billion spent to support the corrupt government of El Salvador now increasingly finances the indiscriminate aerial bombings of civilians in rebel zones, the most extensive such warfare in the history of the hemisphere. In addition, a recent U.S. naval bombardment of rebels indicated a further escalation and a future direction of the war.

In Nicaragua, the gang of National Guard torturers continue their cowardly attacks against civilians on the border regions, but even with all of the U.S. government and extensive private right-wing funding, they can’t topple the Sandinista bureaucracy.

Reagan thinks more money and more weapons will turn the trick, but they will only serve to increase the prospects for a generalized war in the region and the direct involvement of U.S. troops. DON’T REGISTER AND DON’T FIGHT!