ObergComment: Ravaged by its empire and militarism, the US now doesn’t have enough body bags for its own

ObergComment: Ravaged by its empire and militarism, the US now doesn’t have enough body bags for its own

📌 We know that many of our readers would like to see some short, pointed posts here. So, in contrast to the longer, more analytical articles we usually publish – normal for an academic institution – an Oberg Comment is a short text by the editor of The Transnational, Jan Oberg, which alerts you to one or two main points, offers some informative links for self-study or is simply a recommendation or “MustRead/Watch” with lasting educative value. Since they will be max 600 words, they are also easier to use for the media. We hope you will like the format too.

April 21, 2020

Remember this?

It seems that God is saying: “America, you are too arrogant and I will break the backbone of your power!” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


MLK’s strong prophecy came to me today when I read this article in TIME magazine today – “Begging for Thermometers, Body Bags, and Gowns: U.S. Health Care Workers Are Dangerously Ill-Equipped to Fight COVID-19.”

TIME – April 20, 2020

The health care workers have to beg – and people have to die – because their mal-developed country lacks the most basic. It’s a country which, at least since 1945, has created human history’s largest military machine, sees itself as “the policeman of the whole world” – a country that conducted wars virtually every day, built 600+ bases in 130+ countries, deploys its CIA and Special forces virtually everywhere, destroyed societies and killed millions of people around the world in warfare and economic sanctions, a country that kills single individuals it doesn’t like in faraway lands with drones and precision-guided rockets, a country that committed the crime against not only Japan but against humanity when it dropped its nuclear bombs.

A country that never regretted, that never apologized.

Indeed, America, you are too arrogant! And indeed it feels as if God is punishing America now. Even it believes it had God on its side, as Bob Dylan expressed it.

A neurotic country that increasingly sees enemies everywhere and friends nowhere and consumes itself, like a drug addict, with militarism.

That all-mighty country, however, is unable to do one basic thing: to care for the welfare of its own people, particularly the poor, the handicapped, the old, the black, the minorities – the Damned of the Republic and the Empire!

It’s not even able to provide body bags for the mass deaths of its own people. (As I’m writing this, 45 000 Americans have died, 15 times more than on September 11, 2001).

Of course, even a benign America wouldn’t have avoided the effects of the Coronavirus. But much fewer would have died had it cared for its own people, cared for human security.

Someone should be held accountable. Someone is responsible for those perverse priorities. Not single presidents, not even Trump. No, the responsible is the elitist MIMAC – the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and all advocates of nonviolence were right: Those who use violence harm not only others, they harm themselves.

Everybody wants to be friends with the United States, but it doesn’t seem to want to be friends with anyone anymore.

It threatens everyone around the world but no one threatens it.

Militarism has eaten it up from the inside, like a cancer – psychologically, culturally, politically and economically. The US has become the biggest threat to itself.

It is no longer a free country, it’s fearfully dependent on violence in general and militarism in particular. On the drug called ever more power that invariably ends in insecurity and ill-health.

And now dependent on body bags for its own civilians.

I am so grateful to MLK for having been there and prophesizing it.

Grateful that – a lifetime later – we may remember when there were great intellectual and moral leaders in America. Grateful that MLK warned us, although in vain, about what would happen when militarism, empire and warfare were given free hands and suffocated civil society and killed laws and ethics.

In the best of cases, the Coronavirus is the last wake-up call for the United States. This is a terminally ill system and not a matter of who is Presiding over it. Neither Trump nor Biden is able to hear that call and change the destiny.

Sad to say for somebody who has never been anti-American – but admittedly anti-Empire and anti-War – the manifest destiny is now decline and fall until the US becomes a normal country without an Empire and without its Militarism.

Pray that that process doesn’t create an even higher demand for body bags.

If you found this relevant and informative, please reward TFF with the equivalent of a cup of coffee…

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6 Responses to "ObergComment: Ravaged by its empire and militarism, the US now doesn’t have enough body bags for its own"

  1. anaisanesse   May 5, 2020 at 6:52 am

    I am reading this on May 5, 2020 and would like to refer people to “Wall Street on Parade”, a daily newsletter on economic matters which today has a devastating article on what the “Trump administration” is doing to support the big banks and fossil fuel companies in its “Main Street” bailout of billions of dollars. Instead of the small businesses employing HALF of US workers, the huge funds are going to polluting, destructive, wasteful corporations which were already failing (eg the fracking industry and Boeing) whose efforts affect US air and water quality and hit mostly the poor and weak. The destruction of the USA is against the real people and environment- the corporations will probably thrive.

  2. griewank   April 26, 2020 at 8:45 am

    While one is used to the exceptionalist position with violant consequences being cultivated by the Republicans, I am always taken aback by the naivety with which the mantel of the global savior is taken up by seemingly well meaning Democrats. For example, they now worry a lot about Biden’s handsiness with women, but do not once mention let alone discuss his active involment in the slaughter of thousands.
    P.S. It’s “Erich” not “Eric”, out of respect for other peoples funny languages.

  3. JO   April 24, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Dear Hans F. Schweinsberg – many thanks. Erich Fromm has been a go-back-to reference since my younger student days when I read all his books. You are right about inserting “Congressional” in the case of the US. But I use the concept as part of a larger theory that is more applicable to all kinds of countries and, so, don’t use “congressional” about those who don’t have a congress. All governments are ordering the weapons and they are the only purchasers, so it is a monopsonistic market. The question is also whether it is the governments per se who call the shots or they are taken for a ride also by the military and the industries. Anyhow, we both know what we are getting at. My best – Jan

  4. Hans F. Schweinsberg   April 24, 2020 at 11:24 am

    When you write:
    “the responsible is the elitist MIMAC – the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex”, please note: It should be named:
    the Congressional-Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex.
    Each Congressional district is manufacturing military related products.

    A reminder from the
    PAEP Millennium Statement: Minding Our Future

    Sane Thinking in Foreign Policy
    “A sane foreign policy depends on the sanity of the minds who make and support it. Our defense is as sound as our minds are sane. Most people never question the sanity of thoughts which are shared by millions. Yet it is a peculiar fact that men, who in their private affairs think sanely and act morally, in public affairs seem to be swayed by insane modes of thought and to lose their ordinary moral scruples. Yet errors shared by millions do not become truths, any more than immoral acts approved by millions become virtues.”

    Are We Sane? ”The means have become ends. We produce in order to produce; we consume, in order to consume. We talk a lot about freedom, ideals, God—yet the fact is that our main interests are purely material and selfish, that we are in the process of becoming little automatons, each one a little cog in the vast organization machine of production and consumption. Our main interest is to produce things and to consume things—and in the process we ourselves become transformed into things. We make machines which act like men—and we become men who act like machines.” Erich Fromm (1900-1980) Social Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, Humanistic Philosopher

    Best wishes,

  5. F Jahanpour   April 24, 2020 at 9:37 am

    The economic miracle that took place in Japan and Germany was to a large extent due to the fact that they were prevented from spending a lot of money on their militaries. On the other hand, as President Eisenhower warned, the United States established the military-industrial complex which has been the cause of its undoing. It lacks a national health service but has more guns that citizens and spends as much as the rest of the world combined on its military. Let’s hope that this terrible pandemic will awaken ordinary Americans, if not their corporate-backed leaders, to change course and pursue arts of peace rather than the horrors of war.

  6. Bente Petersen   April 24, 2020 at 2:26 am

    So true…


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