It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people.--Joseph Story
A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny.-Patrick HenryGlenn Greenwald expresses very similar sentiment to these in his piece Endless War and the culture of unrestrained power, in particular:
What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.--Elbridge Gerry
Those who wield true political authority as part of an empire are vested with immense power over other people, but those who exercise that authority as part of wars are more powerful still. That kind of power not only attracts warped authoritarians and sociopaths like moths to light, but it also converts -- degrades -- otherwise normal people who come to possess it. That's not a new development, but rather as old as political power itself.The founders warned of what would happen when standing armies were established. President Eisenhower warned about unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex. Yet, that has happned despite the warnings
There is nothing more dangerous than allowing militaristic power to be exercised without accountability: without oversight, without transparency, without consequences for serious wrongdoing. Yet this is exactly the state of affairs that prevails in the United States. It's also why there are few things more deeply irresponsible, vapid and destructive than forcing citizens, activists, and journalists to retreat into what has become a Permanent Election Mode.
This system of perpetual electioneering transforms people into partisan cheerleaders who refrain from aggressively criticizing the party that is slightly less awful out of fear that the other party might win an election 14 months away, even when their own party is the one in power. Renouncing the duty of holding accountable political leaders who exercise vast power makes one directly responsible for the abuses they commit.
Ponder this thought:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''And remember what President Eisenhower said:
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.But, it is time that the people regained their freedom from the serfdom of the rich and the masters of war.