What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 59...Dear Mr. President... What exactly are we fighting for?

Day 59
Dear Mr. President,

Since it’s Sunday and also the 3rd of July, I want to talk about the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, and was the only war fought on American soil, which at the time consisted of the thirteen original colonies, with new territories expanding rapidly. The British Government wanted to reform and control the ‘new’ territories, but the American colonists resisted, creating a series of conflicts that resulted in the war. 

I mention this bit of history because just as the ‘New Americans’ wanted to establish and control their own government and destiny… and the same can be said for all of the citizens in the various countries that the US has invaded and is occupying. What is happening now reminds me of what Dwight D. Eisenhower meant in his speech about the Military-Industrial Complex that;  “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

So just how large is our Military Complex, how many bases do we have worldwide? I’ve heard that there are 78 ‘permanent bases,’ which seems like a lot, but I decided to do a little research. I found an interesting article in the Asia Times (of all places), by Nick Turse written in January of 2011, and I quote; “In a world of statistics and precision, a world in which ‘accountability’ is now a Washington buzzword, a world where all information is available at the click of a mouse, there’s one number no American knows. Not the President. Not the Pentagon. Not the experts. No one.”

The most accurate count seems to be roughly 1,077, but that’s not counting the “black sites” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if you read all 206 pages of the Department of Defense’s 2010 Base Structure Report, you won’t find a single mention of those bases. But here’s what we do know …on the foreign outposts the US Military does count, it controls close to 52,000 buildings, and more than 38,000 pieces of heavy infrastructure like piers, wharves and gigantic storage tanks, not to mention more than 9,100 ‘linear structures’ like runways, rail lines and pipelines.” And those figures don’t even include US territories. Then there are the dependent family housing complexes and schools, resort hotels, ski areas (yes, the Department of Defense has them) and of course well over 150 golf courses.

Why, Mr. President? Why isn’t this information printed all over the front pages of “American” newspapers? Is this why our men and women are fighting on foreign soil, so we can maintain this outrageous and unsustainable Military Industrial Complex? Is this the freedom and independence we fought for in the Revolutionary War? Are we really making the world a safer place for everyone? Just the opposite is true… our wars are making the world more dangerous.

It’s July 3rd Mr. President… time to bring our troops home, time to let the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan determine their own destiny… and time to put an end to this shameful waste our taxpayer dollars, and most assuredly, the shameful waste of countless American lives.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

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