Corporate Muscle

Hitman... copy 2

This painting is the closest I have come to a self portrait. I did this painting from a photo I snapped of myself during a maintenance test flight in a Navy T-34 in the late 80’s. But, for the “target” rings I used the list provided in the write-up to “Neo-Con Love Affair”. It is a list of all the countries that good ol’ ‘Merca has had military (or paramilitary) involvement in since 1900, usually for the protection of American corporate interests. The list:

1898-SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR 1901-COLUMBIA (State of Panama) PANAMA-1903-1914,1946,1988 CUBA-1906-1909,1912,1917,1933,1960, 1961,1962 HONDURAS-1907, 1912 NICARAGUA-1910,1926,1927,1937,1980,1984 CHINA-1912,1927,1948 MEXICO-1914-1917,1918-1919 HAITI-1915,1959,1986,1994 WWI-1916-1918 1918-RUSSIA GUATEMALA-1920,1922,1954,1966 WWII-1941-1945 KOREA-1951-1953 IRAN-1953-1979,1988 VIETNAM-1953,1963-1975 INDONESIA-1957 LEBANON-1958,1982,1985 EQUADOR-1960 BRAZIL-1960 ZAIRE-1964-mid80s,1996 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC-1965 BOLIVIA-1966,1971 EL SALVADORE-1966,1980 GREECE-1967,1974 CAMBODIA-1970 LAOS-1970 URUGUAY-1972 CHILI-1973 ANGOLA-1975-1978 AFGHANISTAN-1979,1998 LIBYA-1981,1989 GRENADA-1983 SYRIA-1983 BULGARIA-1990 IRAQ-1991,1992,1993 SOMALIA-1992 BOSNIA-1993 YUGOSLAVIA-1993,1999 SUDAN-1998 2002-Present-AFGHANISTAN 2003-Present-IRAQ

For purposes of this painting the mat is actually an integral part of the work. On it I improvised a “teletype” reprinting of Marine Corps’ General Smedley Butler’s anti-war message. To wit:

“There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger-men” to point out enemies, its “muscle-men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic Capitalism. It
may seem odd for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, two time Medal of Honor Winner 1933

Thus, the title of the piece, “Corporate Muscle”, which is pretty much what anyone who has served in the military in the last century has been and is. In my opinion, “Defense” of American soil is secondary to this role.
Bleeding heart liberal crap, you say? If a Marine Corps General is not good enough for you, How about A high ranking General of the Army, who commanded all the allied forces in Europe in WWII? Oh, yea, and then became president. THAT guy. This is what Eisenhower left us with as he prepared to leave the office of the presidency (and Commander In Chief):

“…We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

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.”

We have all heard the term “Military-Industrial Complex”. This is where that term was coined. As a WARNING of potential abuse, (which we have ignored) by a Conservative, a Republican.
So, zoom in and look closely at the center of the painting, the crosshairs. The military LOVES its acronyms, (eg, CINCPACFLT= Commander in chief, Pacific fleet). So, one axis of the crosshair is MILUNDUSCOM, or Military Industrial Complex. The other axis, of course, is the result of ignoring Ike’s warning, Never Ending War. Sound familiar? Yup, anyone who has read Orwell’s 1984 will recognize that. As Big Brother sneered at poor Winston Smith, “The war is never SUPPOSED to end!” Welcome to Orwell’s world, 21st century American style!
Think I am exaggerating? Take another look at the above mentioned conflicts since 1959, (Ike’s speech) right on up to the present. Toss in Madeleine Albright’s wonderment at having a huge military if you are not going to use it, recent events in Syria and the rest of the middle east, the constant sabre-rattling towards Iran, and now Putin’s nostalgic cold war meanderings, our 700 billion dollar “defense” budget and…, oh my, Big Brother, Please protect us! Here we go again…
Here is the really, really scary part: Neo Cons will look at this historical perspective, probably deny it, but then say, “So, what if this IS really the way things are? It’s OK by me. That’s what America is all about, God bless us all.”
Anyway, glad I could do my part.