POSTED: 14 JULY 2008 - 7:30am EST

Let's have a war (at home)!

image above: World War II poster illustrating the importance of recycling from

by Jon Letman on 22 July 2008

It's time America fought a war.

Yes, I know you are saying, "fight a war? Aren't we already fighting several of them now (depending on how you count conflicts)?"

I mean, it's time America fought a war in America.

That's right, the U.S. military should pack up and pull all its soldiers out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, the U.K., Turkey, Belgium, Spain, Bahrain, Kuwait, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, the world's seas and the 130 or so countries around the planet and come home to fight.

According to Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant and scholar, the U.S. maintains over 730 military bases around the world. Our military budget is by far the largest in the world - we spend about the same on war programs, tools and training than the rest of the world combined. In my state alone (Hawaii), there are at least twenty-five military facilities. Tiny Okinawa has thirty-seven U.S. military facilities.

In a Fiscal Year 2009 Pentagon Spending Request Briefing Book available through the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the statistics presented would be sobering if they weren't beyond the comprehension of the average person.

Bush and Cheney will be gone in six months, but the feast of American military excess lives on. The Bush administration is requesting $515.4 billion for the Department of Defense in Fiscal Year 2009 (starting on October 1, 2008). To put things in some perspective, U.S. Department of Education statistics report a request of $59.2 billion in discretionary appropriations for the DOE in FY09.

The above 2009 military budget is an increase of 7.5 percent (5.4 percent after being adjusted for inflation) and does not include a penny for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Add in those two conflicts and the price tag soars to $711 billion for 2009.

With numbers like these, they are almost not worth repeating because not only are most of us unable to fathom how much money that is, we are also numb to numbers. As former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in the film Why We Fight, "numbers almost are distracting."

Twelve billion a month in Iraq, $17 million an hour, $8.9 billion for missile defense, $4.2 billion for the DDG-1000 Destroyer Program, $2 billion for a Navy Super Hornet... the numbers become meaningless.

The point is we spend a lot of time and money pursuing war and always far, far from our own country. Most of us scurry about from our homes to the office to the box stores merrily pursuing our own little slice of the American Dream or, more likely these days, fretting about filling our tank, losing our home, our job, our savings, our health insurance and, oh yeah, our civil liberties.

Typically we don't see war, we don't smell it, we don't feel it and if we do catch a glimpse on the nightly news, well, that's what the mute button is for. Death, destruction and the pulverized burnt corpses of innocent children can be gotten rid of with the click of a mouse, or not even considered at all. After all, doesn't Miley Cyrus have a new album coming out? And what about that Mexican jalapeno scare?

Yet America's war making grinds on mercilessly year after year, conveniently hosted by other countries in places most of us would rather not visit if we can find them on the map at all.

My suggestion is that if American citizens and politicians are really so keen on maintaining a military economy that diverts the vast majority of our financial and human resources to war making, let's at least have the balls to do it on our own land.

Bomb Las Vegas! Destroy Atlanta. Level Salt Lake City and raze Omaha.

Let's light up the night skies from Phoenix to Miami and Boston to San Diego with a little white phosphorus like we did in Fallujah.

We can move Gitmo to Anaheim and open up Abu Ghraib-like prisons all across this great nation, perhaps gutting Old Navy and Home Depot stores to make way for a chain of big box torture.

And since we will need someone to fight, we could ship over our own enemies - you know, give them temporary insurgent visa status and let them fight us over here so we don't have to fight them there.

Americans seem pretty gung-ho about fighting for freedom and democracy if it doesn't mess up our landscape, disrupt our daily pursuits or (god forbid) impede the NFL schedule, but would we be so enthusiastic about war making if it meant Times Square, Sunset Boulevard and the Mall of America were scorched black from bomb blasts and stained with the blood of our women and children?

Would we really support the troops if it meant their tanks were in our front yards, had check points set up on our commute to work or used all of our best resources while we were left to wallow in misery without food, water, medicine, electricity or gasoline?

It's time America put its money where its big, fat militaristic mouth is and host our own damn wars.

George W. Bush, John McCain and even the "ultra liberal" Barack Obama have no plans to end the Age of American Imperialistic Wars. Oh, we might shift a few soldiers here, move a few soldiers there, but the wars will rage on, far, far from (our) home.

It is unspeakably shameful that we who are so proud of our freedoms and our democracy will do anything to anyone in any country in the world to protect our interests, everyone else be damned.

If America is so keen to wage wars, let's start doing it here on U.S. soil and see how it feels.

see also:
Island Breath:
Bush OK's Israeli strike on Iran 7/14/08
Island Breath: Preparations for Iran War 7/11/08
Island Breath: Petraeus Points to War With Iran 4/14/08