“The truth of the matter is that we are in a heavy militarized society driven by greed, lust for profit and wars are being created just to fuel that.”
The above is a very distressing, very worrisome truth about the USA of recent times that very few are willing to speak in the world’s ‘leading democracy’. However one very noteworthy person who has the courage and honesty to state this is someone whose voice should really be heard more widely, and heeded. This is the voice of Dennis Kucinich, a former Presidential candidate who was also elected eight times to the House of Representatives. He has been involved in many acts of great courage in his long and eventful political career, acts which others would not dare to touch, ranging from opposing the Iraq invasion with solid research-based facts and even stronger passion, even trying to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney, to repeatedly investigating/opposing Pentagon budgets and irregularities.
The quote from him with which this article started is taken from his recent conversation with eminent journalist Chris Hedges in a program at The Real News Network titled ‘Democrats and the War Machine’ (mid-December 2022). This program raised an important issue—while several important leaders of the Democratic Party including J. William Fulbright, George McGovern, Gene McCarthy, Mike Gravel, William Proxmire and of course Dennis Kucinich used to take anti-war positions earlier and counter the arms industry lobby, the scope for this has reduced considerably so that both the leading political parties are increasingly similar in being supportive of war efforts and the powerful arms industry. This is deeply worrying for peace efforts.
Asked how this happened, Kucinich replied that this tendency started about 3 or 4 decades back with the Democratic Party also becoming more dependent on corporate funding. It is important to note that in the understanding of someone who has seen the inner workings of the political system, the impact of corporate funding, in this particular context the funding by the powerful arms industry but in other contexts also by the oil industry, the medical industry etc., can be so serious as to change in basic ways the policy and internal democracy of a leading political party. In fact the enormously constructive and contributive political career of Kucinich was itself disrupted by sources within the Democratic Party. Further, Kucinich has pointed out that widespread financial irregularities are a part of the war-mongering. He has stated that while he was working on a government oversight committee, an inspector general testified that there are over one trillion dollar worth of accounts in the Pentagon that could not be reconciled and they have over 1100 accounting systems, probably deliberately to use for obfuscation.
Kucinich has stated that when he was in Congress, he tried to introduce legislation to forbid the USA to go into any war that NATO was operating because he felt that this was a subversion of the constitutional provision in Article 1, Section 8, which is that Congress of the US has the power to take the country from a condition of peace to war.
Kucinich is extremely critical of the way the USA has influenced the course of events in Ukraine starting with the coup there in 2014, the imposed distressing policy of hostility against the Russian speaking people of Eastern Ukraine resulting in the tragic loss of 14,000 lives among them. In his words, “Suddenly Ukraine becomes a bloodbath for a chessboard where innocent people are just being used as pawns in a game of nations.”
Kucinich says that with NATO becoming “a cat’s paw for war”, people in many NATO member states are going to start asking –who is NATO making decisions for me? Similarly people in their capacity as EU member countries are going to increasingly ask why very high energy costs are being imposed on them when this can be avoided easily? Hence both NATO and EU face a very uncertain future due to increasing opposition of people of member states, relating to highly distressing mishandling of Ukraine policy. Regarding the existing situation Kucinich says with great feeling, as someone who has represented the Ukrainian people in his constituency as well, “ I resent this on behalf of every decent person in Ukraine who is trying to keep his family together in Ukraine and who doesn’t want to be dominated by anybody—US, Russia, anybody.”
Regarding the role of media in all this, Kucinich is supportive of those who have referred to media as the spear-carriers of the government. At crucial times the drumbeat of the media has been ‘war, war, war’ echoing the war cry emanating from the White House. Only a few journalists and writers like William Blum and Chalmers Johnson provided the real picture of “case after case of US interventions that were all about lies.”
What is most important is to heed this warning of Kucinich regarding the drift towards the possibility of a third World War: “Our country—I love this country—is being done a disservice by people in power who have made book with interest groups who are going forward just to cash in on war. And I think it is horrific. And in this case we are playing with the flash of World War III…I am also concerned things could spin out of control, even now with respect to Russia, with respect to China, North Korea.”
Kucinich quotes President Kennedy who said that we should learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or else we will perish as fools. Then he says, “If there ever was a country that was in need of a process of truth and reconciliation, it is America. We really need to have people come forward and admit they were wrong, whatever their motives, so that we can heal this country.”
Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071.