Empire, or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire, by Howard Zinn

Passed along from NagOnTheLake by Metro, here is a thoughtful autobiographical essay by Howard Zinn, a former soldier and current thought leader (what we used to call philosopher, before we decided that old words were old-fashioned).

6 thoughts on “Empire, or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire, by Howard Zinn

  1. “Elites made the decision not to return to prewar levels of spending after the Second World War and the Korean War. In constant dollars, the military budget increased by more than ten times between the peacetime years 1940 and 1956. Much of the post-World War II expenditures went for new armaments-notably, nuclear weapons and delivery systems and technologically sophisticated airplanes and ships. The number of military personnel sharply escalated. In 1940, the Untied States maintained only 485,000 men and women under arms, with an additional 256,000 civilians to support them. In 1950, there were over 1.5 million persons in uniform and over 960,000 Defense Department (DOD) civilian employees. By 1975, about 2.15 million people served in the armed forces and there were an additional 1.1 million civilian employees. After falling slightly in the wake of the Vietnam War, civilian employment rose again by 1985 to a level surpassing that of 1978.

    As early as 1939, political and economic elites, in collaboration with the executive branch of government, began planning the permanent expansion of the military in order to make possible systematic U.S. intervention in the Third World. Lawrence Shoup’s underappreciated research into the activity of a group of business, intellectual, and political elites reveals how the “responsibilities” of the post-war period were not thrust upon, but were actively sought by a group of economic and political elites who wanted to expand and consolidate an American empire.

    In September 1939, more than two years before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the influential New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) approached the State Department about collaborating on a secret, long-range study of the implications of the European war and how it would affect the role of the United States in world affairs after its conclusion. Financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and with the support of the State Department, various committees began their work, which became known as the “War Peace Studies.””

  2. Martin Chill Esq


    Tres interessant

    Why does the USA have to have such an inflated Military

    ??? Is an inflated Military a way of hiding real unEmployment levels, as millions of otherwise unemployable Americans now have well-paid jobs in the Military or supporting the Military, including the Internal Revenue Service & the Bankers, raising the loot to pay for all this

    It’s one way of reducing the number of Alienated, UnEmployed Folk who might otherwise be revolting – rioting in the Streets, burgling houses …. and worse (horribile dictu) voting Democrat

    I have the honour to remain your obedient servant etc

    G Eagle

    Err … horribile dictu = shocking to say

  3. Herr Eagle,
    The answer is yes. Although we also hide some by just not counting anyone who has given up looking for a job. But most of the folks in the military are not well paid. Many military families are so poor they qualify for food stamps. But if we can get them into the military, we can indoctrinate them as fundamentalist Xtians and Republicans.

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