Sunday, January 04, 2009

Swords into plowshares

"They" say (whoever "they" are) that we have to keep manufacturing military weapons, ammunition and vehicles because local economies are dependent on the business ... or, other nations depend on our weapons systems for their defense ... or, we're keeping the world safe for hypocrisy ... or something.

At the beginning of World War II, manufacturers of cars and other complicated things changes their production lines to make tanks, and guns, and warplanes and ships for the war effort. All very patriotic. Millions were made, but it was for the war, so it was OK. Hitler was marching our way and Japan was lurking just over the horizon.

No such excuses now. The Soviet Union is gone. China is facing its own economic and pollution problems. Korea is rattling a pretty puny sword. Where's a self-respecting empire to find a suitable adversary or two? Where are the enemies when the economy really needs 'em?

Now the auto industry is turning turtle, waving their little wheels in the air. Every corporate CEO has their hand out for a handout, hiding the other hand, full of greenbacks, behind their back. Seems they can't make enough money making and trying to sell us four-wheeled behemoths that get ten miles per gallon.

If the government of the United States must engage in socialism and bail out the corporations that have been paying their expenses all these years, why not start a World War II sized corporate makeover and change the factories to make useful things, say, solar panels, electric cars, wind generators, garden tools, bicycles, sturdy comfortable shoes, energy efficient appliances, TeeVees that turn completely off when you flip the remote, battery chargers that turn off when not in use, good wind-up clocks and watches that don't take batteries, comfortable trains that run on solid level tracks on-time, stop pollution and clean up the neighborhood while you're at it.

The possibilities are endless. Let the corporations earn their keep and deserve our support by providing real things we really need, not war toys that are destroyed as fast as possible so the Pentagon can order more.

And, oh, by the way, would the last person to leave the military-industrial complex please turn out the light at the end of the tunnel?

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