Here's a link to a video of Bill Maher concerning America as empire - yes, removing US troops from Iraq would only be the tip of the iceberg.
Is America "stuck" with an empire? Some elements of our government purposefully built it, but let Mr. Bill tell you his quirky yet truth-telling ideas.
The US has military bases in 150 countries. And Chalmers Johnson, in his NYT bestseller, The Sorrows of Empire (2005) provides a list of 'sorrows' the last one of which we seem to be in process of experiencing since 2008...bankruptcy. This a permanent war economy has wrought - with corporate greed and political corruption as the sauce ladled on top.
And so the current financial crisis is intricately linked with Pres. Obama's plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan (which I have previously stated is 'a very bad idea') and will only make matters worse as it ramps up jihad recruiting against the west and, if you care about personal and national finances, negates the possibility of ever knowing fiscal responsibility or prosperity again.
George Bush and Dick Cheney tossed our economy into the dustbin with their upping of hawkish imperialism and I hope and pray that Barack Obama is as smart as he's said to be. It simply cannot make sense to continue our nation's global dream of running the world while being the most hated nation on the globe - and retain a sovereign nation with any resemblance to a United States of America that any sane, free person would like to live in.
To quote Chalmers Johnson:
"The economic consequences of imperialism and militarism are also transforming our value system by degrading "free enterprise," which many Americans cherish and identify with liberty. Our military is by far the largest bureaucracy in our government. Militarism removes capital and resources from the free market and allocates them arbitrarily, in accordance with bureaucratic decisions uninfluenced by market forces but often quite responsive to insider influence and crony capitalism."
He then goes on to detail how on March 10, 2003, the US government invited 5 engineering companies to submit bids for post-war building in Iraq. You know the main offenders: KBR, Cheney's old company as a subsidiary of Halliburton, and Bechtel, which Mr. Johnson says has "half-century-old connections to the CIA and to high-ranking Republican politicians."
No wonder Congress and the Republicans in charge were so gung ho for invading Iraq. One may imagine that several Democrats in Congress held portfolios full of Bechtel and KBR shares as well. And I had thought the Bush-Cheney war was illegally perpetrated in part to interrupt Hussein's oil black market that France and Germany had been profiting by. Two birds, one stone, and topple Poppy's old nemesis, too?
As Chalmers Johnson continues, "Virtually all contracts coming from the military reflect insider trading."
He then quotes Robert Higgs, a senior fellow in political economy at the Independent Institute, summarizing the military-industrial complex as: "a vast cesspool of mismanagement, waste, and transgressions not only bordering on but often entering deeply into criminal conduct...The great arms firms have managed to slough off much of the normal risks of doing business in a genuine market, passing on many of their excessive costs to the taxpayers while realizing extraordinary rates of return on investment."
Well, there we go! And if the military-industrial complex (as wielded by the one-world-government acolytes who have coup'd our nation) isn't reformed, or better yet stopped in its hoof-tracks, any tactics, legislation, and bailouts attempting to 'repair' our broken economy will be but a drop in the militarily-siphoned bucket.
So I want to sign off with two quotes on the subject from past presidents who warned us best they could in 1796 and again in 1961. But as it turns out, the power-hungry ones with black-hearts can read, too:
"Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty."
President George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796
And here's the ignored advice you've read many times over:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience...In the councils of government, we must guard against the 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 must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process. We should take nothing for granted."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, Jan 17, 1961
Misplaced power was sought. Disaster has risen. And unless the madness is curtailed, bankruptcy is on America's menu.