When the US talks about reducing troops in Iraq or Afghanistan it never mentions the tens of thousands of private mercenaries also stationed there. Press TV talks with Sarah Marusek, apolitical analyst in Beirut, about an America divided and discusses the dangers apparent of the privatization of the military industrial complex that is a growing influence on US foreign policy.
Following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The US...do you believe it is not united and if so what are the reasons behind that? Our other guest Michael Maloof says the days of American patriotism are perhaps over.
Sarah Marusek: Well, I definitely do agree that the country is divided and I think the current economic state contributes to this. When things become difficult on a daily basis; when people are struggling; college graduates aren't able to find jobs -- surely it's easy to become more intolerant of other people's proposed solutions. And so of course the country is increasingly divided.
Our internet accelerates this because people look to certain news sources, not only the internet in America it is the TV news channels where people only watch Fox if they vote a certain way or people only watch other networks if they vote a certain way so definitely the way our media is structured -- it's not a competitive media; it's not an open media; it doesn't have access to the same sorts of debates that happen here in the Middle East for example. Certainly all of these things help polarize America.
I think it's really important to point out something that the introduction to this show pointed out, which is that America is based in a way on a sort of fiction. Independence Day did not include the Native Americans and it did not include the millions of slaves that were brought over; it took us centuries in order for us to fully give rights to these various peoples including women as well -- they were very much ignored for many years.
Unless we're honest with our history and we look at how unequal... how rights weren't allocated to everyone; it wasn't freedom and justice for all; it was freedom and justice for a very select few -- white men who owned property. And so now that all people are supposedly given rights of course there's going to be more friction, there's going to be more potential conflict because there just isn't enough to go around.
Americans are used to a very so-called 'middle class' type of life, but really it's the kind of life that's not sustainable with the amount of energy we use and the amount of consumerism. Really, it's difficult to imagine that we are ever going to be able to come to a point where if we give each other freedoms and rights we're going to have the same kind of security that the middle class supposedly had in the 1960s and 1970s when it was only white people who were able to access these luxuries of the middle class.
Press TV: In terms of the stance that Obama has that national building is going to be his focus -- Do you agree with that? Or is this something he is saying before the elections happen in 2012?
Sarah Marusek: Definitely that was his original pledge -- the whole blue state red state, no, we are the United States. He definitely seemed to appreciate that America was becoming increasingly divided and this was really before the full impact of the economic crisis hit; and of course before the birth of the Tea Party and so back then we weren't even as 'conflictual' as we are now.
So that definitively is an issue for him although he is also a very international person; he grew up in various parts of the world and spent a good deal of time in Indonesia so I don't think that he is necessarily more focused internally.
One of the reasons why I voted for him was because he said he would change America's image around the world. Of course he's utterly failed; in my opinion greatly enhanced former President Bush's policies that have really created a lot of antagonism against America, for example, the wars; increasing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (although finally we're pulling back from there now), the use of drones, the inability to close Guantanamo Bay, which he promised he would shut and he hasn't produced anything when it comes to that.
He knows that America is involved all around the world and we have military bases and regarding the military industrial complex we must really point out that the dangers of this are far more real and threatening because of the privatization of the military and a lot of times these private companies, soldiers and contractors; they don't get factored into the big mass of the military industrial complex. So in fact it's probably double the size of what we fear it is and it's spiraling out of control.
All of these people have lobbyists in Washington and are increasing their power over our government and controlling more and more of what happens in our foreign policy and so it's very frightening indeed.