American Culture

China, respectfully, stop poking the bear.

norse battlefield

image courtesy of

So you discovered that 21 million people have security clearance in the United States. Is this surprising to you? Because it’s not to us. We are grateful that fewer than a million of them are charged with watching Americans. I am weighing the value of each word I type. I know our cyberwarriors are watching for keywords like “military industrial complex,” and “war on terror.”

The military industrial complex is a renewable contract which makes war (and thereby death) profitable. It is one of the founding principles we never talk about, but it has been with us since the beginning, when Spain, France, and Holland, controlled this land and we, being at war with Spain, France, and Holland, felt entitled to all the lands claimed by Spain, France, and Holland. The fact that other people lived here, and that Spain’s, France’s, and Holland’s claims were suspect and possibly baseless, provided no deterrent. It was profitable, therefore it must have been good.

The history of colonialism is the history of human beings struggling to contain this bear we call the military industrial complex. The bear finds honey and eats it, maybe in the form of a plantation, maybe in the form of a banana republic. It currently controls the Southern Hemisphere and most of the Northern Hemisphere. We have fought it off in the first world. When we talk about freedom, that’s really what we mean. The death machine must satisfy logical requirements before it eats us. We are in the process of expanding that freedom to include people of all colors and genders.

We have discovered, in the process of naming and taming this beast, that fighting it is impossible, because it only grows stronger. War is its food. It must be starved to death. In 2001, a few people who dressed like Arab Muslims attacked America. The bear ate five thousand Americans, and at least a hundred thousand civilians in three countries, most of them innocent, because one guy poked the bear by releasing a video of himself denouncing the United States. Don’t poke the bear.

President Eisenhower, AKA the supreme commander of the allied powers, warned us, in his farewell address, that the military industrial complex must be stopped or else it will kill us all. This is not hippie nonsense. This is what the greatest Republican of all time chose to give us as his parting wisdom. This is the man who was steering the bear as it ripped apart the Nazi war machine starting with the jaws. You are meddling with forces you cannot possibly comprehend. Stop poking the bear.

So you think you can gain some advantage by luring the bear into a trap? Good luck with that. That’s what the Japanese thought when they bombed Pearl Harbor. Trapping the bear is a good way to get a lot of otherwise respectable statesmen to agree that America should turn your country into a glass-paved self-lighting parking lot, just to set an example. Why do you think we’re so worried about WHICH homicidal maniac is going to start World War Three? Because it’s us, obviously. Stop poking the bear.

If you want to do your super-secret spy stuff, awesome, but this? What did you really gain? Social security numbers? Addresses? In America, we’re just beginning to recognize China as a global superpower. That means equal status. That means respect. When you get caught in an act of, let’s face it, identity theft, you look like amateurs. Penny ante operators. Ain’t no such things as halfway crooks. You look like a kid poking a bear. I’m waiting for the video to finish loading. My initial reaction is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It doesn’t make you look brave. It makes you look stupid. Is that really what you want? Stop poking the bear.

Stealing identities is child’s play. Over a third of our social-security numbers have been compromised. The program is based on the idea of unity. Everybody works, everybody eats. Those of us who lead the charge are not worried about our place in line for entitlements. All we need to do is disconnect Social Security numbers from borrowing priveledges and your “hack” is little more than an out-of-date phone book. Are you looking to blackmail Americans who have already jumped through the hoops necessary to acquire security clearance? Are you planning to kill twenty million Americans surreptitiously? Honestly, the more I look for the next move, the more it seems like a stunt, like poking the bear just to see what will happen.

Congratulations, you have discovered the military industrial complex. We are well aware that, without significant social, economic, and governmental change, the bear will eat someone. We’re trying really hard to stop it. That’s why President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize before his first move. Hence the not bombing Syria. Hence the saintly patience with Russia in eastern Europe. Hence the saintly patience with Iran. We are starving it out. Stop poking the bear.

If you really want to set this thing in motion, no one can stop you. That is the nature of free will. However, please consider some of the ramifications, both immediate and longterm, before your next move. I will not be drafted because I am too old. But I will volunteer. I will be useful to the war effort. We all will. The war effort feels like wind beneath our wings. It’s our natural state. You will have to kill us all. Let’s agree not to bring our allies and our classified technology into it. Stop poking the bear.

We know you have a plan to disable satellite communications. We know you have a surprise attack on the drawing board. It’s not going to work. Ask Mexico. Ask Haiti. Ask Nicaragua. Ask Dominican Republic. Ask Russia. Ask Iran. Ask Japan. Ask Germany. Ask Vietnam. Ask Lebanon. Ask Cuba. Ask Grenada. Ask Korea. Ask Bosnia. Ask Somalia. Ask Kosovo. Ask Iraq. Ask Afghanistan. Ask Kuwait. Ask Pakistan. Ask Libya. We did not go to war with those countries. The bear finds honey and eats it. Whatever it is that you have to lose, the minute you activate American war powers, the bear will smell it. If you want to keep what is yours, stop poking the bear.