There’s Nothing More American than Imperialism, Baby | Happy Ending with Nando Vila
(jet sounds) Ah, wide open land just waiting to get bombed. Talk to me, Moose. Where the hell are we? I don’t know, probably some oil-rich nation just full of brown people. Which one? Look, it’s not my job to know that crap. I just make things go boom. (laughs) Woo! Stop clogging the feed! We’re bombing seven countries you’re allowed to know about: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. How did Congress ever agree to this? The military uses one law to justify all military intervention: the 2001 Authorization For Use of Military Force, signed to start the war on terror. But since terrorism is an idea, not a place, we can call anything terrorism. In 2016, we dropped a grand total of 26,171 bombs and if you two don’t stop horsing around, we won’t get anywhere close to that this year. Yee haw! Great balls of fire! (explosions) (funk music) If you sing to me, I swear to God I will kill you. Well, what’s your name then, doll? It’s Vanessa. Do you know what I do? I fly planes for the military. Everybody here flies planes for the military. Not like I do. Oh, so you blow up brown people better than the other guys? More like I defend your freedom better than the other guys. Is that what you guys did when you secretly bombed Cambodia in 1969 and killed a quarter million people? Yeah, we defended the hell out of that. Wait, what? And in 1973, when we deposed Chile’s elected president, Salvador Allende. Defending freedom, right? Wasn’t he some sort of commie? Or when we supported the Contras in Nicaragua, and they killed 50,000 people? You’re trouble. Mosaddegh, Iran 1953. Arbenz, Guatemala 1954. You’re one serious lady. Tough break, kid. Well, if it isn’t the always delightful Adam Johnson, journalist and media critic, who now is apparently bartending. Adam, I’m starting to think that the things I was taught in grade school don’t really paint the whole picture. Well, it’s not your fault. People aren’t really taught about American imperialism in grade school, and when it’s touched on, it’s usually glossed over. So what is American imperialism then? Well it’s complex, but generally it’s a combination of soft power, direct military action, funding and arming groups, covert ops, psychological operations, all in an effort to project American power overseas. Take North Korea for example. When you hear about it in the media, they’re viewed as being irrational and sporadic and just sort of mindlessly anti-American, but the vast majority of Americans don’t know the context behind why North Korea would agitate us. In the early 1950s, the United States and its allies killed about 20 percent of the population, and since then we’ve been threatening them off and on. So why would we do any of this? The reasons are complex, but a lot of it has to do with the budgets of the military. The U.S. military budget is greater than the next 10 countries combined. Well I guess if you buy a toy, you’ve got to play with it. Why do we have to go back to flight school again? Something about robots I hear. During the Korean War, our kill ratio was 12 to one. We shot down 12 of their jets for every one of ours. In Vietnam, this ratio fell to three to one. Our pilots depended on missiles. They lost their dog fighting skills. Now we’re gonna turn it into a literal video game. Your civilian expert Vanessa is here, she can tell you more. (seductive music) Who here has heard of a predator drone? (record scratch) Yeah, is that like ‘Call of Duty?’ Lieutenant, these drones can do more damage than your F-14 can before you even get out of bed for breakfast. I hate it when robots take our jobs. The drone program started under President Bush but expanded dramatically under President Obama. Obama had more drone strikes in his first year than Bush did in his entire presidency. If you’re manning a drone from thousands of miles away, how do you know what you’re shooting at? That is a bit of a problem. Independent studies have shown that about 90 percent of people killed by drones weren’t actually the targets. That’s including hundreds of civilian women and children. If you’re gonna make an omelet, you’ve got to break a few eggs. I don’t know, collateral damage, dead women and children The reason why our presidents love drones so much is because they put no American lives at risk. They allow our leaders to kill people abroad with little to no political blowback at home. USA baby, woo! Yeah! All right, jokers, this is the real deal. Today’s target: Yemen. Here’s some background. For more than two years, this had been the situation in many Yemini cities. A full-on war between a Saudi-led coalition and true Iran rebels, and the humanitarian conditions have worsened for nearly 21 million people. We’re gonna hit them, and we’re gonna hit them hard. So man your cockpits. I don’t know, Moose, something isn’t right. Look, I’m sure our leaders have a perfectly good reason for us to be bombing Yemen. Do they? I guess not really. Don’t you care about spreading democracy? Human rights? Freedom? Check out Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and then ask yourself why they’re our biggest ally in the region. (screaming) Moose! The joystick, man. It’s too much. It’s okay, we’re gonna get through this. You were right, man. The most obvious example that our foreign policy is a sham is our relationship with the Saudis. They behead people, man. They torture women. I mean they’re the ones who are helping spread extremist jihadism across the globe. It’s gonna be OK, man, we’re gonna get through this. It’s not gonna be okay! It’s not gonna be okay because 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 they were Saudis! And the congressional report says that high levels of the Saudi government knew. I mean, they knew, man! But nobody talks about it because there’s so much Saudi money sloshing around Washington. We are refueling the Saudi bombers. So we are essentially part of the bombing campaign. I got something I got to admit, man. What’s up? I got to tell ya – my mustache, it’s not real. I got to tell ya – my mustache, it’s not real. What? I never had a real mustache. What? What? It’s OK, Moose! Moose! I love you, man! I love you! We’re gonna be happy together! Come on! Let’s go! (screaming) Our leaders say we need to be in all these countries Our leaders say we need to be in all these countries killing all these people to stay safe, yet terrorism is worse today than it was when we started fighting it back in 2001. There’s good money to be made, and it’s a good way to distract from other social problems. We currently spend over 15 percent of our entire government budget on the military. Most developed countries like the UK only spend about 5 percent. If we reign in our military, we can spend that money on things like health care and education. To do that, we’re going to need a massive people’s movement that demands more from our leaders. We saw this work during Vietnam, when protests around the country forced the Nixon administration to end the war. And if we stop all this imperialism, Moose doesn’t have to die at the end.