What story is missing from the news?
Mike Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election. He is chiefly known for his efforts in ending the draft following the Vietnam War and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971.
Born in 1930 to immigrant parents in Massachusetts, Gravel enlisted in the Army in 1951 and served in West Germany. A self-stated dyslexic, Gravel was educated at Columbia University%u2019s School of General Studies in New York, where he drove a taxi to support himself. Gravel's first steps into politics were in the Alaska House of Representatives, before he won his party's nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1968. During the 1980s, after Gravel lost his senate seat, he worked as a real estate developer, consultant and stockbroker.
Gravel is a strong supporter of direct democracy, and specifically, the National Initiative, which refers to proposals to allow for ballot initiatives at the federal level.
Question: What story is missing from the news?
Mike Gravel: The underreported story is the fact that the military industrial complex owns our government lock, stock and barrel; and that American communications media, the mainstream of it, supports that position and can’t even reason themselves out of why that position is so terrible – whether it’s the luminaries on the east coast, or the luminaries in the central part of the country, or on the west coast. Middle America, the scholars . . . Here, I think the best way to describe this is when you have lived through Vietnam and now you see what’s happening with Iraq where we can’t get out of the tar pit; and you hear these intelligent, wonderful, well-educated people . . . I mean I’m talking about good people. I’m not talking about the fools in the White House. I’m talking about the good people who just figure, “Well we gotta do this. We can’t get out. We’ve broken it. We own it.” I mean this is all what we heard, and of course it’s gonna be a disaster if we get out. Why is it gonna be a disaster? Are these people any crazier than we are? Of course not. They don’t want a civil war any more than we have. We’re the ones that have destabilized the whole area. And so if we can pull out and ask the regional players to help restabilize the area, and try to bring back health and rebuild that country, you could turn it around . . . Here, we could ask . . . ask . . . suggest . . . suggest to the Iraqi government that they . . . And I’m the guy that ended the draft in this country, but I would say they draft everybody from 18 to 30 years old – and they’re all basically unemployed – and pay them $10,000 a year. That would be about $30 billion. We could put up that money. That’s cheap compared to what we’re spending right now. Don’t give them any arms. In fact take all the weapons away, but put them in uniform and give them the tools to rebuild their country with their own bare hands. That’s where they’ll get pride. And we could just get the heck out of the way and take our corporate, war profiteers that are over there . . . get them out of the country, and I’ll tell you the Iraqis can handle their own activities if we just give them the tools and get out of the way.
Recorded on: 10/23/07
The fact that the military industrial complex owns our government is largely absent from the news media, says Mike Gravel.