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 Monday, July 09, 2007

Tiger Woods, Golf, The Military and Corporate America

  Read here full article in Press Action

Corporate America must be a little miffed. Instead of allowing the heads of all the Fortune 500 companies into his golf tournament free of charge to honor the sacrifices they’ve made for this country, Tiger Woods and his advisers opted to give free passes to members of the U.S. military, past and present.

Woods wanted to use the inaugural AT&T National: Hosted by Tiger Woods golf tournament taking place at Congressional Country Club in Potomac, Md., to pay tribute to the U.S. military and honor his father, who was in the Army for about 20 years. Woods said he would have followed his father’s employment path if a career as a professional golfer had failed to materialize.

Honoring the foot soldiers of U.S. empire is a noble mission. No one put a gun to their heads to join the military. The many generations of soldiers since the U.S. government finished its slaughter of millions of Vietnamese joined the military under their own free will. They are volunteers to the cause of the American enterprise of bombing, pillaging and occupying countries the world over. Their work should be honored just as, for example, the sacrifices of the thousands of Americans who volunteered to fight the fascists in Spain in the 1930s should never be forgotten.

But aren’t Tiger’s sympathies a little misplaced? Shouldn’t the golf tournament that bears his name serve instead as a memorial to the barons of American industry that have made him one of the wealthiest athletes in the world? The executive management and shareholders of such companies as General Motors, Nike, Rolex, American Express have generously given millions of dollars to Tiger since he became a pro golfer 11 years ago. Without the largesse of these corporate chieftains, Tiger wouldn’t have been able to afford his $54 million estate on Jupiter Island, Fla., or his properties in California, Wyoming and Sweden. Or his yacht, private jet and every other luxuries he enjoys.

The real American heroes are the business leaders who made this country the greatest economic power the world has ever seen. The only reason the U.S. government sends its soldiers overseas is to protect the financial interests of these greatest of American heroes. It may be appropriate to honor the soldiers, but let’s put their contributions to the greatness of this country in perspective. If not for the sacrifices of the Carnegies, Rockefellers, Mellons and Vanderbilts in an earlier era followed by the dedication to transnational capitalism of the new titans of 21st century business, these soldiers would be out of jobs.

Maybe next year, when his golf tournament comes back to Congressional Country Club, Tiger Woods will see the light and put the sacrifices of today’s American business magnates into proper perspective. Without them, the modern American state could not function. Tiger should recognize this simple fact and show some gratitude more befitting of their great stature.

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