Thursday :: Dec 2, 2004

War Is An Oil Racket

by pessimist

Don't take it from me. Take it from someone who would know - Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC - only one of two double Medal of Honor awardees in American military history.

WAR is a racket. It always has been. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

We know that the war in Iraq was intended to capture the Iraqi oil reserve at minimal cost in lives, money, and international relations. It didn't work, and now we are stuck there, unable to go forward or back out due to the ineptitude of those who 'lead' us.

They were intending to shoulder the great burden of massive profits from the sale of plundered petroleum to the vast numbers of Americans owning Hummers and pretending that they are capturing Baghdad just like Owwer Leedur's BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse Mercenary Mercantilist Military did. But that didn't work out, and now the bill is coming due. They are not about to have to shoulder that great burden.

That's what the little people are for.

Ted Rall can see this. He has a few things to say about it:

They Fight and Die, But Not For Their Country

Have any of the Iraq war dead really "died for their country"? With 1,500 U.S. soldiers dead in Afghanistan and Iraq, and influential Bushists calling for invading Iran, the question bears asking:

What does it mean to fight (or die) for the United States?

When we hear that soldiers fight for our country, we immediately think of their role guarding our borders, protecting us from invaders. Yet the U.S. has only been invaded twice, when Great Britain attempted to bring us back into the colonial fold during the War of 1812 and in 1846, when Mexico launched a brief incursion across the disputed Rio Grande. During the ensuing 158 years, no member of the U.S. military has fought or died while repelling an invader.

9/11 demonstrated that the Pentagon doesn't consider a foreign incursion a major threat; that's why they assigned 12 "ground-based" Air National Guard jets to guard the the entire country.

The truth is, U.S. troops are hardly ever called upon to defend the territory of the U.S. or its outposts--military bases, embassies and consulates. Of the approximately 250 deployments of U.S. armed forces since 1798, the majority have been preemptive actions against possible future threats, or wars of aggression waged to advance American geopolitical interests.

For an empire, military action is its own reward. Our willingness to wage war intimidates adversaries and their neighbors into giving us what we want: cheaper oil, military bases, favorable trading terms.

When American sailors invaded the Falkland Islands in 1832, it was "to defend American interests." Ditto for 1855, when U.S. forces stormed Fiji. Ditto for the 1903 Dominican Republic action (where defending U.S. interests meant suppressing a popular revolution), Honduras in 1911, the Soviet Union in 1918, Lebanon in get the idea. The soldiers who fought in those invasions were told they were fighting for their country. Those who lost their lives were called heroes.

Repeating a lie doesn't make it true.

Now we're at it again, this time in Iraq, a nation that would never have invaded us. Everyone, even the Bushists who manufactured the war from whole cloth, admits that Iraq never had weapons that could hurt us or means to hit us with them if they had. And we know that they didn't attack us--not on 9/11, not ever. Our soldiers may be doing their duty, fighting fiercely, and giving their lives in the bargain. But since Iraq neither threatens our freedom nor our borders, they're neither protecting our freedoms or fighting for America. The best anyone can say is that they're fighting for our country's geopolitical interests--and what those are is subject to interpretation.

"Private ______ died for his country's geopolitical interests." Huh. Doesn't quite have the same ring.

We started with General Butler, so we'll let him have the last word:

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill . . . and be killed.

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly -- his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too -- as much as and even sometimes more than he. And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.


Amen to that, General.

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pessimist :: 5:37 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!