Thursday, December 03, 2009

War is Still a Racket

As US Major General Smedley Butler said in 1933, 'War is a racket'. And the obscenties of corporate war profits continue. Harley Davidson dealerships on US bases in Afghanistan? What's wrong with this picture?

It's quite something to reflect on the numbers as Butler did - in the millions of dollars at the beginning of the last century - involved in waging war at that time. Today, it seems that we barely bat an eye at the idea that billions are being wasted while the uber-rich get richer thanks to the spilling of blood on foreign soil. Perhaps because that amount is just too much for the average citizen to even fathom. And certainly because we, who seem to believe that our so-called democracies are really about what "we the people" actually want, refuse to admit that we really live in oligarchies in which we are more than willing to cede control of our affairs to those who know what's best for us. It isn't only the right that believes in the type of authoritarian, Father Knows Best form of government that we on the left often chastise them for. Just take a look at the rationalizations for Obama's surge emanating from so-called progressives this week. The pro-war propaganda coming from people who would have roasted Bush on a stick for the same decisions is quite frightening.

In recognition of the popularity of National Exploding Head Day held on Wednesday - a day in which both the right and the left (and those in between) reacted hysterically to Obama's surge (as if it was some sort of surprise since, for so many Americans, "War is Freedom") - Exploding Head festivities will now continue throughout the week (and probably the month and into next year).

We certainly live in an upside-down world in which western governments strain at the idea of providing humanitarian aid in relatively paltry amounts while endlessly funding the military industrial complex based on overblown and logically irrational justifications - as just the cost of "keeping us safe" or "protecting our national security interests" or "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" or "protecting our way of life". No matter how you dress it up, it is obscene.

And the fact that Obama invoked 9/11 as one of those justifications is a reminder of how quickly history is forgotten and how eager Obama's war-supporters are to believe the talking points du jour. As Pepe Escobar writes in the Asia Times today:

Obama still says Afghanistan is a "war of necessity" - because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Wrong. The Bush administration had planned to attack Afghanistan even before 9/11. See Get Osama! Now! Or else ... Asia Times Online, August 30, 2001.)
So, as Robert Scheer writes, Here We Go Again...:

The current president’s military point man, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, served in Carter’s National Security Council and knows that Obama is speaking falsely when he asserts it was the Soviet occupation that gave rise to the Muslim insurgency that we abetted. Gates wrote a memoir in 1996 which, as his publisher proclaimed, exposed “Carter’s never-before-revealed covert support to Afghan mujahedeen—six months before the Soviets invaded.”

Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was asked in a 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur if he regretted “having given arms and advice to future terrorists,” and he answered, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” Brzezinski made that statement three years before the 9/11 attack by those “stirred-up Muslims.”

So here we go again, selling firewater to the natives and calling it salvation.
But the selling of that firewater in modern times is one of the most lucrative business ventures ever. It doesn't matter now, any more than it mattered back during Smedley Butler's day, who pays the price.


Fafblog! - Victory Science

You're A Good Man, Barack Obama: Afghanistan War Meets Classic Animation

FAIR: In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar Op-Eds - Elite papers marginalize public opposition (sound familiar?)

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