War is the single most important issue that our country has to deal with today. War causes a huge drain on our finances which impoverishes our nation, while enriching special interests, and causes others to hate our country.
There are those that say that war is good and stimulates the economy. Often these are modern economists who tout this notion. This idea makes it easier for the politicians to increase spending to keep the military-industrial complex fat and happy. When you have the political and economic scientists both saying that war is a good thing, it is no wonder that our country seems to be in perpetual conflict.
The idea that war is good in any way, especially financially is a fiction generated by the special interests that benefit from it. I would quote an ancient source who I trust more than a modern economist or political scientist — the great general Sun Tzu.
Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war … the expenditure at home and at the front … will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men … if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain … There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. (Tzu, 2006: 9).
I would remind others that not only the ancients, from other places, spoke out against war and the special interests which benefit from it. One of our own great generals, and later a US President, spoke out against warfare and those in our country who espouse it. During President Eisenhower’s farewell address he gave us fair warning about the military-industrial complex when he said:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. (Perkins, 2008: 186).
The oligarchy which controls the levers of power behind the scenes has been called by many names. In his book Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley calls it “The Network.” Author John Perkins, in his book The Secret History of The American Empire, calls it the “Corporatocracy.”
Within the Network or Corporatocracy are the entities that control our businesses, government, and finances. Our nation just ended a twenty year war in Afghanistan with nothing to show for it and our government is embroiling the country in another foreign conflict. This time, however, instead of a bunch of poor tribesmen armed with only rifles and limited munitions, the politicians have decided to take on a country with nuclear capabilities. Why would anyone want to bring our nation, and possibly the world, so close to nuclear war?
Because when our nation wages war, whether our forces win or lose, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Network, and the Corporatocracy profit from the conflict.
The War Machine was a financial success even when it failed militarily; U.S. contractors reaped windfall profits in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as in dozens of other places suffering from armed conflicts. For the families of those who died and for the United States as a whole, the cost of these wars was outrageously high. For the corporatocracy, the payoff was huge. (Perkins, 2008: 219).
Our government and the large corporations that influence it are inextricably tied together. Today one is a politician, tomorrow that same person obtains a lucrative job in a corporation. In a situation resembling a never ending revolving door. When there is a war going on politicians receive high ratings and their popularity soars. The corporations that produce weapons and the bankers that finance the conflict make money hand over fist. These entities are financing both sides of the conflict so they make out no matter who wins or loses. For them it is a win-win situation.
With this never ending warfare the oligarchy profits at our expense. Doctor Mary Ruwart succinctly described what occurs:
The arms manufacturers could sell to both sides. Weapons could be bought with drug deals or with taxpayer-guaranteed loans. Eventually, sending U.S. troops in to “settle” the conflict would mean even more arms purchases. Eternal war means continual profits for the banks and the military-industrial complex. Our CIA, like most government agencies, works for special interest groups that can reward it with a share of the profits. Through frequent military conflicts, the wealth of the average American, through inflation or direct taxation, is transferred to the CIA, rogue agents, weapons contractors, and banks without much resistance. After the two Gulf Wars, Saudi and American interests control virtually all Middle Eastern oil. Protecting oil with our tax-supported military allows war to be made in our name for the benefit of special interests. (Ruwart, 2015: 323).
The United States government kills people in foreign nations in our name, and with our taxes. The corporations, bankers and politicians all benefit from war. The only people who really lose are we — the little people. We who send the youth of our country to bleed and die in some far off place. We the people who suffer through high prices for the most basic of necessities. The things we need to survive: food, gasoline, electricity. We bear the brunt of our governments failed policies through inflation.
Many Americans cannot understand why other nations or peoples do not like our country. Often they are unaware of how our government (whether through the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. military or otherwise) interferes with other countries and their people. If they ever find out the horrible things our government has done, in our name, they are often left in shock and disbelief.
Most Americans are unaware that many atrocities … have been committed in their name … Even when we do hear about civilian deaths caused by U.S. military intervention, our leaders justify destroying Third World lives and livelihoods in order to protect America. CBS reporter Leslie Stahl noted that the embargo to punish Saddam Hussein was blamed for the deaths of a half-million Iraqi children. “Is the price worth it?” She asked Madeline Albright, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Ms. Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” (Ruwart, 2015: 319-320).
In his manifesto, Osama Bin Laden listed multiple reasons why he was angry at what our government had done in the Middle East through its foreign policy. Some of the reasons Bin Laden listed for his actions were that our government had military bases on the Arabian peninsula, and our support of Israel. However, it was the killing of innocents all over the Middle East through bombings (either using drones or conventional methods), or through embargoes, which led to thousands being killed by starvation or disease, that enraged Bin Laden and his followers. This, more than anything else, led others to fight under his banner and led to the horrible incidents of 9/11.
The devastation wrought by our intervention in Iraq, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, and Afghanistan are not rare, isolated examples. When we follow the history of developing nations, it is difficult to find one where our CIA has not left its mark. The U.S. Senat’s Church Committee documented 900 major and thousands of smaller covert operations undertaken by the CIA between 1960 and 1975. Sometimes, as in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, and Nicaragua, U.S. intervention instigated or prolonged civil war. Our intervention often creates trauma, heartbreak, and incredible loss of life in the Third World. None of those nations attacked or even threatened to attack us first… Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Pakistani demonstrators held up a sign saying, “Americans, think! Why are you hated all over the world.” In our name, atrocities are committed as our attempts to control our neighbors in domestic matters ripple out to intensify war and poverty in the rest of the world. (Ruwart, 2015: 323-324).
Because of the CIA’s machinations in the affairs of other countries, we suffer “blowback” here in the United States. In the middle part of the last century Britain had an interest in oil production in the country of Iran. In their unequal dealings with the Iranian people Britain took the lion’s share of the benefits in the arrangement. Needless to say, the Iranians were not happy to have a foreign presence despoil their country and its natural resources.
When the democratically elected president of Iran (Mohammed Mossadegh) decided that his people should share in the profits from their oil deposits by nationalizing petroleum companies, Britain and the U.S. decided to get involved. The U.S. sent CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt to the area. If the name sounds familiar it should. He was the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt. He was given a few million dollars to generate unrest and violent demonstrations which had the desired effect. Eventually Mossadegh was overthrown.
…the CIA replaced this democratically elected leader with Mohammed Riza Pahlavi (the “Sha”), a despotic friend of Big Oil … The lessons of Iran were clear: An empire could be built without the risks of war and at far less expense. The CIA’s tactics could be applied wherever resources existed that the corporatocracy wanted. (Perkins, 2008: 166).
Contrary to what our government and corporate controlled media tell us, those in other countries do not hate us because of our freedoms. They do not hate us because we are different or wealthy. They hate us because our government, at the behest of corporations, uses force and aggression for their own selfish purposes — at our expense.
What do we the little people get in return for this endless warfare? We get mentally, and physically, broken men and women who return from foreign wars thereby causing a drain on our most precious resource — our young people. We also get soaring debt and high inflation. So high in fact that many Americans can barely afford to put gas in their car just so they can make it to work to pay for a home they can barely afford and eat food they have trouble paying for. All this so others will hate us and want to do us harm. Do not believe anyone who tells you that war is good or necessary or does anything but harm.