War is Still a Racket
June 26, 2006
"Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war."
--USMC General Smedley Butler, 1933
It is well documented that all governments lie. It is also well known that they lie more when it comes to war. A government that proposes to carry out war that will not end in our lifetimes lies incessantly and we must stop giving it our allegiance. We must refuse to give it our children. Let us evict the military recruiters from our schools and the nation's shopping malls. Without fodder the cannons of militarism and empire cannot function.
Our soldiers have nothing to gain by going to war and everything to lose. War is a rich man's device that, if the truth were known, ignores the will of the people who have no say in it. Modern wars have no heroes but they inevitably produce atrocities and countless innocent victims. There can be no moral justification for civilized people of any nationality taking up arms against one another, unless one nation is directly assaulted by another. War is the tool of barbarians and tyrants and they are provoked by cowards hiding in safe places.
The underlying reasons for war are always cloaked in darkness and secrecy; otherwise, no sane person would fight them and we would be forced to live in relative accord. Our Plutocratic rulers, however, believe that war is more profitable than peace. Defense contractors cannot make billions by waging peace. Besides, what U.S. president would boast of being the "peace time" president? There is no bravado in peace. Armed to the teeth, the American hero, as exemplified by and glorified in Hollywood, are invariably men of extreme violence.
While those who initiate war invariably cloak their intentions in the language of patriotism, wars always have economic and ideological causes. In America the causes of war have their origins in corporate Plutocracy. Here, war is initiated at the behest of a corporation or a group of corporations doing business in a foreign country. The usual cause is that a foreign government has imposed some kind of restriction upon one these corporations. In the most virulent cases these countries will not allow their natural capital to be plundered by corporate marauders or privatized and exported. Some countries even insist upon public ownership of their raw materials which makes them the greatest menace to peace.
Nations that have not adopted capitalism as their religion traditionally refuse to allow their resources or their people to be exploited for profit. These nations nationalize their assets and rather than invading and occupying other nations, they provide free health care, unlimited education and other programs of social and spiritual uplift to their citizens. These are the dangers of socialism and communism that we were indoctrinated against since birth; the greatest scourge of evil the world has ever known. This is what they teach us in school and it is ingrained in our psyche to the grave.
Using the tax base for the public good, to create a prosperous peace time economy for all, of course, is positively un-American and anti-capitalist. It is a dangerous ideology that must not be allowed to spread, lest it result in eruptions of democracy, prolonged outbursts of peace and the equitable distribution of goods and wealth. If allowed to flourish, socialism would mean the abolition of Plutocracy and the end of socioeconomic class divisions. It would mean the emancipation of the working class from their Plutocratic rulers.
The Plutocrats know in their hearts of stone that the people lack the intelligence and wisdom to self govern. They know that we require leaders who are our moral and intellectual superiors who can teach us the value of free markets, fair trade, conquest, private ownership and insatiable greed. Thank God, we have them to look after us and to grind us into hamburger for consumption by the global elite.
In a nutshell, that is what war is about as it pertains to the American experiment. There are no noble causes to fight and die for. War is about private ownership of everything and everyone; the commodification of nature and people, subjugated to rule by a corrupt global economic elite. War is the result of humankind's oldest and worst nemesis-greed and lust for power over the lives of others.
War is comprised of roughly equal parts racism, fervent nationalism, propaganda and lies, herd mentality, religion, and the private ownership of materials and labor. War is the sum of humankind's worst attributes, bought and paid for in blood.
As terrible as war is, perhaps it exacts its greatest toll on the combatants themselves-the soldiers. Acting in the belief that they are spreading light into the darkness of the world they are, in fact, doing exactly the opposite. They are stamping out the light of understanding, rationality, and hope. The soldier thus becomes the horrible thing they are vainly trying to destroy. All of this is possible because they have blindly followed men without hearts and conscience, men devoid of souls, who have misled them into the burning depths of hell from which there is no way out.
This is the sad reality we are witnessing in Iraq and the 135 nations where our armed forces are stationed, carrying out the sociopathic agenda of global domination and empire. Those whose minds are not truly their own are susceptible to control by the psychopaths who would use them for evil, just as soldiers have traditionally been the pawns of kings and emperors through the ages.
The lies espoused by our so called leaders do not matter on the battlefield. They do not matter when the bodies come home in oversized cardboard boxes, hauled by fork lifts to airport curbs and deposited at the feet of grief-stricken families like a commodity. In a sense, that is what they are. This is war's assembly line, where the bodies are packaged and sent home like a parcel, with the flag as a corporate logo printed on a box with the stamp "Made in America"; where lives are converted into cash for the global elite, a gift from the Plutocracy.
General Smedley Butler was right when he said in 1933 that war is a racket. It still is and always will be. War is the ultimate contempt for life; the ultimate betrayal of human potential.
Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org