Sites of Interest
(courtesy Empire Burlesque)
A Tiny Revolution
William Blum/Killing Hope
The Distant Ocean
Welcome to the Sideshow
Mark Crispin Miller
Crooks and Liars
Black Agenda Report
The Raw Story
Iraq Vets Against the War
Blues and Dreams
Bright Terrible Spirit
" I died for freedom, this I know,
For those who bade me fight have told me so." -
- Lines from a poem published in England during the early months of WW1.
Itâ€™s the oldest Federal game in the book. Convene a war, rally the plebes to their â€œpatriotic duty,â€ and then sit back and watch the Fat Catsâ€™ profits soar. The U.S. government has been engaged in this dodge sinceâ€¦ oh whoâ€™s counting?
Major General Smedley D. Butler of the Marines, twice decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor, dedicated his life to defend democracy abroad. One day he woke up to smell the afore-mentioned Rodentia Giganticus. Written in the wake of World War One, his bookâ€™s title says it all: War Is A Racket.
Who pays? The same helpless, naÃ¯ve, conned taxpayer: You. Who profits? The profits go to the same place from which the propaganda derives: those slimy bloodsuckers in league with the devil: the Industrial-Military Complex.
Former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin referred to these people when he described the 1918 House of Commons as â€œa lot of hard-faced men who look as if they had done very well out of the war.â€ Baldwin is also famous for saying that: â€œWar would end if the dead could return.â€
But I digress.
Iâ€™m not even going to mention the dead, mutilated and mentally ruined soldiers and their families who have paid with heartache. I shall forgo discussing the meagre wages, the post-traumatic stress, the broken down equipment with which they fight and the dearth of graves back home in which to bury them.
Iâ€™m talking about those who get off easy by only having their pockets picked to death and about those who pick the pockets.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are no different from the ones in which Major General Butler served, except that the causes of Georgeâ€™s wars are more blurred, shadowy and secret, in short, devious, than any past U.S. wars. Still, there is cause for joy in Mudville: for some the outcome has been more profitableâ€¦ if you are a mercenary or other war profiteer, that is.
Not counting subcontractors, there are today in Iraq and Afghanistan an â€œarmyâ€ of 100,000 private contractors hired to serve the U.S. military. Where do they come from? One account states that the US is furthering its pursuit of offshore outsourcing by drumming up these soldiers of fortune in Chile and South Africa. What do they do? They provide security for our multi-million dollar army. Say what?!
The DOD must think war is like a computer game.
Why does the professional mercenary company Blackwater USA provide security, which is really the militaryâ€™s job. What security? Last I heard, our beloved leader could not get into Iraq to meet Prime Minister Maliki. Due to insurgency activity, the Baghdad airport was closed.
One wonders if mercenaries buy innocent civilians from warlords and then turn them in to the military, for a reward, as â€œterroristsâ€? As it is, we do know that hapless Iraqi and Afghani civilians are whisked away to Gitmo for permanent vacations. Gee, that sounds like a good racket to me. The mercenary would get paid twice for the same job! Bounty hunting has never been so good. Who cares if the captured are innocent or guilty?
What else do contractors do in Iraq? Some peel potatoes for the troops. Whatever happened to that time honored military tradition? Many of these contractors are â€œrebuilding Iraq.â€ Rebuilding Iraq?! What the hell! What a load of codswallop! We havenâ€™t finished destroying it yet! Isnâ€™t that a little bit like putting the Howitzer before Der Kublewagen? You bet it is. And itâ€™s not by accident either. Itâ€™s by design.
How many of those private contracting companies are actually doing honest work?
Letâ€™s see, Parsons Corp. have robbed congressionally approved borrowed money to build such edifices as the fabulous open-sewer Baghdad Police College. Offshore outsourcing at work! Providing microbe-infested water in support of the troops, Halliburton is the most famous for tax-dollar travesty.
How about all that oil that was supposed to pay for the war? Ignore for a moment the fact that stealing, smuggling and selling oil across the border has turned out to be a cash cow for the insurgents. Just how was this oil money supposed to pay for anything anyway? It wasnâ€™t. The â€œHoly Grailâ€ of the oil industry was always slated, and still is, if they can find a way to get their hands on it, to be the sole property of Big U.S. Oil.
Did any of those Iraq war money bills passed by Congress state that the money would come from Iraqi oil? Or was that funding to be conjured out of thin air? In other words, conjured out of your taxes, present and mostly future. That means your children and grandchildren will carry the brunt of paying for Georgeâ€™s war.
This seems an awfully shabby trade off for a war created by lies and deceptions. And weâ€™re not even winning it! Of course â€œwinningâ€ isnâ€™t really the idea. The profits come to an end if we â€œwin.â€ â€œMaintainingâ€ the war is the idea. Let the good times roll.
And whatâ€™s this? The Pentagon wants whatâ€¦ more money? What a surprise! Well, why not? We have to â€œsupport our contractors,â€ er â€œtroops.â€ The Pentagon wants at least another $100 billion. Now thatâ€™s staying the course! But God forbid we should consider spending less of the taxpayerâ€™s money. We may be getting ripped off to a tune of at least $4 billion a year through corruption. Seems like a rather low figure to me. Iâ€™d say â€œcorruptionâ€ is ripping us off by at least $348 billion and counting so far.
Oh well. All that tax money going into the pockets of the Bush Dynasty, Cheney Family â€œTrustâ€ and the other slimy bottom feeders is all for a good cause. Weâ€™re paying to defend a slogan - The Global War on Terror!
Major General Smedley D. Butler must be turning over in his grave. Considering the circumstances, he must be glad heâ€™s six feet under and not fighting Georgeâ€™s war â€œover there.â€
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.