Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Iraq Game Show is All About the Money

Whether you call it "oil profits" or "weapon's profits" or "campaign contributions", the fatal Game Show that is Iraq is all about the money.

Bruce K. Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and has written an opinion piece about the mounting debt of the Iraq avdenture. The full essay is below. This phony war on terror is costing as much as the Vietnam War and Bush is going to Congress soon to ask for more moola.

Gagnon correctly draws our attention to current events. "In our recent national election, the people voted for a change in policy in Iraq. The message seems to have reached Washington and their answer to the public appears to be 'OK, we will change our policy. We will dramatically increase the amount of money we are spending on the war and we will send even more troops.' Not quite what the 62 percent of Americans who oppose the war had in mind." No, not by a long shot.

What's it all about? As Gagnon points out, "Our nation's No. 1 industrial export product today is weapons. In 2006 the U.S. exported more than $21 billion in weapons —— up from $10.6 billion the previous year."

One has to ask why spend all this money on weapons and war when it goes without saying that the crippling debt would be better spent on infrastructure, as Gagnon suggests "building trains, solar panels or windmills."

Howard Zinn stated it bluntly in his speech
on The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism
in Madison, Wisconsin, rcently aired on Democracy Now! He said,
And if you know some history, you would understand something which is even more basic, perhaps, than the question of lying about this war or lying about this invasion, lying about this intervention, something more basic, if you knew some history: you would understand a sort of fundamental fact about society, and including our society, that the interests of the government and the interests of the people are not the same.

The interests of the Bush administration, as with the Clinton administration before it, are not the people's interests in security, family, food on the table, and a warm place to sleep. The interests of the government are only the interests of the giant corporations that pay the way for the elections. And of course the interests of those giant corporations are only to make themselves rich.

This is no where better exposed than in the fake war on terror. The money being squandered in order to kill so many people rather than to do good in the world is not even good financial sense from the point of view of social investment. It would have a greater impact and return in social growth and development if invested in education, building infrastructure, and putting people to work. However, the capital intensive investment of the weapons industry does make sense when it is seen that the point is to funnel profits into the pockets of certain corporations and the people who own and control those corporations.

The other fact exposing the fake war on terror is teh death ration of combatants to civilians. In World War I the ratio was approximately 80% combat casulties and 20% civilian deaths. In World War II it was about 50-50. Since Vietnam, the ratio is now about 20% combat deaths and 80% civilian deaths including about 30% children. For the weapons profits going into the pockets of corporation chieftans, we are killing as many children as combatants, and add on top of that the men and women civilians.

Zinn also reminded us of the Nazi Goring's quote about how these phony wars are able to get the support of the people whose interests the war is directly against.
“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war? But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same way in any country.” -Herman Goring, from the book Nuremberg Diary.

It is really very simple, there is no hope for the direction of human society until the majority of the people wake up and demand that their "leaders" be honest and kind. By lying to us and accepting those lies, we the people continue to allow the government interests to be different than our shared interests, and for the so-called "national interests" in war profits to be anything but the real national interests.

After being elected in a tidal change, the Democrats have not shown any cohesive understanding of what they were elected for. Many Democrats are even echoing Bush's call for more troops in Iraq in total disregard of the election results. Only a small minority of Democrats are daring to say that the troops must be removed without delay.

You can count on your fingers the number of Democrats who are willing to say openly that the War on Terror is a phony and a fake, and none of them are being given any space in the national media. Why? Because their camaigns are funded by the corporation culture also, and they are afraid to do anyting but lick the hand that feeds them.

Democracy is a wonderful system compared to monarchy or dictatorship. But democracy is subject to fascist currents and today we in the USA have a fascist democracy in which the democracy of the people has been usurped by the giant corporations. This is done through the great money machine that ties industry and corporations to the military and uses the national media as the propaganda machine to fool and lull the voters into going along with the politician's personal interests rather than with the people's interests.

Viewed over centuries, political progress is incremental and is in the right direction. But if the setbacks are to be mitigated and the progess to be steady, the people must vote against the interests of the politicians in government and even vote against their individual interests on occasion, to vote for the shared national interests defined as progress for the greater betterment of the human condition.

Alan Gregory Wonderwheel


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Times Record
Of Mid-coast Maine: Brunswick and Bath

OPINION

Funding Iraq war, killing our country

11/21/2006 By Bruce Gagnon

The Bush administration is preparing to submit a request to Congress for up to $160 billion to fund the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for fiscal year 2007. This will be on top of $70 billion that Congress has already approved for 2007.

Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on "terror," roughly two-thirds for Iraq. The cost of the entire Vietnam War, in today's dollars, was $536 billion.

The UK's Guardian recently reported that Bush told senior advisers that the U.S. must make "a last big push" to win in Iraq and might increase U.S. military forces by as many as 20,000 soldiers.
In our recent national election, the people voted for a change in policy in Iraq. The message seems to have reached Washington and their answer to the public appears to be "OK, we will change our policy. We will dramatically increase the amount of money we are spending on the war and we will send even more troops."

Not quite what the 62 percent of Americans who oppose the war had in mind.

The net result of this new policy will likely be more violence in Iraq, more hostility toward U.S. troops, more casualties on all sides and a deepening quagmire.

Another important result will be that the Democrats, who so far have been most willing to support all Bush's funding requests for the occupation of Iraq, get locked in to the "new policy."

Bush has long said that in his remaining time in office he will not bring the troops home. Thus the only way to end the costly and outrageous Iraq fiasco is to cut the funding for the occupation. This is ultimately how the Congress had to end the war in Vietnam.

Soldiers are now coming home from Iraq and not getting adequate treatment from the Veterans Administration because of lack of funding. Cutbacks in social programs are now becoming the norm in the U.S. as we spend 50 percent of every tax dollar on the Pentagon budget.

Our nation's No. 1 industrial export product today is weapons. In 2006 the U.S. exported more than $21 billion in weapons —— up from $10.6 billion the previous year.

Studies have long shown that military spending is capital intensive. In other words, each million dollars spent on military production creates far fewer jobs than if the money were invested in any other kind of job creation effort, including building trains, solar panels or windmills.

America is now hemorrhaging jobs and our debt is more than $8.6 trillion and growing by $2 billion a day. We'd better wake up quick and tell the Democrats that they must stop funding this war. It's killing our country.

Bruce K. Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
On the Net: www.space4peace.org

2 comments:

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

At some point all of you "its all about money and cheap oil" crackpots need to point out exactly who gets to make any money off of this cheap oil, or else just shut it and move on.

RoseCovered Glasses said...

You make many good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armements”

http://www.rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com

The Pentagon is a giant,incredibly complex establishment,budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Adminisitrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particulary if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefor he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is ablsolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen unitil it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagon instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.