Money, Munitions, and Man

I've already told a few friends something that I am here going to put in writing. I will, finally and for real, park my intellectual disdain for vulgar activism (and my sheer, flaccid unwillingness to put out the effort), and myself hit the streets with a placard or sandwich board to oppose any proposal to legislate a draft of our young men – and should they be included, young women – for this illegal war we are waging and losing in Iraq. (Pray to God that we, either ourselves or our proxy, Israel, don't decide to “win” it by going nuclear.)

Maybe I won't prove up to it, but if so I shall have proved myself a coward. Of course I really hope that a draft won't be attempted. But it seems to me it has to come, if we don't take action to leave Iraq. And, if we don't follow up such a wise move with a regrouping of our military into a force entirely defensive, giving over once and for all the deadly, insane idea that we are WorldCop and need to see to the ordering of the whole globe.

I just got through a lunch with a good friend, an engineer, who shares my view of this. We are both Navy vets, I of WWII and he of the post-Vietnam era, when he served an enlistment in nuclear submarines.

We recognize that we don't speak for the majority, but both of us are with General Smedley Butler, who wrote the book War Is a Racket. Certainly this one in Iraq is; we are throwing away the lives and health of thousands of young men and women for ugly money reasons.

I include in thrown-away health the moral being and future careers of those caught up in sadistic practices on the margins of war – in the prisons in Iraq, for example – who are unlikely ever to return successfully to anything like normal life.

Any number of honest people have written of what they have learned in our recent wars – that they are unmitigated horror, fomented, fostered, and conducted by evil men for money, for the power over other men that money gives. In his mid-20th century translation of the New Testament, the great priest Ronald Knox translated “Mammon” in the NT passages that employ the word (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16: 9, 11, and 13) as, simply, “money.” I happened just now to look up the same passages in The New English Bible (Cambridge University Press, New York, 1972) and discovered that the translators of it have also used “money” for Mammon in two places, and in two others “wealth.”

Luke 16:13 in The New English Bible: “No servant can be the slave of two masters; for either he will hate the first and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and think nothing of the second. You cannot serve God and Money.”

There is a great sundering here. It is for all men, so the Lord says quite flatly in this passage, to choose one of two ways. The way of love and service that God requires and the Lord has spelled out for us, or the way of domination and war that is the mark of Mammon, the way of the money power.

The whole, huge munitions industry, the thing Eisenhower, in a moment of unusual clarity called the “military-industrial complex,” is a Mammon operation top to bottom, with wonderful returns for the worshippers. We (relatively penniless) peons are all suckers for a murder-for-money racket slathered over by a corrupt and complicit government; touted by the evil media as pure, distilled patriotism; and led currently by a moral cretin with an ego that balloons the greater with every crashing failure of intelligence or war.

I am truly grateful to Lew Rockwell and his associates and supporters for the chance to occasionally air my thoughts. Saying, “I protest” may not count for much as against the smooth, slick representations, accompanied by “generous contributions,” that the international money-munitions power makes to our so-called representatives in Congress, that collection of bought dullards (Ron Paul and his group excepted) that regularly betrays us in Washington.

But in the end I think we, the peons, shall win if we are faithful to God. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but eventually. Because we are for life and love, and the other team is for woe and death. As the Lord is my witness.

July 19, 2004