No Money in Peace


I don’t see the point of further discussion of the Republican War in Iraq. The president is stubborn and only repeats himself. The war will go on. The country will bleed blood and treasure. In the end, Iraq will end up with a dictator of one sort or another, which is what it had before the war.

Hopefully, a new president will end it, though I would wait a few months before placing any bets. War, as it is being fought in Iraq, is a highly profitable operation for the war service industry, which Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld created. They called it "outsourcing." I call it "mercenaries," and there are now almost as many of them in Iraq as there are uniformed soldiers. As always in war, it is highly unprofitable to the young men and women who have to fight it on military pay.

Unlike the military-industrial complex, which likes to build weapons whether they are ever used or not, the war service industry requires an on-going war and occupation to keep the cash flowing. The biggest mouth swallowing all of this government cash belongs to Cheney’s old outfit, Halliburton, and its subsidiaries. It has a lot of influence.

Unfortunately, nobody seems to have figured out how to make a dime out of peace. I easily predict that until somebody does, there will always be more war than peace.

There is a new book out that delves into this privatization of war. It’s called Betraying Our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War. The authors are Robert Bauman and Dina Rasor. What they uncovered is enough to make you throw up.

We should all pause from time to time to give thanks for nuclear weapons. The military-industrial complex made a big mistake when it came up with those. They are so destructive that nobody knows how to survive a nuclear war, much less profit from one. Hence, we’ve never had one and probably never will.

Limited wars with conventional weapons, however, hit the spot. They keep the money flowing while the profiteers and their assets remain safe and sound, far from the sound of the guns. Only the paid peons and innocent civilians die. There are always the flap jaws who will stand up, wave the flag and scream, "These boys are dying for freedom," when they are really dying for Halliburton or some other corporation.

An old Marine, Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, called it right decades ago when he said war is a racket. The racketeers get rich on war while the poor boys die in them.

If we look at war in its proper perspective, as the common defense of the country, then we can plainly see that when it becomes necessary, it becomes the common duty of all citizens. Therefore, no one should profit from it. There is no reason except corporate greed and political corruption why weapons and other materials of war should not be supplied at cost. There is no sane reason why some should become millionaires while others become corpses or mutilated wrecks.

If all we are interested in is freedom for the Iraqi people, then why are we insisting that they pass an oil law that meets our approval? It isn’t our country. It isn’t our oil. Why should we care how they dispose of their oil in their country? If, of course, our mission is merely freedom.

What a laugh that is. It’s sad to say it, but we’ve become a nation that boasts some of the best liars in the world. They work full time duping the American people into supporting policies and actions that are not in the interests of this country. Maybe one day we will all wise up. It takes time. Nobody likes to admit he’s been scammed.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.