Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Perpetual and Prosperous War: The lure of profit is an obstacle to world peace.

The Afghan War is America’s longest war with no end in sight. Despite Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing troops in 2011, the projection is now out to 2014 and beyond. This is not surprising when one considers this war is part of the greater Global War on Terror, a continuous war that George W. Bush declared is “going to take a while.”

That “take a while” has transpired into a multigenerational permanent state of war. Albeit more sophisticated now than then, nevertheless, world history informs us that terrorism is nothing uniquely new and yet we have built a military and security goliath to combat it. It is “The New American Militarism,” an America politically, economically, and culturally addicted to war

As with drug addiction, “Wars without end” have become a windfall for the military and war’s dealers, the profiteers, financiers, industries, and contractors that find war and security extremely lucrative enterprises. A war without end maintains troops at combat-readiness, hardened and experienced, a level of readiness that training alone cannot duplicate. War enhances Congress’ willingness to authorize defense and security appropriations. It makes all those non-military industries that profit from war viable and prosperous. And, we have a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a “ hidden world, growing beyond control,” whose supporting industries also maintain their viability and prosperity from America’s fear of the next terrorist attack. And, all offer secure employment for a significant number of Americans.

Furthermore, “The active duty U.S. military alone enjoys a 666:1 advantage over the estimated number of al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, and Somalia,” and yet no success. Like the war on drugs, it certainly seems to be a “War of Futility.”

Now, concerning success, one has to ask, “Why would these players want to end war?” For it seems to me that expecting the DHS, Defense Department, a military contractor, Arms dealer of which the United States leads the pack, private military contractor, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Halliburton to work towards ending this war is like asking pharmaceutical companies to produce cures for diseases whose very existence depends on not finding cures.

Understand, our economic system is based on consumerism, and it depends on wear and tear, destruction and discardables, and there is not a better instrument for wear and tear or obliterating and wasting things that need to be replaced than war. War is about profiteering. To those who game the war system, profit is success.

Moreover, Eisenhower described the cost of war as “a theft” from those on the home front. Spending on research and development for war deprives America from advancements in beneficial technologies. War robs too many of our men and women from whatever future contributions they could have made in the lives of their families, their communities, and to America. War takes money that could fund education, improve America’s infrastructure, and fund a mountain of other social and environmental needs.

Essentially, Americans, the Pentagon, politicians, and capitalist do not have the will to end this absurdity. “And nowhere, not even in Iraq, is it clear that Washington is committed to packing up its tents, abandoning its billion-dollar monuments, and coming home.”


II Principe, “Perpetual War in Afghanistan,”

Dwight D. Eisenhower; “Chance for Peace Speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953”; Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission@

Paul Craig Roberts, a book review of Andrew Bacevich’s “The New American Militarism,”

Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, “A hidden world, growing beyond control,” Washington Post

Murray N. Rothbard, “The War System and Its Intellectual Myths,”

Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt, “Shooting Gnats with a Machine Gun,”

Tom Engelhardt, “War to the Horizon,”

Horatio Green, “A perilous and egregious journey of wars without end