It has to be obvious to almost everyone that the US war machine is trying desperately to get another war going… and – at least for the moment – failing miserably.
Now, it’s entirely possible that they’ll get their war going before this article even reaches you, but still, it’s quite another question whether they can sustain it.
War is a wild beast, of course, and you can never tell what it’ll do once it’s released into the world. But the beast of 2013 seems a bit emaciated and weak.
This situation reminds me of the old set of posters and buttons from the 1970s that asked the question:
What if they gave a war and no one came?
That looks to be the case right now. But that doesn’t mean powerful interests aren’t pushing for it.
The Romans had a phrase that they used for legal analysis: cui bono, which translates to “who benefits?” Clearly, powerful individuals are pushing hard for the US to go to war. Let’s take a look at who these people are.
Early 20th century writer Randolph Bourne was ever-so right when he taught us that “war is the health of the state.” In times of peace, the state is commonly resented. After all, they forcibly remove money from the people in their control, and that engenders bad feelings. When terrified by war, however, people are willing to forget about such matters: It is better to be a serf than to be a corpse.
Consider the “great Presidents” – nearly all of them were associated with a war, and probably a big one.
I’m talking here about central bankers, not the operator of your local savings and loan.
War requires money, and lots of it. And money comes from central bankers, not from governments or even from simple printing presses. Dollars, yen, euros and the others come from central bankers, and those bankers get a cut of everything they create.
And then, of course, they get interest on those dollars from every business that needs loans for machines to manufacture bullets, uniforms, bombs, portable food, and everything else that goes into “giving a war.”
State-connected corporations thrive in time of war. These outfits are addicted to over-sized profits, and the very best tool for obtaining them is war. Nothing else comes close. So, for the sake of their stock prices, they need war and will push in dozens of ways to get it.
The Intelligence Complex
What’s not to like about war for these guys?
More money, worship on the nightly television shows, unlimited power, and no questions asked about your misdeeds… not to mention the segment of womankind that will reward the impressively violent with prompt mating privileges.
The Military Contracting Complex
There are literally thousands of military contracting firms these days, and all of the successful ones are allied with one government agency or another – a military service, a foreign affairs department, a retired general, a politician… someone with pull. It’s the only way to get work in those fields, and it’s also the best way for bureaucrats of the middle and upper levels to get kickbacks.
War funnels immense amounts of money to all levels of the state-corporate complex through this new conduit.
People Who Play On Emotions
Nothing stirs up “rah-rah” emotions better than images of dead people wearing your home team’s uniform. And that’s really good for the many people who cash in on your emotions. That list begins with politicians and continues with Hollywood (TV, movies and games) advertisers, all the people mentioned above, and even religious leaders. The churches of America fill with military rhetoric (and people) in time of war, and ambitious ministers play it up big. (With a few exceptions.)
So, that’s just a general list of people who benefit from war. The interesting thing about this moment is that the Western world – and America in particular – seems weary of the bloody exercise. They’ve had it for more than a decade, and the emotional surge has worn off.
And, it may just be that the terrified Americans who ran to politicians for safety in 2001 have grown up a bit.
Let’s hope so.