Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Trillion a Year

An anti-war protester in Athens in 2007.
When's the last time you thought about our
ongoing, eternal wars and what
they are costing all of us?
A trillion bucks a year. That's what our wars are costing us. Every year. And not one dime of it is money we have. We borrow it all. Got that? We borrow $1 trillion every year to finance our wars in the Middle East. In no realm of logic that I know of does this make a shred of sense. And this is before we even begin to talk about the outrageous human costs of these wars. They are numbered in the hundreds of thousands: in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Untold innocent civilians plus thousands of our own men and women, killed, maimed, traumatized as the price we pay for empire. Plus the unspeakable emotional devastation visited upon millions of people by the loss of their loved ones. These ongoing wars are an outrage that beggars the language to describe. By what code of morality can we possibly justify these conflicts?

Well, Chris Hedges suggests one in this recent piece appearing in Truthout. The corporate moral code. It's actually a lot less complicated than religionists and philosophers attempts to craft a code of moral behavior for humans. Those tend to get complicated with all sorts of twists and turns and conditional situations. There is a certain amount of relativity connected with moral judgments in these traditional spheres, conditions which alter and distort a clear path to decision. It's not really a code. It's an imperative, an insistence that the only measurement, the only value is monetary, and consequently it's a black and white universe. Profitable = good. Limits on profit = evil. And war is highly profitable, whether the U.S. wins them or not. So war continues so corporations can make profit, and since they own Washington, including the White House, the people of this country are just about assured that the wars we're currently engaged in will be perpetual. At ferocious cost to all of us.

Because a myriad of human needs are sacrificed to Mars and his corporate acolytes. It's insane. But how often have I made that observation?
We drive up the deficits to wage war while we have more than 30 million people unemployed, some 40 million people living in poverty and tens of millions more in a category euphemistically called “near poverty.” The profits of weapons manufacturers and private contractors have quadrupled since the invasion of Afghanistan. But the cost for corporate greed has been chronic and long-term unemployment and underemployment and the slashing of federal and state services. The corporations, no matter how badly the wars are going, make huge profits from the conflicts. They have no interest in turning off their money-making machine. Let Iraqis die. Let Afghans die. Let Pakistanis die. Let our own die. And the mandarins in Congress and the White House, along with their court jesters on the television news shows, cynically “feel our pain” and sell us out for bundles of corporate cash.
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