by Stephen Lendman
Obama plans more wars. The peace candidate can't get enough of them. Hawkishness defines his agenda. So does belligerently transforming independent regimes into client ones.
The business of America is war. Permanent war is policy. Peace is abhorred. Preventing it is prioritized. So is controlling Eurasia's vast oil, gas, and other resources unchallenged.
War profiteering depends on conflict. It's the American way. Post-WW II, it's been that way. One war leads to others. Proxy ones are waged. Sums spent are enormous.
Post-9/11 alone, estimates run into the multi-trillions. A June Brown University Watson Institute for International Studies (WIIS) "Cost of War" report said up to $5,444 trillion was spent and projected with all related expenses and obligations included.
In their book titled, "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict," Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes explained costs way beyond official numbers.
Wars incur many costs besides Pentagon budgets. They include medical care for injured combatants and veterans, federal benefits provided veterans, expenses for veterans paid by state and local governments, construction in occupied countries, supplemental budget and hidden add-ons, black budgets, intelligence costs, national debt interest related to war, weapons R & D, and other categories few people consider.
Among them - the macroeconomic consequences of militarism and war. They include lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, other neglected homeland needs, and suffering millions at home on their own, uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten to assure steady funding for America's war machine.
Military spending also affects debt, interest rates, jobs, investment, and neglected public needs overall. The more spent on war, the less available for more productive sectors. An overall macroeconomic loss results.
Moreover, so much hidden, unaccountable war/militarism related spending occurs annually that perhaps trillions more should be added to the above figures.
WIIS said direct and indirect war costs "have been consistently minimized, misunderstood, or hidden from public view." So have the shocking human costs and enormous future obligations. Undiscussed, taxpayers don't know where their money goes, how much, for what purpose, for how long, or why.
They've been lied to, cheated, and made to believe wars promote peace, democratic values, and national security.
America today is more than ever unstable, unsafe, and threatened by its own government pursuing policies harming the public interest.
According to Obamaspeak, America is "the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known."
Martin Luther King once called America "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." Imagine what he'd say now.
It's an out-of-control menace threatening humanity. It's the world's leading human rights abuser. Lawlessness defines its agenda. So doesn't waging war on peace to assure unchallenged global dominance.
Chalmers Johnson said we can have empire or democracy, but not both. Rome made the wrong choice and perished. Before his death, he said America's heading for "a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent."
He explained facts too important to ignore, including:
• a nation with no threats permanently at war;
• unaccountability on all policies at all levels;
• the most secretive, intrusive, repressive government in our history under either party;
• homeland social decay;
• an unprecedented widening wealth disparity;
• a de facto one-party state with two wings;
• the absence of checks and balances;
• a secret unaccountable intelligence establishment with near-limitless black budget funding;
(Note: despite 16 spy agencies, the Pentagon created another called the Defense Clandestine Service to work closely with CIA. It'll focus on major targets to assure "officers are in the right locations to pursue" key military aims.)
• a dominant corporate-controlled media serving as a quasi-state ministry of information and propaganda;
• a cesspool of unchecked corruption, stemming from incestuous business-government ties; and
• a more out-of-control military-industrial complex than perhaps Eisenhower ever could have imagined.
America, said Johnson, is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed past empires unwilling to change. Ahead he feared authoritarian rule, loss of personal freedom, and ruin.
Waging endless wars combined with neglected homeland needs and police state laws to quash dissent assures it. The worst of all possible worlds awaits.
Syria looks like the next war zone. Western generated insurgent violence is prelude to what's planned. So are multiple rounds of sanctions harming ordinary Syrians most.
On February 28, Reuters listed them. Briefly they include:
• targeting Syrian officials, embargoing arms, freezing assets, and banning travel;
• prohibiting imports of Syrian oil and imposing fines on firms investing in Syria's oil industry;
• sanctioning Syria's main mobile phone operator (Syriatel), the country's largest private company (Cham Holding), Addounia TV, and three construction and investment firms linked to Syria's military;
• additional sanctions on Syria's oil and financial sectors; companies targeted include Sytrol and General Petroleum Corporation;
• banning exports of equipment for Syria's oil and gas industry, as well as surveillance equipment;
• sanctions on additional Syrian officials and groups;
• banning trade in gold and other precious metals;
• prohibiting cargo flights from Syria;
• suspending relations with Syria's central bank;
• freezing assets of Syrian security forces and barring dealings with them; assets under US jurisdiction were frozen; and
• prohibiting US citizens from investing in or exporting services to Syria.
EU countries, America, Turkey, Arab states, and Australia acted individually or jointly.
Now there's more. On April 23, The New York Times headlined, "US Sets New Sanctions Against Technology for Syria and Iran," saying:
Computers, social media, and cellphones are targeted. Obama called it "one more step that we can take toward the day that we know will come, the end of the Assad regime that has brutalized the Syrian people."
He acted by diktat with no congressional approval. An April 23 Executive Order headlined:
"BLOCKING THE PROPERTY AND SUSPENDING ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES OF CERTAIN PERSONS WITH RESPECT TO GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES BY THE GOVERNMENTS OF IRAN AND SYRIA VIA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY"
Primarily targeting Syrian and Iranian entities, US firms are also instructed to obey them.
At the same time, EU nations banned luxury product sales to Syria that allegedly can be duel (military, civilian) use.
Moreover, EU and US officials keep wrongfully blaming Assad for insurgent violence. On April 23, The New York Times headlined, "UN Observers Prove Little Deterrent to Syrian Attacks," saying:
Security forces "engaged in a bloody game of cat and mouse against (UN) observers on Monday, seeming to punish cities like Hama after the monitors left for daring to protest, and adopting a low profile as the monitors visited the Damascus suburbs."
The Times supports all imperial wars and others planned. It reliably serves as Washington's de facto ministry of information and propaganda. All the news it claims "fit to print" isn't fit to read.
Since early last year, Western and regional states provided insurgents serving imperial interests with arms, funding, training, and on-the-ground direction. Assad's blamed for confronting their violence.
Like other articles, commentaries and editorials, The Times piece was full of misinformation, distortions, and ball-faced lies. "Activist" stooges are cited or quoted. Events on the ground are manipulated and falsified to assure violence (blamed on Assad) continues.
What's gone on for months will continue seamlessly. Monitors on the ground can't be everywhere. At issue is who they represent. Will their reports be credible? Or were they handpicked to assure what Obama wants to hear?
Washington planned Syria and Iran regime change years ago. Sanctions and insurgent violence alone can't accomplish it. Western intervention's coming. First Syria, then Iran, and later other targeted regimes.
A nation glorifying wars and violence assures endless conflicts. Its way of life heads it for eventual demise. At issue is will humanity perish with it? The possibility is real and frightening!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.