After the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003, I said, "Put up the yellow ribbons, folks, because Johnny ain't ever marchin' home again." And that was before I knew about the Pentagon's plan to launch seven wars against seven Middle Eastern nations.
In 2007, General Wesley Clark said that after the attacks on 9/11, the U.S. planned to launch seven wars against seven Middle Eastern countries: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. I suppose Afghanistan was already assumed to be the eternal home of the U.S. military, and I guess the country of Niger in Northern Africa was thrown in for good measure. And I suppose, too, that the Pentagon doesn't count U.S. military assistance of the Saudi Arabian war against Yemen.
Writing for ZeroHedge.com, Tyler Durden reports:
The fact is that all of these countries, with the exception of Iran, have been the subject of direct or indirect aggression and political pressure from the US and its satellites. There are US military forces that remain stationed in some of them still to this day.
Back in 2008, the RAND Corporation released a lengthy study on America's "long war." The study was called, "Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army." The report began:
The United States is currently engaged in a military effort that has been characterized as the "long war." The long war has been described by some as an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant western dominance, while others describe it more narrowly as an extension of the war on terror. But while policymakers, military leaders, and scholars have offered numerous definitions of the long war, no consensus has been reached about this term or its implications for the United States. To understand the impacts that this long war will have on the U.S. Army and on U.S. forces in general, it is necessary to understand more precisely what the long war is and how it might unfold over the coming years.
But, ladies and gentlemen, America is not engaged in a long war; it is engaged in a perpetual (never-ending, everlasting) war.
As Durden notes in his report, "War is Business."
On April 16, 2018 the news broke that some US senators were drafting a new war authorization bill. Its authors are Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. and Tim Kaine, D-Va. and its co-sponsors include Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Todd Young, R-Ind. The bill would regulate the president's power to press the US armed forces into service. But if one bothers to scrutinize even a bit all the work done by defense contractors and the political decisions related to combat operations, one can quickly see that there is a definite connection between the two. Therefore, any such restrictions can be not only political in nature, but also aimed at business interests. Both of the US missile strikes in Syria (April 2017 and April 2018) used Tomahawk missiles, which are manufactured by the American company Raytheon. In April 2017, when the US attacked a Syrian airbase (firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles), Raytheon surged 3% before paring its gain by half, but closed above its 50-day moving average and a 152.68 flat-base buy point. That put the stock back in buy range. Other Pentagon contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing, also edged higher. Interestingly, after April 11, 2018, Raytheon shares began to creep upward, rising from $219 per share to a ceiling of $228 by April 17. And this was despite the fact that most of the Tomahawks landed wide of their target.
Durden then concludes:
Given that the US political system is based on "iron triangles" — the intersecting interests of corporations, government officials, and special-interest groups — it is unlikely that any truly sensible decision will be made in the US in regard to the use of armed force that would make it possible to resolve conflicts by means of diplomacy instead. The interests of the American military-industrial complex are clearly more compelling than those of the organizations that specialize in negotiations and consultations. War (or, to use the official rhetoric: "military operations abroad") will be long, perpetual, and lucrative for the many actors involved.
See the report here:
In his classic book War Is A Racket, Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (who was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor) opened by saying:
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
General Butler went on:
[W]e [are] all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war - a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.
Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit - fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.
Yes, they are getting ready for another war [World War II]. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.
But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?
What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?
Yes, and what does it profit the nation?
Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.
It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people — who do not profit.
In the [First] World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.
So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side . . . it is His will that the Germans be killed.
And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies . . . to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.
Hear Butler again:
Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.
In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.
Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?
General Smedley Butler's book War Is A Racket is available here:
But not only are there monetary motivations for war, there are political motivations also. Bankers and war merchants are not the only ones who greatly profit during war, so do heads of state. In fact, nothing tends to make a president or prime minister more popular than war. The world's two biggest warmongering countries, the United States and Israel, are prime examples.
Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most unpopular leaders at home of any national leader on the planet. If it were not for the numerous Zionist billionaires around the world—and the backing of the U.S. government—who continue to prop up this criminal, Bibi would have been removed from office years ago. And, in spite of this massive international support, he's still the subject of intense criminal investigation that could yet lead to his political demise.
But no sooner had Bibi started bombing Syria and killing Palestinians in large numbers than his domestic approval ratings began to go up. Ditto for Donald Trump. Trump's approval ratings at home mirrored those of Netanyahu's. But as soon as Trump bombed Syria and threatened to go to war with North Korea and Iran, his approval numbers began to rise.
Much like Woodrow Wilson, who won re-election on the promise to keep America out of war, so, too, did Donald Trump. And just like Wilson, no sooner had Trump won the election than he began beating the drums of war. Wilson took the U.S. into the First World War. Trump is making all of the overtures of taking us into the Third World War.
The cycle never ends: Candidates win elections by denouncing war but often stay in office by starting wars. Nothing stifles public dissent like war. As former FOX News blowhard and overall reprobate Bill O'Reilly shouted, "It is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins."
Yes, once the fighting begins, there is no more thinking and no more reasoning. Once the fighting begins, peace lovers are suddenly reduced to unpatriotic enemy fraterniser status. Once the fighting begins, constitutional government goes out the window, as do morality, ethics and, of course, truth. Once the fighting begins, republics are turned into monarchies and citizens are turned into subjects. It really doesn't matter who the enemy is, as long as there is an enemy. So, the fighting must never be allowed to stop.
Smedley Butler was right: War IS a racket! It is a racket for the benefit of politicians, bankers and war profiteers. And right now, no one is running the racket better than Donald Trump.
P.S. I urge readers to order General Smedley Butler's powerful book, War Is A Racket, here:
© Chuck Baldwin
*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link:
I also have many books and DVDs available for purchase online. Go here:
To subscribe to my weekly columns, click here: