Warfare Is Welfare for the Merchants of Death
Whatever else it is, the Russia-Ukraine War is a major money-making opportunity
Warfare is welfare for the merchants of death. Consider the Russia-Ukraine War. In the name of Ukrainian liberation, the U.S. Congress is preparing to approve another $37.7 billion in mostly military aid, bringing the total to nearly $100 billion in less than a year. This remarkable sum represents roughly 5% of federal discretionary spending, nearly the same as what the federal government spent on education in America this year. So far, all Democrats in Congress have supported aid to Ukraine, with only a minority of Republicans objecting.
Why is this? America is fertile ground for anti-Russian sentiment, but that’s not the main reason. It’s all about the Benjamins, as war is always immensely profitable for some sectors of society. Recall that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the disastrous rise of misplaced power represented by the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). Congress is heavily influenced by weapons contractors, not only through campaign contributions but by the jobs in their districts tied to the production of weapons of all sorts.
In a refreshing burst of honesty from the 1930s, the U.S. Senate referred to weapons contractors as “merchants of death,” and so they are. Weapons, from mundane bullets and artillery shells to “sexy” stealth fighters like the wildly expensive F-35, are designed to kill our fellow human beings. That’s why Eisenhower famously said in 1953 that humans essentially crucify themselves on a cross of iron when they prioritize weapons building over hospitals, schools, and other necessities of a civilized life.
More and more money to the merchants of death ensures three things: more power to weapons contractors, higher profits for them, and in this particular case a lot more dead Russians and Ukrainians. Some Americans seem to think it’s all worth it, though I’m skeptical about Ukrainian liberation being an important goal to officials in Washington.
Ike exhibited basic common sense when he noted the MICC is fundamentally anti-democratic. That it threatened our liberties and democratic processes. He told us to take nothing for granted, and challenged us to remain alert and knowledgeable. For when you empower the MICC, you weaken democracy. You also choose death over life.
Whether it’s the Russia-Ukraine War or previous ones like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the MICC has been and is making a killing in America and indeed across the globe— and in more ways than one. And as Ike said, that’s no way of life at all.
What is to be done? We need to start by recognizing that the MICC is fundamentally anti-democratic, often wasteful, driven by greed, and consistent with imperialism of the worst sort. Again, I’m not really saying anything new here; Ike, a five-star general and two-term president, said the same almost 70 years ago. His sentiments were echoed by James Madison when Madison wrote in 1795 that a large standing military and incessant warfare were deadly to democracy and liberty.Yet wars continue to find a way, and the MICC continues to thrive and expand its reach and power.
To resort to Scripture, not only is the flesh weak in America when it comes to reining in war and weapons: so too is the spirit. The spirit is unwilling because we are saturated in war and violence. An imperial vision like “full-spectrum dominance” has come to dominate American culture and society. Too many people believe that freedom is best projected and protected through the barrel of a gun.
The words of Ike come to me again when he said that only Americans could truly hurt America. The primary dangers are within not without. In that spirit, Ike warned us about a danger within, the MICC. We would do well to heed his warning if we wish to preserve and strengthen the tree of liberty.
How best to heed his warning? With respect to the Russia-Ukraine War, stop sending weapons that drive more killing. Put more effort on diplomacy. With respect to America itself, abandon the concept of a “new cold war” with Russia and China. Recognize America’s strength instead of focusing incessantly on hypothetical weaknesses. Stop listening to the screech of war hawks. Invest in life instead of death. Start from a place of life-affirming confidence rather than of fear and doubt.
There’s a powerful scene in “Enemy at the Gates” about the Battle of Stalingrad where Soviet political officers are debating how to inspire the troops to fight to the last. The Soviets had been relying on fear, and indeed at Stalingrad Soviet units killed thousands of their own troops for “cowardice” in the face of the Nazi enemy. One commissar is brave enough to offer something other than fear and death. “Give them hope!” he cries. Hope that they can and would prevail against a ruthless enemy.
That’s what we need in America today, a lot less fear and a lot more hope.
Madison wrote that: “Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both. No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
"The U.S. Has Killed More Than 20-Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II"
By James A. Lucas
Global Research, November 08, 2022
Bill, if one takes the time to read this depressing article - one thing that jumps out to you pretty quickly is in how many of these 37-"conflicts" - how many times the CIA comes up. That the US has not had a MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) foreign policy since WW2 is painfully obvious.
You wrote that - an imperial vision like “full-spectrum dominance” has come to dominate American culture and society. How about since WW2? Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.
How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII? The answer is: possibly 10,000.
Isn't the question to be asked - who sets America's Foreign Policy and decides it's time to "intervene" in a situation? And without these decision being made - surely the MIC is blameless? Aren't they just the tool used to get the job done once The Congress(?) has decided to act? When I tell my family that Victoria Nuland and the US State Department started this Ukraine/Russia conflict by intervening in 2014 - they laugh me out of the room as a crackpot. But it's true isn't it?
It’s interesting, Dennis, how frequently You cite here on BV that “America has killed more than 20 million people since the end of World War II” meme.
You state that almost as often as You claim that “America is the greatest country in the world” that people all over the world want to come to and live in. Maybe that’s because if they lived here, they wouldn’t have to be worried about being attacked by the American military, eh? At least not yet.
In any event, You raise an interesting question: Isn’t the MIC “blameless” for all this carnage?
After all, all it’s doing is providing the means, methods, mechanisms, and tools for those who establish, control, and direct American foreign policy and its hyper-militarism. It’s not the MIC’s fault that there are trillions and trillions of dollars to be made in their business; as long as they share it properly among all the stakeholders, shareholders, and other beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s bottomless pit spending capability thru its credit card wars.
In actual point of fact, nobody in the “Military,” “Industrial,” or “Congressional” wings of the MICC could get away with any of what it has inflicted on this Planet over the last 77 years without the willing acceptance by ~ and at least tacit endorsement of ~ all this by the American People. The same People who keep sending War Mongers to Swampland every election, and who keep dutifully sending money to the MICC thru either taxes or campaign donations.
The close to 1,000,000 people killed just in the post-9/11 Wars ~ to say nothing of the millions more who have been physically and psychologically maimed and crippled, or orphaned, widowed or widowered, made childless, and made homeless, hopeless refugees ~ NONE of that could have happened if the American People had not gone along with it completely from the very beginning on September 14, 2001, and the implementation of The Forever War’s AUMF.
So Yeah, You may be right. The MIC is completely and totally blameless for all this. After all, all it’s doing is patriotically and selflessly serving in the “Defense” of America against all forms of Evil. And it’s not its fault that there have been and will continue to be trillions and trillions of dollars to be made in serving in that “Defense.”
And just curious: If all this goes back to Nuland and the State Department in 2014, what did Corporal Bonespurs do during his 4 years on the throne to change ANYTHING about America’s role in what was unfolding and that would ultimately lead to America’s War in Ukraine against Russia? Other, of course, than to attempt to force the President of Ukraine to find some dirt on Biden that the Corporal could use in Election2020?