Sunday, March 09, 2008
I've already referred below to Bob Herbert's March 4 column in the New York Times, in which he discusses the true costs of the Iraq War. His analysis was so good that I believe it merits a second look.
A DailyKos correspondent called "Forgiven" provides that second look, reminding us that "The truth is that the cost of a war is more than the money spent on men and material, as if it were some business venture that can be tallied with a nice spreadsheet and budget. In today’s world, war is packaged like a corporate enterprise complete with sanitized videos and reporting to make it more palatable to the disinterested masses."
I'm sure everyone remembers the sophisticated advertising campaign that preceded the war and how it was carried gratis and enthusiastically by the broadcast networks and major newspapers, and the many appearances of Cheney and Rumsfeld and Kindaloser Ricepuffs on "Meet the Press" and the other bobblehead interview shows, softening up the wide-eyed, innocent masses with their well-calibrated propaganda about "mushroom clouds" and WMD. What we saw then was actually phase I of the Iraq War -- that preliminary campaign in which the public is manipulated and bullied into accepting the murderous plans of our biggest and most blatantly evil corporation: War, Inc., mostly through the efforts of our servile and sycophantic mass media.
We've seen the nefarious operations of War, Inc. many times before, most notably in Vietnam and Central America during the '80's, but they've never marketed such a blatantly destructive product as this Iraq War, involving as it does brazen violations of international law. In addition, as Herbert's column emphasized with a quote from Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, "Because the administration actually cut taxes as we went to war, when we were already running huge deficits, this war has, effectively, been entirely financed by deficits. The national debt has increased by some $2.5 trillion since the beginning of the war, and of this, almost $1 trillion is due directly to the war itself ... By 2017, we estimate that the national debt will have increased, just because of the war, by some $2 trillion."
War, Inc. has now taken this country perilously close to insolvency, and transformed Iraq into a smoking, stinking ruin in the process. It has gutted the future of our Social Security, formerly one of the most reliable bases of our prosperity, as well as sabotaging the possibility of rational, universal health care for all U.S. citizens. In doing so, War, Inc. has made war not just against "the terrorists," but against us as well.
At the beginning of this war, most of us swallowed the Kool-Aid, internalized War, Inc.'s lies, and cheered on our plucky commander-in-chief as he strode the carrier deck with his codpiece leading the way. How many would still be willing to do so today, as we gaze on the shattered ruins of what were just a few short years ago our glittering prospects for the future? How many of us still think war is good?
As Forgiven explains, "Why is war good? It is good because it fuels the transfer of wealth from the middle-class to the wealthiest. It fuels the military-industrial complex and the war profiteers who in turn feed the lobbyists, who in turn purchase the politicians. You can’t spend all that money on war material and preparation and not use it."
Hence, Vietnam. Hence, Iraq. And I'm telling you, this is going to change. War, Inc. must die. It's economically non-negotiable, for starters. The money is gone, and our credit is blown. Have you ever seen a war foreclosed upon? You're about to see it.
Obama says change is coming. He doesn't know the half of it.