30 April 2018

War is a racket

Maj Gen Smedley Butler

War is a racket. One may have missed it in all the media hubbub, but Robert Fisk – an institution in Middle East reporting who has been dodging mortar shells, giving kidnappers the slip and ducking sniper bullets since the 1970s – who went on site to Douma, could not confirm that a chemical weapons attack even took place there, saying that the evidence of such an attack was ‘flimsy at best’. And now, residents of Douma have been brought before the Hague to testify, and they assert that no chemical weapons attack took place. The mainstream press of the United States, France and the United Kingdom have not been looking to either verify or challenge these accounts on a factual basis; instead they are seeking to smear the messengers.

War is a racket. As Syria was pummelled by an illegal missile attack by its former colonial oppressors, the stock values of ærospace defence concerns ‘lit up’, so to speak. Smedley Butler was never so right. And the first victim of these wars in the Middle East always seems to be the truth. Interventionist-minded Americans get to pretend they are doing good in the world and pretend that they care about Syrian lives – even though they don’t – all while the war profiteers enrich themselves at the expense of the poor, both here at home and where their death machines fell. Who cares whether or not a pretext or two for an unjust war was fabricated?

War is a racket. The words that fall from the lips of every American watching the news and every American hearing the endless drumbeat from the Beltway talking heads that our nation’s military power must be squandered in an endless fight to reshape the world must be: ‘Prove it.’ We must not allow our patriotism to be questioned, because we who oppose war seek our country’s salvation from itself. We should and must appeal, again and again, to that great statesman of our nation’s infancy, John Quincy Adams, and his words of caution against such foolish quests. We cannot truly be a guarantor even of our own freedoms when we allow, even by our silence, that the truth may be bought and sold, the way we can see it being bought and sold under our very noses.

War is a racket. Let’s not be suckered by it anymore.

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