Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Business of America: Endless War

By Travis Kelly

In the 1920s, President Calvin Coolidge famously said, “The business of America is business.”

Current trends forecaster Gerald Celente offers a new twist to fit the times: “The business of America is war... The forty-year War on Drugs; The ten-year War on Terror; the Afghan War (longest in American history); the eight-years-and-no-end-in-sight Iraq War; the covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen; and most recently, the ‘time-limited, scope-limited kinetic military action' in Libya.”

Whether they are paying off or not in terms of national security or the domestic good, certain vested interests work to prolong these wars. When California failed to pass Proposition 19 in the last election (full legalization of marijuana), two platoons of lobbyists were mobilized to defeat the issue: the liquor lobby and the prison employees' unions.

A third interest group was the army of prosecutors and defense attorneys who process this flood of humanity through the largest prison system in the world. With 5% of global population, the U.S. houses 25% of the world's prisoners — 2.3 million. Drug offenders compose about half of this total. At an annual average cost of $22,000 per prisoner, many states near bankruptcy are now wholesale paroling some of the most violent and dangerous prisoners. Scaling back the war on drugs, or at least decriminalization of marijuana, would be a far better solution.

But the War on Drugs is peanuts compared to the foreign wars and entanglements we're mired in: the Iraq and Afghan wars now cost $12 billion per month, compounding the $1.2 trillion total so far. Rather than reversing George Bush's “shoot first, ask questions later” foreign policy as promised, Obama has expanded the war into Libya, Yemen and maybe Pakistan eventually.

The 60-day grace period for executive military action without congressional consultation granted by the War Powers Act has ended. Obama's claim that we're not really engaged in “hostilities” there, despite spending $10 million per day, is another egregious instance of the Orwellian Newspeak started by George Bush to evade legal restrictions (”enemy combatant,” “unitary executive,” “enhanced interrogation”).

Republicans who mostly goose-stepped behind Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq are now up in arms against Obama's illegal adventure, while Democrats who opposed Bush's muscular foreign policy are now mostly in lockstep behind their man — a pathetically political Jekyll-and-Hyde dance.

There are, however, a few pols with principles beyond knee-jerk party loyalty: Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC, who opposed Bush's foreign policy) have filed a joint complaint in the U.S. District Court of Columbia challenging the legality of Obama's Libyan intervention.

Their stance is buttressed by many “paleo-conservatives” — Pat Buchanan, [and paleo-libertarians] Ron Paul, Justin Raimondo, Lew Rockwell — who lament the hijacking of traditional GOP non-interventionism by the gung-ho Neo-con chickenhawks.

Read the rest here.



  1. The latest war is actually Somalia:

  2. He forgot Somalia...