Who benefits? It’s a good question to ask in virtually every political matter. Another rule that should be included as a corollary of this one is follow the money.
In virtually every war that the United States has been involved, someone realized gain. This isn’t news; it’s a standard of high school history books. Saddles were sold at great profit to the U.S. Army in the second world war, and, of course, never used.
And I don’t think it’s a secret that George W. Bush was interested more in the money-makers than the rest of the citizenry of this powerful nation. “We’ve hit the trifecta!” is just not the right thing to say after viewing the destruction of an important site.
A bit earlier, Donald Rumsfeld had announced the privatization of the military. According to Rumsfeld, this frees up money and frees up the military to concentrate on military things. What it does is to exchange a $20,000 soldier for a $60,000 contractor. It initiated a security nightmare, an infusion of private contractors into war zones who either needed military protection or were themselves protectors – a law and force unto themselves.
So, who benefits? It should be obvious that the huge hike in costs and the degradation of performance from privatization are billed directly to the U.S. taxpayer. The contractors are suddenly given a license to steal, and who, exactly is going to stop them? How did they do it? How did the public become pawns in a government takeover by corporations?
I think it might be a good idea to get back to the idea that wars have usually been about monetary interests. Military involvement in Viet Nam had much to do with U.S. interests in the region. And war is always big business. Anyone asking why we are still in Afghanistan or Iraq should be asking the key question: who’s making money? A hidden agenda of the Iraq “war-that-was-not-declared” was instilling free market capitalism into the area. (Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is a good place to start for just how well so-called free market capitalism works.)
It can be impossible to pull the threads of events without them just breaking off. Corporations are often companies within companies within companies, dummy letterheads and imaginary people. But someone benefits, and for some reason the rich just keep raking in money. Now that the process is in full swing, there seem to be very few politicians who will put on the brakes. There is great resistance to reverting the Bush tax cuts, and again – who benefits?
Is it those politicians who insist that the tax cuts be made permanent? Or is it their masters – the shadow people who give them the money and resources to be re-elected? The ones who give them the revolving-door, well-paying positions after their tenure in government? With this kind of a system, should we be surprised that the infamous Project for the New American Century wanted to wage at least two wars on two separate fronts simultaneously in perpetuity?
The neo-cons are now discredited and seem to be gone, but the people who were part of that group are still there, and their beliefs have not much changed. They concentrate on hitching their wagons to a star and right now the stars are burning overtime. It no longer matters that we proles know the truth of any event. We are powerless to do anything about it. And that’s how they want it.
When we voted for Obama, we thought we heard something in his message that might stem the tide or ameliorate the damage. But it almost appears that he switched sides. ‘Listening to both sides’ is tantamount to saying that both sides are correct. But the wrong side seems to be winning almost all the time. On our basket ride to hell, we might reflect that the pace may have slowed but the destination has not changed.
I fear that the outcome will be the collapse of the economy. It’s not like this is a new thing, but the bank bailouts were an example of casting unregulated money before swine. The money financed bank buyouts, remodeling, virtually anything that didn’t involve actually injecting money into the economy; the mass of workers who are the economy.
Short-sighted businessmen are not new, either. But a return to slave society, even to the degree we’ve seen so far, is really untenable in our brave new world. Without circulating currency, there is no economy. Rich people don’t spend money – they make money with it.
How long can we exist in free-fall? We are already in a situation where people are not buying the products that keep the fat cats in business. If we stop the military incursions in Iraq and Afghanistan and don’t continue on to the next victim, what will drive our economy? How many Amway salesmen and saleswomen can the ex-middle class produce before it all falls apart? How many self-employed handymen can the infrastructure withstand before it all begins to fall down? How many millions of jobless workers can there be before abject poverty sets in?
Who benefits? Nobody.