Beyond Greed

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"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
                Demosthenes

Anchor for this item  posted March 21, 2003 at 8:14 a.m. MDT

Is Uncle Sam behaving like a psychopath?
The popular image of "Mr. P" is very unfortunately mstaken: the dripping-blood leering chainsaw wiedling monster is some sort of extreme sociopath, but the psychopath is much more likely to get his rocks off through shrewd and heartless manipulation than pure gore; Mr. P isn't motivated by sadism so much as the need to excercise his will. The real characteristic is absence of conscience, a real lack of shame.
American foreign policy, I'm sorry to say, is drenched in blood. Whether it's putting the fascist Pinochet in power, or meddling with Nicaragua, or slaughtering Panamanians to get at Noriega when he started acting independently (the official line had been "He's a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch"), or propping up Hussein's minority group because the majority community might be on good terms with Iran (the same way the minority was put into power In Lebanon ... the same era the CIA overthrew the democratic government in Iran to put the Shah's regime in power) ... it's a bloody tale of corporate interest.

Much decorated and beloved Marine General Smedley Butler, writing 20 years or more before President's Eisenhower's warning against the military industrial complex, described his military career in "War is a Racket" (1935):

" If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
[...]
I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." [my emphasis throughout bdt]
There is an alternative to war for greed ... the choice of war or nothing is a false choice offered by those who are motivated by greed. The processes of civil society are raw and slow and clumsy because they are new, often untried, and constantly being sabotaged by the oligarchs who have a near monopoly on wealth and power. Like the elite who executed Christ and Socrates, the greed-frenzied megalomaniacs are allergic to the good; every year hundreds and perhaps thousands of community workers are murdered, kidnapped, arrested, tortured, or simply "disappeared" by instituted power ... yet this does not rate as "state sanctioned terrorism" (why is the US pouring military aid into Colombia, the state that is worst of all?!).

The Bush / Rumsfeld / Wolfowitz gang are preaching "might makes right". How is that different from "power comes from the barrel of a gun"? Have the robber-barons dropped the mask and become gangsters? It has happened before: "A curious footnote to American history suggests that, except for the personal integrity of a remarkable American general, a coup d'état intended to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt from office in 1934 might have plunged America into civil war." ("An American Coup d'État?")

Here's a site that really deserves some good press: Ending Corporate Governance; We The People Revoking Our Plutocracy is the page I have onscreen just now, and here is the full text of Smedley's "War is a Racket" (1935) which is on the site's "Crimes Against Humanity" page along with The Enemy Within, by Gore Vidal. The page is fabulous on its own; site is quite awesome.
"An American Coup d'État?", which ends "the plot that Butler exposed - if what MacGuire claimed was true - is a sobering reminder to Americans. We were not immune to the sentiments that gave rise to totalitarian governments throughout the world in the 1930s. We make a serious mistake when we assume, 'It can't happen here!'", is part of Friendly Dictators Trading Cards
Another site my Smedley googling brought me was first Smedley Butler on Interventionism in the Military Analysis section of the site for Federation of American Scientists.

[Note: Kurdish interests may have to be bartered away to the Turks because of ham-fisted bullying by US maniacs: Turkey had been offered between US$15B and US$20B (how's that for arm-twisting!) for right of way ... which they refused ... but then granted over-flight (which puts them on the list of 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 [you pick a number!] who are in the coalition!) ... and so they wanted the bucks ... and US now says that deal is no longer on the table ... but they got overflight ... so now the Turks feel jerked around *well DUHH!*. Day 2 and the dog-fighting is about to begin.]

Who gets control of the US$6B in approved contracts for humanitarian aid? who controls the multi-billion dollar reconstruction?


 

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Human need, not corporate greed ... without justice, there can be no peace. That's the meme stringing these items together.



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