Warfare Is Welfare for the Merchants of Death

W.J. Astore

Whatever else it is, the Russia-Ukraine War is a major money-making opportunity

Warfare is welfare for the merchants of death. Consider the Russia-Ukraine War. In the name of Ukrainian liberation, the U.S. Congress is preparing to approve another $37.7 billion in mostly military aid, bringing the total to nearly $100 billion in less than a year. This remarkable sum represents roughly 5% of federal discretionary spending, nearly the same as what the federal government spent on education in America this year. So far, all Democrats in Congress have supported aid to Ukraine, with only a minority of Republicans objecting.

Why is this? America is fertile ground for anti-Russian sentiment, but that’s not the main reason. It’s all about the Benjamins, as war is always immensely profitable for some sectors of society. Recall that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the disastrous rise of misplaced power represented by the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). Congress is heavily influenced by weapons contractors, not only through campaign contributions but by the jobs in their districts tied to the production of weapons of all sorts.

In a refreshing burst of honesty from the 1930s, the U.S. Senate referred to weapons contractors as “merchants of death,” and so they are. Weapons, from mundane bullets and artillery shells to “sexy” stealth fighters like the wildly expensive F-35, are designed to kill our fellow human beings. That’s why Eisenhower famously said in 1953 that humans essentially crucify themselves on a cross of iron when they prioritize weapons building over hospitals, schools, and other necessities of a civilized life.

More and more money to the merchants of death ensures three things: more power to weapons contractors, higher profits for them, and in this particular case a lot more dead Russians and Ukrainians. Some Americans seem to think it’s all worth it, though I’m skeptical about Ukrainian liberation being an important goal to officials in Washington.

Ike exhibited basic common sense when he noted the MICC is fundamentally anti-democratic. That it threatened our liberties and democratic processes. He told us to take nothing for granted, and challenged us to remain alert and knowledgeable. For when you empower the MICC, you weaken democracy. You also choose death over life.

Whether it’s the Russia-Ukraine War or previous ones like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the MICC has been and is making a killing in America and indeed across the globe— and in more ways than one. And as Ike said, that’s no way of life at all.

What is to be done? We need to start by recognizing that the MICC is fundamentally anti-democratic, often wasteful, driven by greed, and consistent with imperialism of the worst sort. Again, I’m not really saying anything new here; Ike, a five-star general and two-term president, said the same almost 70 years ago. His sentiments were echoed by James Madison when Madison wrote in 1795 that a large standing military and incessant warfare were deadly to democracy and liberty.1 Yet wars continue to find a way, and the MICC continues to thrive and expand its reach and power.

To resort to Scripture, not only is the flesh weak in America when it comes to reining in war and weapons: so too is the spirit. The spirit is unwilling because we are saturated in war and violence. An imperial vision like “full-spectrum dominance” has come to dominate American culture and society. Too many people believe that freedom is best projected and protected through the barrel of a gun.

The words of Ike come to me again when he said that only Americans could truly hurt America. The primary dangers are within not without. In that spirit, Ike warned us about a danger within, the MICC. We would do well to heed his warning if we wish to preserve and strengthen the tree of liberty.

How best to heed his warning? With respect to the Russia-Ukraine War, stop sending weapons that drive more killing. Put more effort on diplomacy. With respect to America itself, abandon the concept of a “new cold war” with Russia and China. Recognize America’s strength instead of focusing incessantly on hypothetical weaknesses. Stop listening to the screech of war hawks. Invest in life instead of death. Start from a place of life-affirming confidence rather than of fear and doubt.

There’s a powerful scene in “Enemy at the Gates” about the Battle of Stalingrad where Soviet political officers are debating how to inspire the troops to fight to the last. The Soviets had been relying on fear, and indeed at Stalingrad Soviet units killed thousands of their own troops for “cowardice” in the face of the Nazi enemy. One commissar is brave enough to offer something other than fear and death. “Give them hope!” he cries. Hope that they can and would prevail against a ruthless enemy.

That’s what we need in America today, a lot less fear and a lot more hope.

1

Madison wrote that: “Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.  War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.  In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.  The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.  No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

9 thoughts on “Warfare Is Welfare for the Merchants of Death

  1. You need the equivalent of an American Gorbachev with the wisdom and support to take on the MICC and bring Americans a vison of hope of a different world and society. Such a person would today be marginalized, bought off, kept out or black mailed by the corruptive influences of the Empire of MICC. It seems like that the only hope Americans have today is that the Empire will one day collapse; not a very positive vision. In the meantime, all they can do is register their votes of protest by electing one clown or another to disrupt the Empire as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Christ says, Blessed are the Peace Makers, for THEY shall be called the Children of God.
    In self-proclaimed ‘most Christian America’ they are marginalized as the Children of WAR are incited by the MSM, the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    Like

    1. Because The Kansas City Times was quoting me over 2 Generations ago on September 13, 1976, as any of you would if you were me, since then I’ve watched the unfolding events of this World more closely than most people including the paid professionals.

      “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO GOD’S BIDDING: To tell the World, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of BABYLON,” he said.” […] He wanted to bring to the Public’s attention an “idea being put out subtly and deceptively” by the government that we have to get prepared for a War with Russia.”

      I’m posting this because I generally agree with Scott Ritter’s interpretation of History in this video.
      That 1976 FUTURE is NOW with the Revelation of the details GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of the letter.
      The World is waking up to see Americans may hasten “its days are numbered” part of the 1976 Vision, and waits with bated breath.

      With the benefit of 45 years hindsight, the last 8 years of intensified FBI, Military, Intelligence and Think Tank “experts” on TV constantly, unanimously, demonizing Putin and Russia, with no dissent allowed, the People have been prepared, as the MSM incites the American people and NATO, CanaDa included as an obedient Vassal to the US for more WAR.
      As the Canadian Health care system is collapsing, Trudeau and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Freeland has already given $2,000,000,000 in BORROWED MONEY to Ukraine

      Few will recognize “this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered” as the 1st 2 parts of the 3 part Writing on the Wall from Daniel 5 in the Bible. The Writing is on The Wall!

      Like

  3. ‘Maligned in Western Media, Donbass Forces are Defending their Future from Ukrainian Shelling and Fascism’

    America is widely understood to be a key instigator behind conflict in Ukraine that has pitted brother against brother

    Smeared, stigmatized, and lied about in Western media propaganda, the mostly Russian-speaking people of the Donbass region were being slaughtered by the thousands in a brutal war of “ethnic cleansing” launched against them by the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv, which the U.S. installed after the CIA overthrew Ukraine’s legally elected president in a 2014 coup.

    Although the Donbass people had been pleading for Russian military aid to defend them against the increasingly murderous military assaults by the Ukraine government forces, which killed more than 14,000 of their people, Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to intervene. Instead, he tried to broker a peace agreement between the warring parties.

    But the U.S. and Britain secretly colluded to sabotage peace negotiations, persuading president Zelenksy to ignore the Minsk III peace agreement that the Ukraine government had previously signed, and which had been countersigned by Russia, France and Germany.

    Realizing that the U.S. and its NATO allies would never permit peace negotiations to succeed, Putin finally sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. Russian troops went in to support and reinforce the outnumbered and outgunned Donbass Special Forces who had been defending their land against attacks by the Kyiv government for nearly eight years…………………………………………………………

    https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/11/19/maligned-in-western-media-donbass-forces-are-defending-their-future-from-ukrainian-shelling-and-fascism/

    Like

  4. New developments on the US/NATO side in the US WAR with Russia over Ukraine in NATO so US boots could be on the ground right on the border of Russia. Imagine what would happen if Russian troops were on the Canadian side of the border with the US.

    Americans aren’t that exceptional. Russians think and feel the exact way Americans would feel in that situation.

    https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/it-networks/2022/11/21/five-allied-aircraft-carriers-to-join-6th-fleet-interoperability-tests/

    Additionally, the USAF deployed 6 nuclear bomb carrying B-52 bombers to Europe as a “MESSAGE” to Russia.

    The only MESSAGE the Russians get is to prepare for a possible US 1st strike.
    That’s why the US withdrew from the anti-ballistic missile Treaty signed with the Soviets in 1972 in 2001, so the US could deploy the anti-missile missiles that Treaty banned now in Poland and Romania, giving Russia only a 7 minute warning of a possible US 1st Strike.
    That US aggressive move compelled Russia to develop and deploy hyper-sonic missiles to retaliate so the US wouldn’t escape MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION. US tests on hyper-sonic missiles failed so far.
    What are the possibilities if Russia faces an EXISTENTIAL THREAT like that?

    Like

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