War, what is it good for?

Op ed by Keith Brumley March 2019

 

Edwin Starr, in his 1970 hit single asked “War, what is it good for?” His catchy answer was “absolutely nothing!”

On the face of it Mr. Starr’s point seems obvious. But if so why has the United States engaged in seemingly endless war in places like Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan and Iraq, since Mr. Starr’s song hit the charts? Why are policy makers in Washington D.C. fomenting for more war in Venezuela and Iran? Apparently, war is good for something as the U.S. continues engaging it.

Perhaps our policy makers, being graduates of Ivy League schools, know something of war’s benefits of which mere commoners are unaware? Perhaps they believe endless war is a means to maintaining and sustaining the affluent lifestyle we enjoy in the Unites States?

One argument may be jobs. Isn’t it true the defense industry is a major source of jobs for Americans? After all, President Trump was willing to turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s murdering of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to keep an arms deal in place to “save American jobs.”

While it is true that companies like Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed Martin make many billions of dollars manufacturing and selling their weapons to the Pentagon and countries like Saudi Arabia, profits are concentrated in the hands of the 1% – the CEOs and shareholders. War is “good” for them. Not so much for the rest of us. Certainly not for people on the receiving end of those weapons, like the war-torn victims of Yemen.

Professor Heidi Garrett-Peltier, in a 2017 studyLinks to an external site. published by Brown University’s Watson Institute, found that “federal spending on domestic programs in health care, education, clean energy and infrastructure creates more jobs, dollar for dollar, than military spending.” The reality, as David Swanson of World Beyond War notes, is “spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better-paying jobs.”

So it turns out, while war may be “good for” CEOs and shareholders of war profiteering corporations, it’s not for the rest of us. Taxpayers would get a bigger bang for the buck if we funneled money away from the Department of Defense and instead poured that money into funding Medicare for all, free college education, repairing and replacing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and enacting a “Green New Deal.” It would produce more and better jobs. And best of all, no more bombs ripping through school buses in Yemen.

Okay, but surely Americans are wealthier and happier because of our bellicose belligerence, right? Surely we enjoy lower “prices at the pump” and have a greater sense of security because of our endless wars?

In a word, no.

The U.S. contains roughly 5% of the world’s population but consumes nearly 30% of the world’s natural resources. If the rest of the world consumed like us we’d need several more planets to sustain all that consumption.

Even with all this consumption, the United States did not make the top 10 list of the World Economic Forum’s “happiest countries in the worldLinks to an external site.” in 2018 (we were 18th). That honor went to Finland, followed closely by Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Oddly, these countries aren’t making war on anyone at present. Perhaps the adage is true – “Anything war can do, peace can do better.”

The U.S. did lead the field in one area – anti-depressant use. Clearly endless war isn’t making us happier or more secure.

In fact, the imperialist policies of the United States make Americans less secure. It may seem strange but most people resent invading armies, drone strikes in the middle of the night, and covert CIA operations toppling their elected governments. That tends to make enemies, not friends.  

Imagine the friends the United States would have the world over if we spent even a third of the trillion dollar (yes, with a “T”) defense related budget to provide medicine, food, shelter, roads, bridges, and education to countries we presently bomb or occupy with military bases? Rather than being viewed as the most threatening country to world peaceLinks to an external site., the United States would be the most loved.

Bloated “defense” budgets and endless war does not produce “good jobs,” does not make us wealthier or happier, and does not make us more secure.

So, back to Edwin Starr’s question – “War, what is it good for?”

He was right. “Absolutely nothing!”

 

Venezuela – how the coup is planned

– Kevin Zeese
Those in solidarity with Venezuela and opposed to US imperialist regime change need to understand what is planned in the US/oligarch coup so we can innoculate the US public to the misinformation that is going to be widespread.

We interviewed Dan Cohen who wrote a great article with Max Blumenthal on the ten-year effort by US regime change operatives to train the coup president Guaido, see The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader.

Margaret Flowers and I interviewed Cohen on our podcast, one thing we learned was that there are 1,000 CANVAS operatives in Venezuela. CANVAS got its start with US-funded and organized color revolutions in the Soviet bloc. Cohen got this information from the person in Florida paying for them – a former president of the Venezuelan oil company before it was made into a publicly owned company. Listen to the podcast here, The Rise Of A Fake President In Venezuela.

The coup campaigners are using color revolution strategies in Venezuela. They are in the midst of a humanitarian aid campaign against Venezuela, an excuse for humanitarian intervention. See Venezuela: US Pursuing Humanitarian Aid Path To War. That’s right the US conducts an escalating economic war since 2004, starves the economy and brings suffering to the people and then “saves them” with humanitarian assistance. Grotesque. The US as a humanitarian savior is the narrative they are going to try and sell the US public and the world. It is a bubble of BS that needs to be pierced.
One of the tactics will be to set up “humanitarian pathways” in Venezuela. They intend to get the people protesting for humanitarian aid (of course it will be a subset of people who are involved in this fake coup and oppose Maduro, but the crowds will look large). Those CANVAS organizers are very likely in the process of doing that organizing right now. One news report said this would begin after February 12.
One goal of the humanitarian aid gimmick is to divide the military, i.e. make them choose between staying loyal to Maduro and fighting US imperialism or getting aid to people in Venezuela who are struggling. Color Revolution strategists know that dividing the military from the president is the most important ingredient to a successful regime change operation. It increases the success of the regime change significantly.

Those opposed to US domination of Venezuela need to be ready for this as the media is likely to be filled with images of Venezuelans calling for humanitarian aid. This will confuse people who do not realize this is orchestrated by US/oligarch regime change campaigners. This tactic will not be easy for Venezuela to combat. They are going to need a lot of help fighting back against US imperialism and an oligarch coup disguised as a people’s revolt.

Please share this with people who oppose US imperialism in Venezuela and elsewhere.

KZ
@KBZeese
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Statement of support for Nicolás Maduro and against intervention in Venezuela

The Executive Secretariat of the São Paulo Forum expresses its profound rejection of the decision of the Government of Donald Trump, of Canada and of several Latin American countries to support the illegitimate presidency of the opposition Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, contrary to the popular decision expressed in May 2018, when the people democratically elected compañero Nicolás Maduro for the presidency of the country.

The elections of 2018 were legitimate and recognized by various sectors of Venezuelan society, including the opposition. The Venezuelan political-electoral system assures the population a broad voting right and has transparency and verification mechanisms. He was praised by the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, and now by the former president of the Spanish government, José Luís Zapatero, who joined the delegations of international electoral accompaniment.

The group that now wants to assume the command of the country is a minority group and does not accept the popular demonstration. This group uses the support of the Trump Government and its puppet governments in the region. Trump has already demonstrated on several occasions that he does not respect the sovereignty of other countries and international agreements, in addition to having attitudes that are openly opposed to peace and dialogue for the resolution of conflicts.

We call the countries of the continent to respect the sovereign decision of the people and the principle of nonintervention.

Together in the São Paulo Forum, we will fight for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to reach their full sovereignty and independence!

Monica Valente
Executive Secretary
São Paulo Forum

Green Party Peace Action Committee Supports Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Syria

Calls for Withdrawal of All Military Forces From the Region

The Green Party Peace Action Committee supports the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, consistent with its broader call to end all U.S. acts of military aggression, occupation, and intervention in the internal affairs of all sovereign nations.

A chorus of commentators in the corporate media, leaders of the military-industrial complex and members of Congress from both corporate parties were quick to condemn President Trump’s announcement of the planned withdrawal last month. Although the criticisms were framed as opposition to President Trump for his poor judgment, which made the criticisms more politically palatable, the real reason for this opposition is that the U.S. ruling class has long pushed for the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria — especially after President Bashar Al-Assad rejected Western plans for a $10 billion pipeline to ship natural gas from Qatar to Turkey in 2009.

Some Americans who ordinarily oppose U.S. war and intervention may find themselves persuaded to oppose the withdrawal because the initiative came from Trump. However, such opposition is ill-founded. To support a particular action by the president does not imply support for the president himself, trust in his judgment or motives – or even that he will make good on his promise. Such actions must be evaluated on their own merits. In this particular instance, for whatever reason, President Trump has announced an action that merits support by the peace movement and all Americans. He should be encouraged to take further like actions, not criticized simply because so many of his other policies and statements merit criticism.

Criticisms of the proposed withdrawal are based on the flimsiest of pretexts. Many critics cited Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis’s resignation in protest after Trump’s announcement, lauding Mattis as a “stable figure” in the administration. In aligning themselves with the likes of Mattis, critics are making common cause with a sociopathic warmonger who dismissed reports of civilian casualties in Iraq, and once remarked that it was “a hell of a hoot” and “fun to shoot some people” in Afghanistan.

Other critics feigned concern over the fate of Kurds in Syria, ignoring the long U.S. history of using the Kurds as a surrogate force and political football, repeatedly courted and rejected as U.S. ruling class interests dictate. Although Kurds in Syria were concerned about being attacked by Turkey, they were savvy enough to see which way the wind was blowing and are already reaching a rapprochement with the Assad government to ensure their security.

Finally, critics raise the specter of a resurgence in ISIS if the United States leaves – a criticism made ridiculous by a tremendous body of evidence showing that the rise of ISIS was itself a product of U.S. intervention in the region.

More importantly, critics of the withdrawal overlook two fundamental facts. First, U.S. funding of insurrection in Syria, and its bombing, drone strikes and military occupation of a large swath of Syrian territory are all utterly illegal under international law. Like all U.S. attacks on other sovereign nations, these acts are in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Charter and the United Nations Charter, all treaties to which the United States is a signatory. These acts, ordered in the first place by former President Obama, were also patently unconstitutional, made possible by an abdication of Congress’s exclusive constitutional authority to declare war.

Second, the attacks on Syria, like all U.S. attacks on other sovereign nations, do not in any respect serve the interests of the working-class majority of the United States. Rather, they represent the designs of Big Oil, the military-industrial-congressional complex, the Deep State, and other ruling-class interests that profit immensely from U.S. domination of the globe and perpetual warfare.

These acts of war do not enrich working-class people. They represent an enormous theft of financial resources badly needed to combat climate change, provide health care for all, higher education for all who desire it, and economic security for all. Military spending does not create jobs; it destroys jobs. Every bomb dropped and every drone strike represents millions of dollars less for schools, health care, affordable housing, public transportation, infrastructure repair, and essential services.

And of course, every bomb dropped and every drone strike on working men, women and children in nations like Syria is a thoroughly immoral and inhumane act, causing mass death, incalculable human suffering, and contributing to a global refugee crisis.

We stand with the people of Syria in demanding an end to all foreign intervention in Syria, restoration of its national sovereignty, and an end to the seven-year nightmare the people have been living. An end to “intervention” must include not only the removal of all U.S. ground troops, but the removal of all occupying forces, mercenaries, private contractors, an end to CIA and other covert intervention, an end to support for surrogate forces in Syria, and end to attacks on Syria staged from Iraq or other countries, and an end to aerial assaults on Syrian territory.

We further call on the peace movement and all concerned Americans to demand that the Trump administration and Congress put an end to all U.S. acts of military aggression, occupation, and intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations, close all U.S. foreign military bases, and conduct U.S. foreign policy in a peaceful manner, in compliance with international law.

 

Gather Endorsements for letter to the ICC – Probe Israel’s War on Palestinians

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A letter written by the Green Party US Peace Action and International Committees to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been endorsed by the Green Party US.  This letter urges the court to investigate Israel for war crimes against the Palestinian people and will be delivered to the ICC at the Hague in November.  The letter will be circulated to peace and justice organizations and influential individuals around the world requesting their endorsement prior to delivery.

Go here right now and add your support.

Our goal is to convince the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes against the Palestinian people.  We also want to demonstrate to the world that there are people in the United States who want to hold Israel accountable. We are in the process of forming a delegation of US Greens to deliver the letter. Thus far we have a tentative agreement from Ajamu Baraka, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, Miko Peled, and Marie Spike.

We do not want the world to think the views of the Democratic and Republican Parties on Israel are the views of all people in the United States.  We will demonstrate that the Green Party of the United States disagrees with the corporate duopoly. This will also send a message to people in the United States that there is a political party that stands for the human rights of Palestinians and against the war crimes of Israel.  We expect this effort will begin to change the political dialogue in the United States and garner international and domestic media coverage.

We urge Green Party members and other peace and justice organizations to widely circulate information about this project, and request appropriate endorsements. A form for online endorsement and full text of the letter is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSce1o1-C9FbudsiNncqI8vIn5jhV3nESglRHyzuKLxDq01KRA/viewform

A press release concerning this project is here: http://www.gp.org/probe_israels_war_on_palestinians