Von Klauswitz said, "The sole cause of war is undefended wealth." This seems a rash oversimplification of a most complex and persistent problem. Yet, von K. is still highly regarded as one of history's foremost authorities on things military, required reading at West Point and other institutions of the 'military mind.' What, in Herr von Klauswitz's considered and revered opinion, did he mean by such a statement? It looks, for all the world, like another way of saying, "War is armed robbery." If this is true, then it was a most prudent Public Relations move, and an ingenious and timely marketing ploy following WWII, to change the name of the U.S. War Department to the Department of Defense. This fumigated the pesky odor of crime, bleached the stigma of aggression, and still encourages patriotic compliance and support. Since then, all things with a 'defense' tag have been held as sacrosanct: 'Defense' budgets inflate explosively, immune to cuts; Blood-merchant 'defense' contractors even achieve preferred status, clothed in false innocence and 'benevolent' strength...all for the 'common good.' Any opposition to this juggernaut of piracy is then depicted as attacking our common defenses.
Nonetheless, such opposition has come, not only from the consistent Public outcry, but from many in our pantheon of true American 'Greats,' all in positions to know whereof they speak:
General George Washington saw a standing army as inherently dangerous to our Liberties, and warned against allowing it...correctly.
Abraham Lincoln announced the 'enthronement' of the corpirations by 1865, "...because of the war...," and predicted the destruction of our Republic in a rising flood of greed and corruption...correctly.
Mark Twain and the Anti-Imperialist League spoke loud warnings against the acts and consequences of Empire...correctly.
General Omar Bradley eloquently warned after WWII of our increasing focus on war-making... correctly.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex...correctly.
Theodore Roosevelt warned against "...that most dangerous of classes: the wealthy criminal class...", correctly.
General Smedley D. Butler even wrote a book, War Is A Racket (1932), in which he said, "I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism." Where von Klauswitz's statement was an exquisitely diplomatic way of blaming the victim for the crime, Smedley Butler's language is in blunt American English, leaving no room for intellectual mincing. General Butler goes on to recount his participation as a hired killer of dark-skinned people in China, Haiti, the Philippines, and elsewhere, for American corpirations.
Redefining war as highly organized crime, according to Herr von Klauswitz and all these great Americans, then overturns the very way we see war, and the very ways we think about it. This sheds a new and terrible light on our own national conduct toward those of other nations. Once we entertain the possibility that covert forces within our nation have used us personally, and have used our awesome national might to work piracy and plunder on other countries, we recognize this possibility's becoming a likelihood, and then a certainty. This is shocking enough on the face of it, that America's People could be so deep under the spell of the military-industrial cult that we've been party to the rape and pillage of any of the rest of the planet for someone's gain. There are further revolutionary revelations...
Having turned over this one rock, redefining war as crime, and exposing the corpirate criminal vermin there, let's not freeze up in shock and awe. In the revolutionary spirit of leaving no stone unturned here, let us have the fortitude to recognize that the furtive forces, the corpirations and bankers who have subverted and corrupted our highest offices, have in fact been making war on us. They have, at least since 1865, seen America and all our riches...our natural resources; our Human resources; our groundwater, lakes, streams and seas; our very atmosphere itself...as undefended wealth, ripe for plunder and exploitation. They have succeeded nicely, so far. Yet this success is based upon our not recognizing its true nature. Not recognizing it, we'd not even see the need to defend ourselves. We'd be pressed into compliance and cooperation and 'patriotic' submission to their illegal wars they wage on others, and on us.
We've long thought of war as a clear division between us ('friend'), and them ('enemy'). To prevail, we defend our weak spots and mobilize our strengths to pierce their weak spots and destroy or neutralize their strengths. Our victory means securing our position, and gaining control of their position. For defensive aims, victory ends any threat they've posed to us. For offensive aims, victory gives open access to their natural resources, Human resources, political machinery, and real estate, all their wealth and power as prizes of war...plunder. Making war without real defensive reasons...lying about the threats...is, then, offensive war for plunder, confirming von Klauswitz's naming war as Armed Robbery. We traditionally have seen this highly organized-criminal looting as limited to the extent of their undefended wealth. Yet the modern machinery of war-thievery ravages a booty far greater and more valuable than theirs: yours and mine.
Having lied to us repeatedly about 'threats' and 'sneak attacks' is itself a blind-side attack on our ability to make informed decisions about our own life-and-death issues. This has defeated us at the outset, leaving undefended our own natural resources, Human resources, political machinery and real estate, all our wealth and power...to be plundered at will by the the very apparatus of our own 'defense,' with the active collusion of 'our' politicians. It's becoming more starkly clear by the hour that this is the circumstance in which we in America and our world find ourselves, today. One hundred fifty years' covert insurgency by the corpirations and bankers have drenched us and our flag and our world in innocent blood. It has obliterated wide swaths of our Life Support Systems, fouling the Earth, the waters, and the sky. It has gutted the lawful sovereignty of America's People and others' around the planet. Rigged for ever-greater profits for ever-fewer individuals, it lays waste to ever more and more.
What does this mean in dollars and sense? Take a glimpse of General Butler's numbers
for WWI, alone:
Corpiration Peacetime avg. annual profit Bloodmoney avg. %Increase
duPont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,000,000.00 (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$58,000,000.00 . . . . . >950%
Bethlehem Steel . . . . . . . . . . $6,000,000.00 (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$49,000,000.00 . . . . . >800%
U.S. Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$105,000,000.00 (1909-1914) . . . . . . . $240,000,000.00. . . . . >100%
Anaconda Copper . . . . . . . . .$10,000,000.00 (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$34,000,000.00 . . . . . >300%
Utah Copper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,000,000.00 (1910-1914) . . . . . . . .$21,000,000.00 . . . . . >400%
Central Leather Co. . . . . . . . $1,167,000.00 (1911-1914) . . . . . . . .$15,000,000.00 . . . . . 1100%
General Chemical Co. . . . . . . $800,000.00 (1911-1914) . . . . . . . .$12,000,000.00 . . . . . 1400%
International Nickel Co. . . . . $4,000,000,00 (1910-1914). . . . . . . .$73,500,000.00 . . . . . . 1700%
American Sugar Ref. Co. . . . . $200,000.00 (1911-1914). . . . . . . . $6,000,000.00 . . . . . . 300%
122 meat packers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200-300%
340 coal producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100-7856%
WWI corpirate ripoffs for which we taxpayers (the 99%!) are still paying (again, this is a partial list):
- 35,000,000 pairs hobnailed shoes (for 4,000,000 soldiers)
- Hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles (for non-existent overseas 'cavalry')
- 20,000,000 mosquito nets (for troops in France; not one delivered)
- 40,000,000 additional yards of netting (?!!)
- $1,000,000,000.00 for airplanes, engines (for France; not one delivered)
- 4,000,000 extra sets of 'gear' (knapsacks, contents) (obsolete 'surplus' at war's end)
- 6,000 buckboard wagons (not one deployed)
- $635,000,000.00 for wooden 'ships' (wouldn't even float -- gone)
$52,000,000,000.00 WWI cost to U.S. taxpayers, for generations
.....and this is just looking under one little corner of the rug, as of the end of WWI.
* * *
Regarding how the government and the war-profiteers 'support our troops,' consider the 'Bonus Army:'
American troops in WWI were promised a 'victory bonus' of $1,000.00 each (to those surviving) at the successful conclusion of the conflict. This would have been a hefty chunk of change then, especially handy in a Depression. Fourteen years after the end of the War, in the depths of the Great Depression, they still had not been paid this bonus. Tens of thousands of these veterans converged on Washington in the 'Bonus March' in 1932, demanding their promised reward. In support of these veterans, General Butler stood as their spokesperson, to encourage them and advocate for them. This gathering in Washington D.C. was then actually attacked by active-duty U.S. troops, to end the 'demonstration' and disperse the massed vets. One adult and one infant were killed in the melee. Commanding this attack were Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, later to become such vaunted 'heroes' in WWII, the 'good' war. The significance of that treatment of American veterans then is not lost on us, today; that betrayal is typical of the behavior of the military-industrial cult in all its highly profitable dealings around the world...making our country so 'great,' so famously loved and respected everywhere.