Money Machine

Spin up a nice social hurricane by internationalizing a civil war. As the wind rises, chaos ensues, leading to desperation, anger…and extremism, requiring more war, and so the machine cycles around, and the faster it spins, the more money flies off.

After two years of providing the bombs for Riyadh’s air war in Yemen, Washington has now faced up to the predictable–and widely predicted–outcome: a dangerous resurgence of al Qua’ida, which feeds off chaos. So the internationalization of the Yemeni civil war that constitutes the worst mistake of the Obama Administration is now sucking Washington further into yet another Salafi trap.

It is, of course, not that simple, for Salafi extremists–be they al Qua’ida, ISIS, or fundamentalist Saudi officials–will not be the only winners of this latest and rapidly worsening Mideast disaster. Those U.S. politicians who pander to the military-industrial complex for campaign funds or who just curry votes by parading as great military leaders will also no doubt reap their share of short-term payoffs.

Yemenis will, naturally, be the losers, as they long have been, as their nation is destroyed. Americans too will be losers, as their own nation experiences further undermining of democracy in the face of a surging military-financial-industrial complex whose war-profiteering seems immune to interference from mere politicians.

War leads to chaos, which leads to more war, and of course we allow those who build the bombs to make a nice profit. One could imagine a price structure that rewarded arms manufacturers only during peacetime; one could imagine a law prohibiting CEO’s of bomb-making corporations from earning a salary as long as the government is dropping their bombs. One could imagine legal penalties for bombing hospitals, markets, and wedding parties. One could imagine a Constitutional prohibition on executive branch wars unauthorized by Congress. One could imagine financial incentives for companies marketing nation-building hardware rather than nation-destroying hardware. But, were someone to be so rude as to suggest that capitalism might be employed to incentivize peace rather than war, such a troublemaker would immediately be shouted down as “unpatriotic.”

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