Terry Jones is my favorite former Python. (He doesn't list himself as "former," which indicates that, on some level, Python is Forever.) His recent piece on the possibility of war with Iran
may be the best thing he's done since the Dirty Vicar sketch
(which offers a fairly accurate view of what I was like throughout my 20s).
In 2003 Blackwater won a $US27 million no-bid contract for guarding Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. For protecting officials in conflict zones since 2004, the company has received more than $US320 million. This year the Obama government contracted to pay Xe Services a quarter of a billion dollars for security work in Afghanistan. This is just one of many companies making its profits out of warfare.
In 2000 the Project for the New American Century published a report, Rebuilding America's Defenses, whose declared aim was to increase the spending on defence from 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent or 3.8 per cent of American gross domestic product. In fact it is now running at 4.7 per cent of GDP.
In 1989 I picked up an in-house magazine for the arms industry. Its editorial was headed "Thank God for Saddam". It explained that, since the collapse of communism and end of the Cold War, the order books of the arms industry had been empty. But now there was a new enemy, the industry could look forward to a bonanza. The invasion of Iraq was built around a lie: Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, but the defence industry needed an enemy, and the politicians duly supplied one.In a post
And now the same war drums, encouraged by the storming of the British embassy last week, are beating for an attack on Iran.
that appeared just before this blog's longest hiatus, I wrote about the business end of war. That post notes that...
...the Republicans are going to have to repair the economy -- at least to some degree -- once they get back into office. The only ideologically permissible jobs program will involve military Keynesianism, funded by yet more massive debt. That's how Reagan did it.
Of course, the right will need to prepare the way for that course of action with a propaganda barrage designed to portray America as militarily weak. A similar barrage flooded the media starting in 1977-1978.
If my suspicions are correct, then you should expect the new barrage to hit at some point during 2010 and 2011. The propaganda blitz will start with a flurry of alarming reports from the Army War College and similar institutions. These reports will pretend that the American infantry is still using muskets, the Air Force is still flying King Kong-style bi-planes, and the Navy is still sailing three-masted frigates. "And that's why we need to double our investment in weapons development now now now."
Or so we will be told. Watch it happen.
I watched. It didn't happen. Not for the first or last time, a Cannon prediction went bust.
But why didn't it happen that way? The answer, I think, has to do with a split within our elite class -- a struggle largely (but not entirely) fought within the Republican party.
On one side, you have the neocons. These are the people who brought you the Iraq debacle and who now want to create similar carnage in Iran. They believe that war can fix the economy.
On the other side, you have the hard-core libertarian ideologues. The most honest libertarians understand that the war business will always be a socialistic enterprise, no matter how much of it you Blackwater-ize.
These two sides have clashed for years. Call it the war over war.
The libertarian ideologues don't really care if war creates jobs. Although they will never so admit in public, the followers of Ayn and Milton have given up on America. America is, formally, a democracy, and libertarians do not like democracy. (Just ask Milton Friedman's grandson.) They prefer to see this nation strip-mined. As the United States slides into an ideologically pure state of barbarism, misery and filth, the elitists will retreat to their palatial chalets in Gstaad -- or perhaps to those floating man-made island enclaves you've read about.
The neocons are, in their own sick way, patriots. They don't mind inflicting violence and madness on millions of non-Americans in order to perpetuate American dominance. Obviously, any sane person will find that position indefensible and odious. But you can say this for the neocons: At least they care about whether this country has a future. The libertarians, for whom psychopathic greed is the only virtue, don't really care about anything except personal gain.
If you wake up one morning to find that all the talking heads on your teevee are talking about some ginned-up casus belli -- a porta-nuke on the Chicago river would do the trick -- and why this outrage against all human decency means that Tehran must be destroyed, you'll know which side won the war over over war.
If the United States continues to slide into third world status, if millions of people are reduced to living in cars, if people with MAs feel lucky to get jobs making burgers for Wendys, if secession becomes the topic du jour
, if the financial center of the world starts to shift away from New York, you'll know that the other
side won the war over war.
As Woody Allen once said:
"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose wisely."