"Soldiers work for corporations, not for the people."
Now, that's a statement sure to make angry nearly every man or woman - and their families - who ever served in the U.S. military. (I did not.) But, a person's reaction to the above is really of no consequence. The statement is true. Down to its core. No less a critic than this nation's only double Medal of Honor recipient said the same. Major General Smedley Butler (USMC) wrote in "War Is A Racket."
War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
Though written decades ago, the entire essay describes perfectly the intentions and actions of the Bush Crime Family and the breathtaking destruction they brought to our nation's institutions, the military more so than others, with their unlawful decision to enter into two wars of "opportunity" and two illegal occupations - Afghanistan and Iraq. The consequent damage from those decisions is, at this point in our history, incalculable.
However, one incident of nearly unimaginable violence for which Bush and Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld share immediate and direct responsibility occurred earlier today in Iraq when a US soldier opened fire on his comrades killing five of them as he waited in a clinic at Camp Liberty outside Baghdad. According to the AP, "Pentagon officials said the shooting happened at a stress clinic, where troops can go for help with the stresses of combat or personal issues. It was unclear whether those killed were workers at the clinic or were there for counseling. No details were released about the gunman or what might have provoked the shooting."
But, we can guess the provocation.
Cheney and the rest of the draft dodgers who operated the single worst administration in US history made a decision to force troops into repeated deployments to Iraq. This was the simplest method for keeping constant the number of American soldiers in that ravaged and bloodied country. While the re-enlistment rate of junior officers has steadily declined, and those resigning their commissions has steadily risen, the fate of the common "grunt" was decided by the same people who decided to legalize torture, justify unprovoked assault against a country unable to defend itself, and treat the law as nothing more than a minor inconvenience, something to be abridged or ignored altogether by using the weapon most favored by cowards and white collar thugs: the memo.
They repeatedly ordered the re-deployment of combat-weary men and women into the war zones - zones created to benefit corporate America - again and again. Twice. Three times. Four. Five. To Cheney, Rumsfeld and the desk jockeys in the Pentagon, the recurrent forced deployments and the resulting mental, psychological, and spiritual disintegration that overwhelmed the young men and women who believed they were serving their country meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. And to the civilian cadre of cowardly old men - the Bush Crime Family - who had utterly refused to join the active military when they were young and who had used every deceit possible to avoid conscription into the service, these soldiers were less than human. They had been reduced to mouse clicks on a video screen, numbers required to fill recruitment quotas, whose return in coffins was kept from being witnessed by those in whose name the Bush Crime Family insisted they had been killed for fear the somber sights and images would lessen the number of young people led to the horror of combat with promises of learning a "trade," or the hope of money for college.
Regarding the treachery of those who ordered World War I, General Butler wrote, "In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows. How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?"
The quick answer for the paid-up members of the Bush Crime Family is zero. None. Cowards - and each of them is a coward - stay home and order death and destruction to be unleashed thousands of miles away. If civilians are butchered in that process, it is "collateral damage." If our men and women die, it is "honor, duty, country." The corporations and their shills - in the instance of Iraq, the Bush Crime Family - make the profits and it is always the soldier who pays the bills, sometimes by going berserk at a military "stress clinic." Marine General Butler: "(It is the) soldier pays the biggest part of the bill. If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men - men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.
Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.
Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face" ! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan" speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.
Were Marine Corps General Smedley Butler alive today, what do you suppose he would say about today's killing of five US soldiers by one of their comrades? And, what would he say about the cowardly degenerates who ordered these wars and occupations to begin with?
More to the point, what do you say about it?
Mike Malloy can be heard daily on his radio show 9pm - 12pm ET. Visit www.mikemalloy.com to stream live or find a station near you.