Saturday, September 18, 2021

Roger Waters, Two 9/11 Anniversaries, The War On Terror, And What Are You Going To Do About It?

In this YouTube clip, Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd), talking with Afshin Rattansi (of RT), reflects on two vital turning points in contemporary history, both of which occurred on the 11th of September. He speaks of not only the well-known 2001 attacks in the U.S. but also (and very movingly) about the lesser-known 1973 coup in Chile, which ushered in Augusto Pinochet and his reign of terror, to the horror of the whole world ... except of course for the American people, whose government sponsored the coup, and who live in a bubble which news of this sort cannot penetrate.

At the end of the interview, Waters mangles one of the least consequential details of the U.S. political system (how many states?), but still cuts to the heart of the matter:
We still need to hold on to the idea that we, the people, actually have the right to live in peace.

This endless war [bleep] ... is not working for any of us, except ... people invested in the military industrial complex, who are making ... trillions of dollars. It's a way of taxing ordinary people, because the money ... taken from the taxes of ordinary working people ... [is] divvied out amongst all the people who invest in defense. They protect them by spreading them out ... so every State in the Union has got a little bit of the war industry. And in consequence most of their representatives in Congress ... come under pressure from their little bits of the arms industry, not to cut military spending ... and in consequence a huge proportion of the tax revenue of the United States Government goes into perpetual war.
Many thanks, of course, to YouTube for reminding us that "RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian Government." That's the "information panel providing publisher context", in case you're not aware. I'd be a lot happier if the "IPPPC" could also remind us which U.S. news agencies have CIA assets embedded in their editorial staffs. But that would be all of them, so why bother YouTube about it? In any case:

Except for his reference to "all 52 states, or however many states there are now", Roger Waters is right, but there's more to the story.

The money goes to buy weapons and lives. Both are considered expendable. Using weapons means needing more weapons, and needing more weapons means buying more weapons, which means more money for the weapons manufacturers. So the weapons are not only "expendable" but "meant to be expended", so to speak.

The lives are expendable too; there are at least another 100 million available. The flow of lives is assured by constant barrage of propaganda and a ruined domestic economy. Potential military recruits often see no other option, and they believe in what they're signing up for ... until it destroys them. And sometimes even afterwards!

The weapons and the lives are expended in the destruction of foreign countries, the killing and maiming and uprooting of innocent people, and if it all seems like a senseless waste to you, that means you don't understand how it works, or why it's there, or what it's meant to do.

The value of every defense contract far exceeds the cost of fulfilling it, so the profits to the contractors are enormous, and guaranteed. The manufacturing costs are paid by the taxpayers, and so is the cost of the lives. The lives, of course, are supplied by the recruits, and the grief is borne by them (if they happen to live through it) and their families (whether they live or die). But none of them can complain, because they're all "heroes", and "thank you for your service", so they suffer in silence. And they suffer horribly, but not nearly as much as the victims.

The lives of the victims, and the damage done to foriegn countries, is usually negligible, because foreign lives and cities are worthless anyway. That's why this damage called "collateral", which means "over to the side", or in this case "of no consequence".

Or maybe the damage done to foreign countries is actually a benefit, because a potential enemy in rubble is less dangerous than a potential enemy with a functioning society. And if all this "collateral damage" stimulates animosity toward the U.S., and especially if it fuels the rise of terrorism abroad, that's also a plus, because it fuels the cycle.

And therefore the War on Terror can be seen as a perpetual motion money machine. Every time the U.S. attacks a foreign country, it kills more innocent people, which creates more terrorists, who then have to be destroyed, which costs more money, which generates more profits, which results in more pressure on Congress, which extracts more money from the taxpayers, which buys more weapons and more lives, which are expended in attacking more countries, killing more innocent people, creating more terrorists, who then have to be destroyed, which costs more money, which generates more profits, and so on ...

Many people see only small parts of this cycle. Some see "profits, profits, profits!" Some see "terrorists, terrorists, terrorists!" I see "innocent people, innocent people, innocent people ..."

This is the part that's usually hidden from the American people. And this is what I mean when I say patriotism is a political weapon.

Once you get past the weapon, once you see "innocent people, innocent people, innocent people," you cannot escape the obvious fact that the enterprise protected by this weapon is thoroughly evil, even though it generates enormous profits. And if you're a U.S. citizen (or only a U.S. taxpayer), the questions you must face at one point or another include: How much complicity in this evil scheme are you willing to bear? What proportion of your earnings are you willing to see spent in this way? and How many of your sons and daughters are you willing to sacrifice to this mass-murderous cause?

If your answer is ZERO, as mine was, the next question is:

What are you going to do about it?