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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
The profiteering frenzy incited by war knows no bounds:
Federal auditors now believe as much as $6.6 billion earmarked for Iraq might have been stolen in the early years of the Iraq war in what is now being described as possibly “the largest theft of funds in national history.” Between 2003 and 2004, the United States shipped $12 billion in cash to Iraq in what was the biggest international cash airlift of all time. For years, the Pentagon has been unable to account for where more than half the money went. The Los Angeles Times reports Iraqi officials are now threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations’ oil-for-food program.
The incident truly epitomizes the rationale behind most armed conflict, though the insatiable greed here boggles the mind. Just try to picture what exactly what transpired. As the invasion went underway, warmongers everywhere smelled the impending cash influx and flocked to the source as $12 billion in cash was physically loaded into aircraft and delivered to Iraq. Literally stacks of cash then went missing, as money-grubbing profiteers helped themselves to the bounties of the latest American war of aggression. Such is the norm in war, and has been throughout all of human history.
Because at its core, what else is war about? It represents the complete negation of social rules and norms, the abandonment of civilized principles for a temporary resort to the law of the jungle: brute force. It allows the more primitive, animalistic side of human nature to prevail, which enables the stronger individuals and nations to finally claim by force whatever it is they desired: women, wealth, natural resources, a particular geographic location. At the end of the day, that’s all that war is; you have what I want, so I’m just going to take it regardless of the cost to human life and limb.
It’s hard to believe that so many humans still accept war as an inevitable and even desirable part of society, and yet the ever-present specter of death and violence reminds us that this is so. Rejecting our faculties for critical thinking and analysis, our unique ability to communicate complex thoughts and therefore our capacity to solve problems through non-violent means, we choose to forget our status as thinking beings and return to the primitive ways of the instinct-driven animal.
But perhaps the biggest absurdity of the above story is the suggestion that this relatively paltry theft is ” the largest theft of funds in national history” – a preposterous notion which ignores the entire history of a society which is founded on corporate grifting. Americans have long prided themselves on the idea that we are a nation without classes, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nearly every aspect of our economy and government are geared towards enriching the elite at the expense of the masses; millions toil in menial jobs to barely keep their heads above water, while the richest among us trade meaningless scraps of paper to reap the billions that the little people make possible.
The corporate bailouts of recent years are but the most blatant example of the corporate thievery that has marked American society since at least the advent of the 14th Amendment. And let us not forget, of course, perhaps the most scandalous institution in America, the Federal Reserve, which is little more than a secretive banking cartel which prints and loans money to the American people at interest, ensuring that we are forever indebted a handful of unscrupulous banksters.
So the $6.6 billion that went missing in Iraq is hardly the greatest theft of U.S. funds in history, but merely a rather unremarkable occurrence for a nation in which such acts of wanton greed are the norm. And as usual it’s the normal working people that pay. A few hundred billion squandered for a war here and a corporate bailout there, but we simply can’t afford universal health care, unemployment benefits, or college education for all.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so fucking tragic.