Saturday, January 5, 2008

To the Victor Goes the Spoils

What a miserable, stinking con. At least in the past the commanders of invading troops, when they conquered a place, understood the soldiers got a cut of the booty. But no more.

Now, soldiers are told lies about "patriotism," "defending your country," and "freeing oppressed people." Bah! They get paid a pittance, while those who run the government, and who start the wars, stuff hundreds of millions of dollars into their pockets. For example, I recently read an article that Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was chief executive from 1995 until 2000, was given an almost seven-billion-dollar contract to fight oil well fires in Iraq. The contract was awarded without competition. And it was only a two-year-contract!

I don't exactly know what the average soldier gets paid for putting his life on the line, but I know it's not much. But do you think that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle and others in the government aren't going to make truckloads of money off of the "reconstruction" of Iraq? And Iraqi oil? The poor die in war, while those who start the wars grow richer and richer. You think they're going to share that money? No, they're not. And I double-dog-dare anyone to prove otherwise.

If it's Hammer Time for whatever country the US decides to invade, I want my cut of the action! Otherwise, somebody's got some 'splainin' to do!

Hey, this just ain't fair. One of the first casualties in Afghanistan that I read about was a soldier who stepped on a landmine and lost a foot. Okay, a foot's not much. I could live without a foot. I'd just get a steel one and kick some butt. I could probably get a bit part in a James Bond film as a minor villain. But if I was a soldier and lost that foot, by God I expect to be paid for its loss! And paid handsomely! Like about two million dollars. If the Carlyle Group can make bazillions off of Iraq, then I expect to make a few million. As Groucho Marx said, a child of five can understand this; therefore, someone fetch a child of five!

I don't want to hear any more garbage about "freeing oppressed people." Saddam Hussein was ultimately put into power by the US almost 25 years ago. We armed him in his war with Iran. He was our ally for years. Why did the US government wait 24 years to "free" the Iraqi people, when it's never shown the slightest concern in the past about the oppression and deaths of Iraqis? In fact, during the Iran/Iraq war, the US government encouraged the deaths of both. The booger-eating Henry Kissinger made the comment, "Too bad they both can't lose."

Why hasn't the US "freed" Cuba from Castro, who's been in power almost 45 years? Why haven't we freed Pakistan, North Korea, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Egypt, Libya, Zimbabwe (which would take a platoon) and the rest of the unfree countries in the world?

Because the current war in Iraq is not about freeing the Iraqis. It's about establishing the American Empire. Okay, fine. But if I'm going to be a mercenary for the American Empire, do not tell me lies about patriotism, defending the US and freeing the unfree. And most especially do not do it while throwing crumbs my way while stuffing millions into your pockets!

How do these war-mongers sleep at night? Are they that self-deluded that they can ignore their own cowardice while insisting that others die? How do cowards like Rush Limbaugh live with themselves knowing they avoided military service and are now urging brave men to die? And knowing they are making money off of this war?

In the town where I once was a newspaper editor there lived a man who, at age 19, had been clipped across the back of his neck by a bullet. This happened as he was walking across a rice paddy in Vietnam. Had he fallen forward, he would have drowned. Instead, he fell backward and lived. Only he was paralyzed from the neck down. Permanently.

He spent the next 30 years living as a talking head, stuck in a room in his hometown. Then, at the age of 49, he died of pneumonia. The US government stuck him in a room for 30 years until he died. Where was his millions of dollars for his loss? Oh, I forgot – his loss was for "patriotism," "defending his country," and "freeing the unfree." I'm sure that made him feel better.

Oh, yes, the US government certainly takes care of its soldiers. I've been to VA hospitals, and I suggest you wander into one, too. They can't even get proper health care after risking their lives for the US. But Dick Cheney gets stents put into his heart with no problem at all. And he's an armchair-warrior chickenhawk who avoided Vietnam with five deferments.

And if you don't want to go into a VA hospital, just watch Born on the Fourth of July sometime.

I'd like to see a reporter ask Donald Rumsfeld to cough up a few hundred thousand of his own money to give to a soldier who got hurt in Iraq. I'd like to see somebody suggest a law be passed that the oil money from Iraq be shared equally among the US troops fighting over there. How about a million dollars for each soldier? Of course, this will never happen.

If the US is going to be an Empire, then we should act like an Empire. The soldiers should get their cut. Babes and gold; that's what being a mercenary is about. I don't know what the Iraqi babes look like, but I know there's zillions of dollars of what the Beverly Hillbillies called "black gold" over there.

The people in the administration should be honest about what they are, and should stop hiding behind the high-flying rhetoric. I have a lot more respect for honest mercenaries like Executive Outcomes than self-deluded, self-righteous liars who wrap themselves in the flag. That cynical old saying, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" is exactly right.

It appears that what we have in the administration are a bunch of self-righteous crooks. Some of them obviously don't know what they are, because it's cloaked so far behind their "morality" they don't have a clue as to what the law calls "mens rea" – "guilty mind."

Heck, if the purpose of the State is to steal Other People's Money, it shouldn't just be for the benefit of the criminals who have gained control of the State. It should also be for the benefit of those who fight for the State. Those who control the State sure aren't going to fight.

So if the US Empire is going to "manage" the Iraqi oilfields, then at least spread the wealth among the soldiers who conquered them.

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