Sunday, September 5, 2010

Richard Girard: War Pigs - A Rock and Roll Epistle

War Pigs - A Rock and Roll Epistle
By Richard Girard article link
September 5, 2010 | OpEdNews

"Generals gathered in their masses,
Just like witches at black masses;
Evil minds that plot destruction,
Sorcerers of death's construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
As the war machine keeps turning;
Death and hatred to mankind,
Poisoning their brainwashed minds... Oh Lord yeah!"

"War Pigs," Black Sabbath
Paranoid, 1971

Officially Combat Operations in Iraq are now over. De jure, as an attorney would say.

De facto, we still have 50,000 troops in harm's way there, officially six "advisory brigades." In the Second World War, 50,000 men was the minimum size for an Army Corps: three 15,000 man divisions plus support troops. We also have God only knows how many mercenaries--I mean "contractors"--in Iraq.

I wish we had real journalists practicing real journalism.

Over four thousand American dead, 31,000 wounded. As many as one million Iraqi dead, many hundreds of thousands injured, millions displaced or driven into refugee camps. Our strategic and diplomatic position in the Middle East is compromised, and we no longer have a local counterpoise to Iran. Nearly a trillion dollars has been wasted in Iraq itself (according to the CBO), to no good advantage for the American people as a whole. Billions more will need to be spent to return our military--especially National Guard and Reserve units--to the state of readiness they enjoyed in January 2001.

And Osama bin Ladin (probably) still lives.

To paraphrase Charles Fox after the Battle of Guilford Court House during our Revolutionary War, "You call this a success: another such victory and I fear for the survival of our nation."

It wasn't "bread and circuses" that bankrupted Rome. It was maintaining a gigantic army in the field, and building monuments to the glory and ego of various Emperors. It was a vicious circle: the legions were in place to insure the collection of taxes--not by the government directly, but by the privatized publicans who grew rich taking their percentage off the top. The taxes were used to maintain the legions in the field, with most of what was left going to the Emperor and his friends to build lavish palaces and other monuments to Rome's (and their own) greatness, after taking a percentage off the top. What little was left in Rome's treasury was used to feed the poor just enough so they did not starve or riot, while the cost of the games themselves were usually absorbed by office seekers wanting to curry the Emperor's favor, or paid for out of captured booty in a triumph.

Booty is considered gauche under our modern democracy, so the modern corporate publicans (most of whom are Re-publicans) simply bribe--I mean contribute to the re-election of--certain politicians. They then negotiate sweet-heart deals with the people our armed forces put in power in order to plunder the conquered nation of its natural resources. These modern publicans then incorporate offshore. They do this so they do not have to share with the government who made their plunder possible, by paying the Federal Government taxes.

The politicians, unable to tax the people for whom they started the war, then tax the poor, working and middle classes of the United States to pay the cost of the war, while cutting the social safety net that is supposed to protect those people when the economy goes south. Like Rome in its decline, the only jobs program that is currently being offered to Americans is service in the military!

"Politicians hide themselves away,
They only started the war;
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah."

"War Pigs," Black Sabbath
Paranoid, 1971

I am not entirely convinced that, from a purely materialistic standpoint, the People of Rome didn't have a better deal.

My friends, unless we rebuild our nation's manufacturing base and infrastructure, we will--because of our debt--have no choice in a few years but to reduce our military by half or more.

Cicero stated twenty-one centuries ago that the sinews of war are a limitless supply of money. And real money, true capital, is not the trading of paper instruments at ever inflating values. That is the description of a Ponzi scheme, not any sort of healthy economic system. Real capital is based upon the manufacture, sale and service of material goods and real estate that a man can hold in his hand or stand on.

Currency can be used as the basis of a monetary system, but if, and only if, it is regulated, and allowed to expand when necessary rather than convenient. "Necessary' would include preventing a deflationary spiral of prices during an economic recession.

Even specie--gold and silver--is no guarantee against inflation. Anyone who has read the history of Rome knows that Rome adulterated its coinage at various times because of hoarding, or being forced to use gold and silver to pay for trade items outside of the Empire because Rome had nothing to trade in turn.

This is one of the problems with the gold standard that Congressman Ron Paul is always talking about: unless we are producing more goods than we are acquiring, we will have to pay for them with gold and silver. If we run out of gold and silver, then we have nothing left to trade, and "POOF!", our standard of living is in the crapper, and we have nothing on which to base our monetary "gold standard."

As I pointed out in my recent article "Right is Wrong" ( September 1, 2010), conservatives dislike ambiguity. This carries over into a liking for simple, and often simplistic, answers. Unfortunately, such answers are usually wrong.

The problem is when you are dealing with matters of war, you are dealing with noting but matters of ambiguity.

One of the cardinal rules of war is that no plan survives contact with the enemy. And while Napoleon's dictum about God being on the side of the largest battalions is another cardinal rule, so is Nathan Bedford Forrest's about winning a battle being a matter of getting their "the furstest wit' the mostest."

The Confederacy lost the Battle of Gettysburg, and probably the Civil War, when Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville two months earlier. The Japanese lost the Second World War in the Pacific when they lost four of their fleet carriers and their irreplaceable aircrews at Midway. The Nazis lost the Second World War when Hitler failed to take Moscow in September of 1941, before turning south to take the Ukraine. The Soviets lost the Cold War trying to match the West bomber for bomber and missile for missile as much as anything else; Afghanistan was just the coup de grâce.

We have probably lost the war against the terrorists because the Busheviks, in the name of oil and profit, turned our attention from Afghanistan to Iraq before the job was finished. They permitted their avarice to introduce an element of ambiguity into what should have been a very simple equation:

* Kick the Taliban out of the cities and villages.

* Establish an agricultural program that depended on something other than opium poppies to put money in people's pockets.

* Build schools, roads, water, and sewage systems, and try to establish an electric grid throughout the country.

* See to something close to free and fair elections, not a crowning of our chosen puppet.

* Establish an Afghani military, police, and justice system that the people respect, rather than fear, by making them feel that they are part of the system, not bystanders.

In other words, show them a better future.

It is not impossible, we've done it before. It was called The Marshall Plan.

Oh yeah, that's right, that was a plan under a Democratic President and Administration. According to today's Re-publicans, it can't possibly work.

I would call the Re-publicans what they are, but I've been told not to use that sort of language when writing in public.

"Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait 'till their Judgment Day comes, yeah!"

"War Pigs," Black Sabbath
Paranoid, 1971

The Re-publicans are under the misapprehension that the mounting debt will simply permit them to finish killing America's social safety net, rather than cutting the military in half.

I would strongly suggest that they look at what happened to General Pinochet and his military pals in Chile before they make such wild, and unwarranted assumptions.

The Democratic Party can crush the Re-publicans in this election if they will simply follow the advice of President Truman: quit acting like Re-publican Lite and start acting like Democrats.

I think a couple of jobs bills, fast tracked through Congress, even if we have to nuke the filibuster, would give us not only a majority, but a super majority in both houses. Throw in a couple of investigations of Wall Street and the Democratic Party could see the biggest majorities since just after Watergate.

Let the Bush Tax cuts die: the middle class understands that in a time of crisis, we all have to step up to the plate and sacrifice a little bit for the good of the nation. It has always been the plutocrats who want to have their cake and eat it too.

We must also reduce our military budget. Rome kept 25 legions, 150,000 men, under arms, when the entire World's population was fewer than 200,000,000 souls; it did not keep them safe, it bankrupted them. We can no longer afford to spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined: some $623,000,000,000.00 to $600,000,000,000.00 in the next fiscal year. Such profligate spending will just as certainly bankrupt us. We must reduce our overseas commitments--including real withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, our nuclear arsenal, and concentrate on putting the defense back in the Department of Defense. I would also at the same time improve some of our defense production infrastructure so that we don't have to buy rifle ammunition from Israel if we become involved in another war.

President Franklin Roosevelt spelled out his vision for America on January 11, 1944, in his annual message to Congress. It was not a vision of empire, but--like George Washington--a vision of honest friendship with all of the nations of the world who were willing to accept it. It was not a vision of plutocrats dominating America, as they had twice in FDR's lifetime, but a vision where his Second Economic Bill of Rights would bring us closer to the realization of Jefferson's pronouncement, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal..." The essential points of this Second Bill of Rights were to provide:

* useful and remunerative employment, together with the potential to find an avocation and not simply a job;

* wages that provide adequate food, clothing, opportunity for recreation, and decent shelter for themselves and their families;

* adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

* protection from unfair competition and monopolistic practices at home and abroad, for every business in America, large and small;

* the ability of farmers and ranchers to raise and sell the the bounty of their lands at a return which will give themselves and their families a decent living;

* protections from the fears attendant to old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

* a good, quality education, sufficient for the needs of our modern society; an education that is ongoing if needed or desired.

This is a vision that can bury the Re-publicans in November.

""No more war pigs of the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of Judgment, God is calling
On their knees the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings
Oh Lord yeah!"

"War Pigs," Black Sabbath
Paranoid, 1971

Richard Girard is an increasingly radical representative of the disabled and disenfranchised members of America's downtrodden, who suffers from bipolar disorder (type II or type III, the professionals do not agree). He has put together a team to prosecute Bush, Cheney, et al., but has given up waiting for his credentials, and fully expects either the United Nations or Spain to beat him to it. An autodidact, he has read more than 3000 books over the last 35 years, on subjects including history, mathematics, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, women's studies, physics, martial arts, science fiction, and art. He is still editing Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, trying to make it comprehensible to someone who is not a Rhodes Scholar. It surprisingly calms the worst effects of his bipolar disorder, acting both as a sleep aid, and helping to keep him out of the funny farm.

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