Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, has written an excellent post up on CBS (surprisingly) about America’s addiction to war:
"The U.S., with $37.8 billion in arms sales (up $12.4 billion from 2007), controlled 68.4% of the global arms market in 2008. Highly competitively speaking, Italy came "a distant second" with $3.7 billion. In sales to "developing nations," the U.S. inked $29.6 billion in weapons agreements or 70.1% of the market. Russia was a vanishingly distant second at $3.3 billion or 7.8% of the market."
And here is what I think is the killer line:
"Few Americans are comfortable thinking about this,"
But the end of the sentence has it back to front:
"… which may explain why global-arms-trade pieces don’t tend to make it onto the front pages of our newspapers."
Perhaps if more newspapers wrote about America’s warmongering more often, then more people might be comfortable thinking about it. It’s been my experience that nearly all Americans I’ve spoken to – including those that are intelligent, well-read and anti-war – find it almost impossible to conceive that America is the cause of many of the world’s tensions instead of the last great salvation. They have been drinking to Kool Aid for so long it’s next to impossible for most Americans to even CONSIDER the alternative view.
Engelhardt finishes with two powerful paragraphs:
"And peace itself? Simply put, there’s no money in it. Of the nearly trillion dollars the U.S. invests in war and war-related activities, nothing goes to peace. No money, no effort, no thought. The very idea that there might be peaceful alternatives to endless war is so discredited that it’s left to utopians, bleeding hearts, and feathered doves. As in Orwell’s Newspeak, while "peace" remains with us, it’s largely been shorn of its possibilities. No longer the opposite of war, it’s just a rhetorical flourish embedded, like one of our reporters, in Warspeak.
What a world might be like in which we began not just to withdraw our troops from one war to fight another, but to seriously scale down the American global mission, close those hundreds of bases — recently, there were almost 300 of them, macro to micro, in Iraq alone — and bring our military home is beyond imagining. To discuss such obviously absurd possibilities makes you an apostate to America’s true religion and addiction, which is force. However much it might seem that most of us are peaceably watching our TV sets or computer screens or iPhones, we Americans are also — always — marching as to war. We may not all bother to attend the church of our new religion, but we all tithe. We all partake. In this sense, we live peaceably in a state of war."
Read the entire article, it’s well worth it.