By Henry McRandall
In light of United States President Barack Obama’s assertion today that Americans “will remember” the alleged al-Qaida attacks of September 11, 2001 that cost the lives of 3,000 people — mostly Amerikkkans, but also a few Americans — perhaps it is time for Americans to ponder what these wars have truly cost the Other 99 Percent — particularly the poor and working class kids who place life and limb on the line in the desperate hope of getting an education they could otherwise never be able to afford.
The U.S. government officially spends close to $600 billion a year on so-called “national defence,” which is more than every other country in the world combined. But that’s just the spending that is “on the books.” The additional military costs that are hidden from the public are almost as high, for a total cost of more than $1 TRILLION a year. That works out to a cost of almost $3,000 a year to every man, woman and child in the country.
And the devastation caused to the generally poor and largely defenceless victims of this murderous Amerikkkan aggression is in the TRILLIONS of dollars a year. If the TRILLIONS of dollars of destruction that Amerikkka causes around the world each year plus the more than $1 TRILLION a year Amerikkka spends on invading and occupying mostly Third-World countries were spent on construction rather than destruction, it would be almost enough to abolish poverty throughout the world. And what about the human costs?
Just this week, the U.S. registered its two-thousandth military fatality in Afghanistan. Added to the approximately four thousand American military personnel killed in Iraq, it may not sound like a lot. But, of course, this does not include the number of lives lost in the target countries of Amerikkkan aggression. In Iraq alone, more than one million Iraqis lost their lives. (No reliable numbers are yet available for Afghanistan — or Pakistan, or Libya, or Yemen, or Syria … ).
And what about all those frontline American troops — the children of the poor and the working class — who must risk life and limb in the desperate hope of getting an education afterward? The suicide rate among U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan last year averaged almost one a day, which was an increase of 18 percent over 2010. It also means that more American military personnel in Afghanistan are dying from suicide than from combat. On top of that, every 80 minutes an American service person in Afghanistan attempts suicide.
Lured into an immoral enterprise by the promise of an education, more and more of these poor and working class kids — who are asked to risk life and limb not to defend “our” way of life but to defend the way of life of the Top One Percent — are discovering that Amerikkka’s “way of war” is a soul-destroying experience. They are killing themselves in ever-increasing numbers because of the atrocities they are forced to witness, the atrocities they are forced to experience, and the atrocities they are forced to commit.
And what of those who don’t go so far as to attempt to kill themselves? Do they really return home after their tremendous personal sacrifices even psychologically fit to succeed at the education they were promised?
And who benefits from all these wars the puppet political prostitutes of the Top One Percent thrust upon the children of the poor and the working class? The politicians and the corporate mass media always lie that these wars are being fought to defend “our way of life.” But whose way of life is really being defended? Is it the way of life of the four million homeless Americans forced to eat out of garbage cans and dumpsters in the richest country in the world? Is it the way of life of the 50 million Americans who can’t afford health care in the richest country in the world? Is it the way of life of the 50 million Americans forced to go to food banks after their Food Stamps run out each month in the richest country in the world? Is it the way of life of the millions of American families evicted from their homes through fraudulent mortgage foreclosures in the past five years in the richest country in the world? Is it the way of life of the millions of long-term unemployed Americans whose unemployment insurance is rapidly running out?
Or are these wars really being fought to defend the way of life of and to grossly and criminally expand the already-immorally-vast fortunes of the Top One Percent — the millionaires, mega-millionaires, billionaires and mega-billionaires — the gangster banksters and the criminal oil barons and the criminal captains of corporate capitalism?
Although war criminals George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld continue to lie that they invaded and decimated Iraq because they feared Saddam Hussein might have weapons of mass destruction, it was really and solely all about giving Amerikkka’s criminal billionaire oil barons control of Iraq’s oil.
Here is an industry that is controlled by some of the richest men in the world, an industry that makes hundreds of billions of dollars a year in profit, an industry that pays almost no taxes whatsoever, an industry that is destroying the world’s environment and risking the survival of humankind, and an industry that — believe it or not — actually receives tens of billions of dollars a year in subsidies from the United States government.
And what does this industry do in return for everything it receives? Absolutely nothing! In fact, the U.S. is one of only two net oil-exporting countries in the world — the other is Canada — that does not provide cheap heating fuel and gas to its own residents. Some oil-producing countries charge their own residents as little as six cents a gallon for gasoline.
So the next time a politician or a corporate media outlet tries to tell you that a war is being fought “to defend our way of life,” you may want to puke.
And if it truly was al-Qaida that destroyed the World Trade Center eleven years ago — and, like most non-Americans, I remain convinced that it was actually an action ordered by Bush and Cheney and carried out by the CIA with a bunch of deranged Saudis as pseudo-al-Qaida scapegoats — keep in mind what their targets were. Their targets were not the Other 99 Percent of Americans but the symbols of the wealth and power of the Top One Percent of Amerikkkans. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of those who died on 9/11 probably deserved to die for their own unpunished crimes against humanity.
If the puppet political prostitutes of the Top One Percent want to wage wars to expand the wealth of the already-far-too-wealthy — and that is the only reason they do so — they should at least have the common decency to make sure that it is the sons and daughters of the Top One Percent — and not the sons and daughters of the beleaguered of the poor and working class — who risk their lives and limbs to fight those wars.
The real cost of Amerikkka’s sordid wars
By Henry McRandall