Fighting for freedom sounds nice, but war is basically a commercial endeavor (Just watch Delta Airlines)

War is about making money for the most part.

Fighting for freedom is basically jingoism used to support the idea of the necessity of war.

What prompts me to state what is really the obvious is the news that Delta Airlines was soaking returning soldiers from the Middle East for extra baggage, even tough that extra baggage was supposedly already paid for by the government through a contract. Delta, according to the story I read, apologized and quit charging (no definitive word about reimbursement) when it was revealed via a You Tube some soldiers did on the subject.

Once upon a time soldiers went to and from war (if they survived or maybe even if not) on military troop ships. But I noticed that during the Vietnam War they began flying to the war zone on commercial jets, complete with perky stewardesses.

Once GIs did their own dishes. It was called KP (kitchen police, as in clean up in military parlance). But in modern times Pizza Hut and McDonald’s and such sprout up in the war zones and outside contractors do KP and even war zone security and fighting — at much higher wages than GIs do or would.

Why we get ourselves into war is a good question. It is terribly costly in lives and money. Right now it is literally bankrupting our nation.


ADD 1: And what I should have noted in my original post is that we are currently spending several billion dollars a month in Afghanistan for a war we seem not to be winning. The Soviets did that several decades ago in the same place — the Soviet Union is no more.


Leading up to World War II, the last war that supposedly most people supported, there was a strong isolationist feeling in the United States. We had been burned once by going to war in Europe “to make the world safe for democracy” (that was the slogan at the time). What really happened was that a lot of military contractors (and regular citizens in their employ) made a lot of money and the United States became an economic powerhouse in the world in the process. But the old rivalries over power and resources continued in Europe and nations went to war again. But the prevailing mood in the United States was to sit this one out and let them fight each other over there. But some political forces thought we should fight the forces of tyranny. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was among those who thought we had a stake in the struggle. Meanwhile, in a turn of events I still have not fully grasped, we (the U.S.) went out of our way to make things difficult for Japan, putting an oil embargo on that nation (yes I realize they were doing mean things to China, but there is more to that story). So they attacked us, and since Japan had a pact with Nazi Germany, we entered the war against both Japan and Germany and the fascist-controlled Italy (the axis powers). We were indeed at war with forces of tyranny and evil, but there was also a lot of money to be made and we were in an economic slump at the time.

Even though World War I had made us a lot of money at the time, and even though it propelled us into being a world financial leader, there was a giant slump in the economy after the war was over. It was first felt on the farms, in the rural areas, where there was no longer a demand for war food and fiber production. Wall Street had a party during the Roaring Twenties, along with the man of the street, investing in the speculation of the stock market on money borrowed on money supposedly to be made. But the bubble burst in 1929 and the whole nation and, in fact, the whole world, was sent into the Great Depression.

But do you suppose the promise of profits and jobs might have been part of what propelled us into World War II? To be sure, there was the threat of dark forces with advanced technology that might have had the power to take over the whole world.

Unlike World War I, the U.S. did not wind up in a depression afterwards, a slump or two, but for the most part it was boom times for decades.

President Eisenhower, the former supreme allied commander, as Gen. Eisenhower, during WWII, warned upon leaving office that we were in danger of being taken over by the “military industrial complex”.  And we were. It prospered in the Cold War on our tax dollars, keeping our defenses up against the perceived threat of advancing communism.

And that Cold War flared up into hot wars in both Korea and then Vietnam. It was a bonanza for so-called “defense” contractors.

Those wars provided a lot of jobs for people back home.

There are always reasons or excuses to fight wars: fighting the tyranny of communism, fighting terrorism (but actually going to war? Why not just go after the perpetrators, ala the Bin Laden hit), and the one we often try to downplay, but which is apparent to everyone, to protect our access to oil or the oil region.

But what with the all-volunteer military and the outright commercialization of the whole process and the fact that American citizens are not called upon to sacrifice — no draft, no rationing — the powers that be have a much easier time in promoting the business of war.

But the cost of war has become such a drain on the economy that the heretofore largely indifferent public may be now or may soon take notice and rebel against war.

No sane person would argue that we do not need defense. It’s the commercial endeavor of offense we might stand to do without.



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