Where does it all go?
No-Brainer, long overdue. We need to put a stop to war profiteering and the Washington/corporate/lobby revolving door. Want to stop war? Bleed it dry. Not in human costs, but in capital.
Longtime friend, activist, fellow musician I’ve recorded with over the years, and cyber-pundit extraordinaire, the Artist General Mike Masley, finally gets his war profit recusal question asked by a major paper after five years of his relentless e mail lobbying…in the Seattle P-I this weekend. Let’s see where this meme goes!
Artist General’s info and plan in the new Seattle P-I piece.
His plan: To demand recusal from elected officials concerning any private profits they may accumulate due to in-office war policies FOR LIFE after their post was held (yes, for the rest of their lives). Every journalist in this country ought to put this one at the top of the list for 2008 office seekers as a pledge and begin warming up by making it a lead question at every major press conference from here until next November (and then beyond).
Idea sound strange? What might history say? Does President Eisenhower’s farewell address ring a bell? A a revolving door corporate/congress? It’s not just for war profiteers, either. We need to stop this democratic chicanery along with the war profiteers and their political puppets. Think this is a new problem? Ask marine general Smedley Bultler about war profiteering in the early 20th century. What’d he say about it? Read War is a Racket from 1935. We need to heed these warnings and act. We can learn from the wisdom of the past. But we must act in the present. Following the money from 9/11 to war is a long road, but we need to look at the map to understand this planned navigation away from the public interest by elites to plunder the commonwealth. We need to ask when so much is at stake, who benefits? The Global Dominance Group is a good place to start.
Just look a couple years back even? See Halliburton and the new tricky Dick. Take the money out of war for the warplanners, and politics will follow.
Again, Marine General Smedley Butler:
“To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.
-We must take the profit out of war.
-We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.
-We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.”
See more on War Profiteering as it goes unchallenged by journalists and politicos of many stripes.
It’s obvious what we need to do as citizens. We must demand this obvious recusal of Washington’s next crew. Capitalism is the warfare state. No war profits, no more revolving door deMockracy. This is just such a no-brainer. And radical, to boot? That’s how far gone we are as a republic. The P-I piece below…
Radical Ethics: No bucks from war
Seattle Post-Itelligencer EDITORIAL BOARD
November 24, 2007
Just less than a year from now, Americans will choose a new president. After years of debilitating public distrust, President Bush could assure a better atmosphere for his successor by adopting a rather singular idea, one that is an odd combination of radical thinking and good old American common sense.
President Bush (and, ideally, Vice President Dick Cheney, given his power) ought to promise not to accept any profit from war. In doing so, they would set a new, higher standard of White House ethics that might foster more rational public discourse on issues of war and peace.
The radical part of this idea is mainly its origin with Michael Masley, a colorful, bitingly humorous anti-war activist (he calls himself the nation’s “artist general”) who has been trying to get the media, Congress, anybody to ask Bush to promise never to accept any profits flowing from any military action he authorizes. But this left-wing, left-coast idea actually reaches into the heartland and history of the country. Americans have always had a healthy scepticism about unholy influence by money and power on military and foreign policy decisions. Indeed, great presidents have voiced the same concerns when they have warned about foreign entanglements (Washington), war profiteers (FDR) or the sway of the military-industrial complex (Eisenhower).
As much as we opposed the misguided Iraq war, we never much liked the “blood-for-oil” rhetoric. The administration could turn down some of the heat with a lifetime, no-war-profit promise. Bush’s most ardent detractors (who actually might think the administration was deluded not just by neocon fantasies about promoting democracy but also by a desire to pump up profits of companies with which they have been connected) might find the chances laughably unrealistic. Perhaps, perhaps not.
Bush is said to believe history will look more kindly than contemporaries on the war, an idea that may not be entirely fanciful. Setting a new ethical course for himself and, by example, his successors might help clear the air for re-evaluation.
But even if this administration and Congress ignore the idea, the topic ought to draw discussion among 2008 presidential candidates, who have a lot of air time to fill in an overly long campaign. Forswearing profits from war is very little to ask of someone who would be president. More important, anything that can ease the painful levels of distrust among people for this or future administrations is worth consideration.
(This piece was also posted at Commondreams.)
And if neoconservatives and other somnambulists call the P-I loonies or give the usual guff about war for freedom, occupation as liberation, the need to jail critics to protect America and the other worn, Orwellian doublespeak, ruse lines?
Ask them to please put Conservatism in Perspective and to recall the lines of another Republican (imperialist) Big Stick wielder of yesteryear, Teddy “Bully” Roosevelt, who once said:
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Or how about this one, from a man known as “Mr. Republican” in his day:
“As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government … Too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think it will give some comfort to the enemy … If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments,
they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and it will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.”
That was Senator Bob Taft, after Pearl Harbor no less, in December, 1941.
The recusal is an idea whose time is long overdue and doesn’t even approach criticism. It just states the obvious about conflicts of interest in “times of war.” Thankfully a major paper has asked in public what should have been codified into law ages ago. Take action now. Call congress. Write the MSM. Make this a major issue in 2008 before it’s too late. And while you’re at it, suggest impeachment of the V.P. and a genuine investigation into 9/11 unanswered questions. It is the holiday season, after all. Ask and you may receive. But don’t hold your breath.
Long live the Artist General! Long live the true Vox Populi!