Truthout - April 15, 2021

Every so often, we get a glimpse at who is actually running this joint.

People like President Biden, former President Trump, Minority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Pelosi give every appearance of being in charge of their respective spheres, and make no mistake, the power they wield is enormous. Consider those four: Pelosi could halt all legislation, McConnell can come close to doing the same, Trump is running the Republican Party, and Biden can peel the mantle off the Earth with an order to his nuclear command center.

Above and beyond the reach of powerful politicians is the true business of the United States, its most profitable enterprise and its ideologically ingrained mission: war. Practically nothing seems to get in the way of imperialism and war, and specifically the sale of U.S. war weapons abroad. War is not often allowed into the Overton window of permissible discussion, and when it is, we perceive it through a riot of patriotic noise.

War has the best advertisers the U.S. has to offer; their marketing puts all else to shame. Think about it: A politician proposes a social program designed to help starving children, and the first question, always, is, “How much will it cost?” But when expensive cruise missiles are launched by expensive sailors from an incredibly expensive warship to assassinate a foreign leader or obliterate some buildings, few people ask how much that costs. Hundreds of millions, usually, each time. It takes a fantastic ad campaign to haul down that level of popular buy-in, especially when it cuts deeply against people’s own well-being.

While the actual business of shooting wars is grossly profitable, they tend to draw significant media attention, at least for a while. Wars also historically had a tendency to be short term. Before Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam was the only active war that kept paying out on a daily basis for 20 years. Every bullet fired, every bomb dropped, every missile launched, every helicopter shot down, every body bag filled, translates into revenue for someone. For the war profiteers, those three actions made for 60 years of profit combined. ...
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