How the Greed of a Few Thousand Persons Destroy the Happiness of Millions Year after Year


One of the most shocking aspects of the many glaring injustices of the world is that a few thousand persons earning hugely from the military industrial complex of the USA/NATO destroy the safety and happiness of millions of people every year in numerous ways.

These thousands of persons include the main executives of the big arms companies, their lobbyists, officials and politicians dealing with foreign policy and security issues, the ‘experts’ and writers of various think-tanks and media organizations who sometimes also inter-change positions to keep a well-oiled, highly unethical, in several ways illegal system roaring.

As is becoming increasingly clearer by the day, this system has become more and more brazen and arrogant in its reckless use of extraordinary power and resources, to the extent that wars and military actions destroying a very large number of human and animal lives are resorted to mainly to keep extending vast and increasing financial benefits to this select club of a few thousand persons. To keep something like this going year after year, something which is so extremely unethical, a lot of contortions and distortions are obviously needed so that all this can be falsely justified in the name of highly suspect national or regional interests (sometimes even for the interests of world peace—war for peace!). The job of establishing justification is performed largely by persons within this group, who are show-cased to the rest of the world as top experts, analysts and journalists. It is quite a job involving so many contortions and distortions, not to mention outright falsehoods, but a system has been created for this, involving a lot of investment, and it gets done.

One can see the workings of this select club right from Hiroshima and Nagasaki (when the first atomic bombs were dropped although the surrender of the Japanese side was already assured without this) to the shockingly high destructive bombing as well chemical warfare of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other countries, to the risking of world peace in numerous ways through arbitrary escalation of proxy wars and encircling of rival countries as well as relentless spread of NATO.

Increasingly the situation has been such that the military industrial complex feels it cannot prosper without imagined enemies, it is a beast that has to forever find new enemies for its own fattening. There are many cases in which those companies which manufacture and sell the most destructive weapons give several million dollars to those ‘think-tanks’ which are in collusion with them, then the experts of these think-tanks prepare write-ups which inflame wars in which these weapons will be used, then these write-ups in original or edited form are published in leading media, then what is published is used by politicians to lobby for higher arms purchases by the government, and these politicians then get fat contributions from the corporates manufacturing these weapons.

What happens if some politicians and officials are temporarily ousted from the seats of power? Not a problem, they can directly take up very lucrative jobs with the arms manufacturers, and if later conditions are conducive for them to go back to their seats of power, why, then they go there even better motivated and equipped to advance the interests of the arms manufacturers. Several of those who collude with the arms industry in their roles as politicians, officials, experts, lobbyists, writers etc. may also be directly or indirectly ( using fronts or relatives) owning a lot of shares in the arms manufacturing companies, so that is another way in which blood-money gets distributed in the elite club.

We all heard about ancient and medieval wars of plunder and loot, accompanied by a lot of cruelty and killing. This elite club appears to be re-enacting a more sophisticated version of this. This version is inherently capable of greater cruelty because of the highly destructive weapons at its disposal. One way in which the modern version of ‘plunder and kill’ differs from earlier ones is of course its extreme hypocrisy-while earlier plunderers could be very open about their intentions, this latest version prefers to speak about peace and democracy and human rights even as it kills and plunders.

However what is happening now is also in this sense unprecedented that the main push for war in several contexts appears to come not from would-be-conquerors but from the arms industry and its  partners in related businesses, (although this may not be very apparent) while others merely add to the push. In the case of ancient and medieval or even earlier colonial wars the weapons industry never had such a central role in promoting war, conflict and military interventions.

Clearly, such an unethical and harmful configuration of powerful interests must be resisted by the peace movement as one of its highest priorities, and all those who desire peace, safety or even sanity in our increasingly threatened world must extend their support to this resistance.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071.

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