Citizens' Voice is a platform for people-driven news and opinion. Be the opinion leader. Write and submit an 800-word op-ed with a one sentence bio and head shot.
Journalist Naomi Wolf offers some useful guidelines for writing an op-ed - Read More
by Mark Taliano
In scenes hauntingly similar to those preceding the illegal invasion of Iraq, countries including Israel, the U.S, and even Canada, are once again beating the drums of war – against Iran. The hapless citizens of Iran -- whose democratically-elected government dared to nationalize their oil industry, and was subsequently overthrown in a 1953 U.S/U.K coup -- may well be the next victims of a Western Global War, Inc.
What do I mean by this term? We must face the fact that Many nations’ foreign policies now -=- from the US to the UK and Canada – are being run for the benefit of a few companies that profit vastly from keeping these countries on a permanent ‘war footing.’
Lockheed Martin is part of War Inc., when it successfully lobbies Canada to buy sole-sourced F-35 war planes, designed for offensive bombing operations. The contract for the planes is expected to be C$29.3 billion over 30 years, far more than the $C16 billion-C$18 billion promised to tax payers.
Blackwater Industries, more recently re-branded as “Academi”, is also part of part of War, Inc., by providing an ever-growing list of services, such as catering, construction, and even (well paid) private soldiers. Each of these “services” was previously the exclusive domain of the military. Blackwater charges about $1,222 per day per guard, about six times what a regular soldier receives, even though it’s the taxpayer who foots the bill in each case. Since June 2004, Blackwater has been paid over $320 million out of a State Department Budget (Worldwide Personal Protective Services) of $1 billion.
Media conglomerates also profit from war and have become part of War, Inc.: in 2003, when the U.S and the U.K unleashed weapons of mass destruction on Iraq, the corporate media barely mentioned the thousands of anti-war protestors in the U.S and the U.K. Why not? CBS was owned by Westinghouse, and NBC by General Electric, two major weapons manufacturers, when the war began. Business is good for weapons manufacturers when there is war or the threat of war. Balanced reporting is of lesser importance in such circumstances.
As reported by Yves Engler, author of “Militarism On Rise in Conservative Canada”, and in the context of plans to have overseas bases throughout Europe, Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk told the Canadian Press recently, “We have some men and women who have had two, three, and four tours, and what they’re telling me is ‘Sir, we’ve got that bumper sticker. Can we go somewhere else now?’” He continues, “You also have the young sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who have just finished basic training and they want to go somewhere and in their minds it was going to be Afghanistan. So if not Afghanistan, where’s it going to be? They all want to serve.” Mainstream media’s response to these statements – which spell out that War Inc. has to find new markets -- has been a deafening silence.
Finally, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper is a war-monger who profits from war. Engler describes the Conservative’s modus operandi in creating a war culture in Canada:
He explains that the war culture is first enabled by Canadian Forces promotions. In 2010 -2011, for example, the Canadian forces spent $353.6 million to promote their work – to message the positive value of militarization. After the war in Libya, the government spent an additional $850,000 to promote the message of peaceful, laid-back Canada being a “warrior nation”. This messaging creates a climate in which war profiteering can continue to roll in.
At the June 11 Conservative convention, when asked by Macleans editor Kenneth Whyte whether we were “in a great conflict or heading towards one,” Harper responded, “I think we always are.” (Yves Engler, Militarism On Rise In Conservative Canada)
This statement indirectly reveals his intentions -- to continue to keep Canada forever on a “war footing”. Harper, like Bush and Obama, has signed on for the profit machine of endless war as a global industry.
But war kills with equanimity far from these corporate boardrooms and Parliamentary councils, and the trauma experienced by survivors among both aggressors and victims is widespread. In 2012, the same number of U.S soldiers have killed themselves, as have been killed in battle.
There is no certainty that this war will manifest itself, but there is much certainty about who will gain and who will lose. Innocent Iranian non-combatants will surely pay the highest price… again.
People around the world now hate America for its support of endless War, Inc. If Harper’s Canada continues on its present course, Canadians too will soon be asking themselves why people throughout the world hate their government as well.
:: photo courtesy of Photography by Kat, via Creative Commons license ::
Mark Taliano is a former high school teacher. Currently he spends much of his time as an activist and citizen\'s journalist.