The Multiple Faces of War

By Siv O’Neall
Axis of Logic
Friday, Jul 10, 2009

Wars have always been fought for the profit of the very few and brought about anguish and suffering for the very many. They have always been caused by the rapaciousness of the leaders. The people have always been the ones who had to bear the grim consequences of the selfish greed and lust for power of these very few who see plunder and destruction of lives and happiness of the many as their self-evident birthright. Wars have had many different stated reasons over the centuries, but the common denominator has always been greed. It’s frightening to realize that in every generation there are a number of unfeeling human beings who gladly sacrifice anything of real value in their lives in order to gain power and accumulate wealth. The price does not count, only the booty that is carried home. These emotionally handicapped people do not know of the sufferings of others. They are blind and deaf to anything that might intrude on their predatory instincts and get in the way of their own self-interests.

Wars of conquest of yesteryear

Throughout past history wars used to leave the conquering nations exhausted and impoverished. The greatly reduced numbers of the conquering armies dragged their sore feet and their tired and frozen bodies back to their homes. Back to their countries that were suffering from hunger and general neglect due to the absence of the men who had died or who came back sick and wounded. Only the generals and the nobility lived high on the hog after the conquests and the people had to pay all the rigors, the suffering and the deaths. Rewards for the mighty were of course substantial from the conquered regions, but the poor got nothing but starvation and bleeding.

Today, the nature of wars has changed in some respects. The thousands if not millions of dead and severely wounded are now mainly to be found in the invaded countries where lives are of no consequence to the invading nation. Nothing fundamental has changed however. It’s still the people who have to suffer from exhaustion and from the loss of limbs and health. The rulers of the world remain in safe havens just waiting for the booty to come home.

Colonial wars

The colonial wars, the real beginning of the destruction that is currently ruining lives, environment and entire civilizations, began with the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 16th century, who brought back huge treasures of precious metals, spices and other priceless booty from the defenseless native populations in what is today Latin America.

These colonial imperial conquests were followed up much later by the various European empires-to-be in Africa and Asia and were to continue flourishing until well after the Second World War, when it finally became clear that the booty was not worth the price, when the uprisings of the conquered people were becoming so loud and strong that the colonial powers had no choice but to withdraw. The plunder of defenseless countries would from now on put on a different face.

The most powerful colonial power in the past was of course Great Britain and we know how their relentless efforts to colonize a multitude of countries in Asia, Africa and America in many cases ended up with total failure. Afghanistan for one would never let itself become a slave nation to Great Britain and India ended up being such an expensive and hard to manage nation (or multitude of kingdoms) to rule over that Britain finally sent out Lord and Lady Mountbatten in February 1947 to wind down the critical situation in the only way that was left for the British, that is, to let India have its independence. All of the wealth that India produces went to the people in power and the majority of the people have remained in deep poverty.

The rest of the European colonial powers saw their advantages diminish in rapid succession after the end of World War II. Most of the countries having gained their independence went into long periods of wars, ethnic and religious, that for all too many of them are still not over today. The mayhem sown by the colonial powers and maintained by those same powers to their own advantage is far from over and neocolonialism has followed rapidly in the footsteps of 19th century and early 20th century colonialism. European nations, including Russia are interfering cruelly in the present-day local wars and fomenting unrest and tension wherever there is a delicate power struggle. Wherever there is smoldering discontent and conflicts, Europe intervenes and pours fuel on the fire – and grabs a share of the booty. Just look at Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the nefarious influence of former colonial powers.

But the face of neocolonialism has changed too and the most visible aggression is now mainly being exerted by the lone Superpower in today’s world; the U.S. Empire. Europe is carefully making sure it’s still on board, but the power center is the U.S of A in the most intimate cooperation with the multinational Corporations. The new colonies in this global game will be the countries that are seen as potential hurdles in the never-ending race for the supremacy of the lone Superpower. Modesty and collaboration are completely foreign notions that just do not enter into the equation .

The United States expanding its territory

After having gained possession through a series of long-lasting wars with Mexico and Spain during the 19th century of huge additional areas in the West and the South, the United States made its conquering march west to uproot the native population in order to take over their fertile lands. The big country, the way we know it today, was finally ready to take over the rest of the world. From coast to coast, from sea to shining sea stands the Titan ready to take on the planet.

The two World Wars

However, the two World Wars were going to change the map of the world again, this time in Europe and the Near East. After the First World War and a long and cruel trench war in France, the part of the world where the war had ignited fell apart. Two empires ceased to be, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires. The world was fractured and it was restructured most arbitrarily by France and Great Britain. The outcome was catastrophic and we are today seeing the results of the haphazardness of the borders drawn up as on an architect’s drawing board by overbearing and ignorant civil servants and generals of the one remaining empire, the British Empire, with the equally ignorant cooperation of France.

As any student of an empire knows, its servants have no idea or don’t bother to take into account the intricacy of ethnic groups and religious and human ties. The treaty of Versailles in 1919 with the foolish punishment of Germany by taking away great parts of its land and making it pay heavy amends to the winning powers, was a disaster and it right away should have foreshadowed the coming of another great war.[1]

In the Second World War, the United States of America came to the rescue of the antifascists, after it had most willingly supported the movements in both Italy and Germany with great admiration for Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, the man who was going to gobble up Europe under the sign of ‘the pure Aryan race’. Italy was a questionable ally of convenience. Then, with the help of the Japanese who were declared honorary Aryans, the unbeatable Germans, die Übermenschen, were going to conquer the entire world. The rest of the story is well known. The U.S. had to get its house in order fast, build war planes, submarines, tanks and guns and together with the rest of the European Allies they managed to once again beat the Germans to pulp. In doing so, the Unites States pulled itself out of the Great Depression.

But Washington’s lust for ever-increasing power would not let the country stand back and concentrate on the well-being of its people. Another kind of war made the U.S. merry-go-round continue its masquerade of bringing ‘civilization’ to the world, making the world one huge playground for the power-hungry corporations. The West continued their propaganda about fighting for the free world, as if it were still World War II. And millions and millions of people still believe in this age-old myth – the U.S. is standing up for freedom and democracy.

Imperial war on the people

The greed of the U.S. leaders would not let them pay any attention to the well-being of its people, and the visible consequences of this neglect were going to increase with each new administration, in particular with Ronald Reagan and onwards, under Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Conditions for the home population became increasingly filled with hardship to ultimately end up with the long-planned neocon policy which surfaced with George W. Bush: the people had no rights whatsoever and the only thing that mattered was complete power over the planet. This was the one and only goal and the people were to be the slaves to help bring this about. This ridiculously incompetent president was obviously chosen as the candidate for the Republican Party in order to let the mentally sick men and women behind the stage pull their strings unhampered by any realistic and humane obstacles.

‘The tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ are now huddled into ghettos and slums and are no more even dreaming of breathing free. U.S. citizens have been sold out by the ego-maniac rulers to the funding of wars that will empower only the powerful and destroy the lives of the poor. Those who don’t get killed in the wars or get more or less bodily or mentally damaged for the rest of their lives, survive in the utmost misery and insecurity, unable to get healthcare when they are seriously ill, unable to get a valid education in the most prosperous of all countries on earth, deprived of any kind of security that most civilized nations take for granted, unable to climb out of the miserable poverty they have either grown up in or recently sunk into because of the enormous costs of unending wars. While the CEOs are getting obscenely wealthy, the wars are obviously paid for by the people. Cutting back taxes for the super-rich means of course that essential social services for the rest of the population are cut back so drastically as to place the majority of the population in an impasse where they live and die unheeded, uneducated and unaided even concerning vitally important needs.

U.S. citizens don’t have access to a decent life, to a feeling of security and care, the kind of life that Europeans more or less take for granted. European countries are far from perfect of course and there are people who die of cold or excessive heat or hunger in France, where I live, or who don’t even have a roof over their heads – to our infinite shame. But that slums should even exist and the absence of social services should be the norm in the richest country in the world is such an infamy that even the most soul deaf and uncaring person in a position of authority should stand up and scream for justice.

But the world is made up of governments who take care only of their own greed and hunger for power. In Europe the governments put up with our social safety nets only because it would cause their own demise if they were to fight against this well-established system. However, under today’s neoliberal sell-out system this safety net is shrinking and there is no telling how far the people will let the Corporation puppets juggle with our lives before we take to the streets everywhere and interrupt politics as usual.

Another evil that is brought to us by the Corporations that seem to own the world is the degradation of the environment. The world is being rendered increasingly unlivable by global warming and environmental decay from deforestation, toxic products infiltrating the soil and the waters and genetically modified products that render formerly healthy plants sterile. All of this is due to the unspeakable greed of the men and women in powerful positions who care only for instant profit. We don’t even have an inkling of what the planet is going to be like a few decades from now or how much more deadly and uncontrollable the climactic conditions are going to become for each year with no decisive action taken to limit the damage being done.

The United States is fast moving into the league of poor nations in terms of level of education, health care, job security and standards of living for the average family, including decent working conditions and time off for the family and for a life worth living.

The two-faced war

The face of war has changed once more. Or rather, it’s a two-faced war that’s being fought. One face is turned towards obliterating or taking over countries like Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan that stand in the way of the Empire and its infinite needs for carbon fuels. Another face of the war is being fought against the people, people everywhere, but in the first place against the very people of the United States of America. Undermining the security and the well-being of the people is on the agenda of this new world order, the agenda of the Empire. Lowering the level of education, good education being only for the children of the so-called elite, that is to say the predators, is one of their major policies. And the means to keep this world order going is permanent war.

The people have to be held down, manacled and powerless so as not to interfere in the Big Boys’ game of Monopoly with the world. Rendering the people harmless is one of the major goals of the Empire. Then the Big Corporations can go ahead and ruin the planet to their heart’s content.

The only hitch is the fact that we’ll all be falling off the cliff together. The system is rotten and there is nobody but We the people who can save the planet from total destruction. While wars make for unheard-of wealth for the Arms Industry and lots of other corporations that are tagging along, they are also, in their various disguises, the way to destroy human life. First there is a long period when war seems to be the merchandise of choice for the people in power. Everything feeds on war. War is the very kernel of the present system. War makes the world go round. Until the day when it stops.

And obviously the added boon of wars is that an enemy is created. People who have already been downgraded to helpless victims of the system are now fed the illusion that we have a ‘war on terror’. Even though the ridiculous term has finally been abandoned it is still a war on the Other, specifically on Muslims. The fear of the Other has to be kept alive so as to tame the ignorant people. Keeping hate and fear going is the very essence of the Washington Consensus, the Globalized Neoliberal World Order.

This world order is in for a breakdown

The day people realize that they have had enough, that they are being made into helpless pawns in a monstrously vicious game of masters and slaves, that day the governments will have to finally come to see that they can not stand alone in a complex world of interdependence. Nobody can rule a world without the support of the masses.

The power of the fear-mongers and multi-national corporations will be broken and war will no more be the force that the predators feed on.


[1] As one of the propaganda points that made Hitler be seen by his people as the savior of their lost honor was his speech about winning back the lost Rheinland: Quote: “Erst kommen die Franzosen und sagen ‘Der Grenz geht am Rhein’, dann kommen die Engländer und sagen ‘Der Grenz geht am Rhein’. Aber ich, meine Herren, ich werde Ihnen helfen die Grenze zu ziehen.”

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