“Don’t Worry Baby”: The War on Terror Will Continue

There are reasons, and then there are the actual reasons. The top 10 so-called defense contractors (“The top 10 defense contractors,” Bloomberg Government, June 10, 2021) in the US have done quite well during both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. How many trillions of dollars (Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute) pissed down the drain and how many hundreds of thousands of lives lost, refugees made, civil liberties lost and of equal significance, how many more trillions to be made from the shift in focus from Afghanistan to the already targeted nations of Russia and China? Julian Assange rots in a jail in that great bastion of human rights, England, and Edward Snowden is banished to Russia. There must be a message there for journalists and those who are the heroic whistleblowers! Don’t report on the dirty secrets of the empire, or we’ll put you away forever and throw away the dungeon key.

Deep Throat had it right way back in the 1970s when he told Woodward and Bernstein to “Follow the money” during the criminal Watergate conspiracy of the Nixon administration. Since then it’s been all downhill in the US. The ruling elite of US empire and imperialism wanted the kinder, gentler Joe Biden over the crass, alleged rapist Donald Trump, but they’d accept Trump and much worse if they needed their profits to keep rolling in and their power to remain intact. Here’s “The Newspaper of Record” priming the pumps of bizarre discontent for the Biden administration’s bumbling of the exodus from Afghanistan. This kind of malarkey could lead in a direct path to installing a fascist in power. Maybe one of those cheering on Trump’s “very fine people” in Charlottesville could become a new leader? There are many actors waiting in the wings to step up and serve the interests of the power elite and empire. There are well-paying jobs to be had.

Joe Biden is not a total loss for the military-industrial-financial complex. Here’s Biden speaking about the pullout in Afghanistan (Katie Halper, August 22, 2021) with assurances that the War on Terror is alive and well. Who can predict upon whose necks the boot of empire and militarism will fall next?: It’s already in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Iran, along with Russia and China in the crosshairs of empire. There are many, many targets and much money to be made. Recall the US support for the repressive Diem regime (until that regime fell out of favor with the US) in South Vietnam, or its more recent attempt to weaken the former Soviet Union through its support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan that gave rise to the Taliban. Or regime change in Chile, Guatemala, Iran, and a whole host of other nations. When the US opts for sanctions, either before war or through dirty clandestine wars, then the people of places like Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Nicaragua will be made to scream. No matter that a declaration of war requires a direct threat to the well-being of a people. The people of those nations are noncombatants and it’s illegal and immoral to make them suffer, but few care when it’s the empire that calls the tune. So much for bringing democracy to the larger world when it does not exist here. “Don’t Worry Baby” was meant for the 60s’ generation, but in less romantic and adolescent pop culture circumstances, it’s also excellent advice for the war-makers and warmongers. Your profits are safe and will continue to grow! Those profits may be even bigger than those made in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq since Russia and China are bigger adversaries and bigger adversaries mean bigger weapons and more weapons. And we all will be made to dance around the specter of nuclear annihilation.

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).