Can an empire sink itself through self-generated ridicule?  Will America’s floating a daffy, brainless notion so shallow and infantile that its only intention seems to have been the wish to humiliate itself have consequences?  One wonders, since even the Noise Makers of the Ministry of Information and our Federal Confederacy of Dunces have backed this moronic pratfall.

The Empire has managed to continue intact to date, dispensing sleazy, transparent lies and howling fabrications to its sadly hoodwinked, floundering, irascible people, without dissolving in its corrosive bile.  This affirms that selling lies and deceptions is effective as national policy but we may be excused for wondering if it can sell rank absurdities quite as easily.

The facts are simple.  A weather balloon, admittedly Chinese, drifted over us, with no effort made to conceal it.  The reaction by the media, government and military has been so preposterously out of scale, so panty-wadded hysterical, as to defy belief.

It was instantly anathematized as a “spy balloon”—a category not seriously cited in annals of espionage since the Franco-Prussian War—and an anguished convulsion of moral outrage seized the body politic.  There was suspicion, then conviction, that this flaccid, ungainly, drifting entity was nefariously engaged in probing into our deepest national security secrets.

Our dysfunctional, half-assed, puerile shambles of a government, driven like a spavined donkey by the War Machine that owns it, is so pathetically determined to provoke animosity with China that it   attacked the slow, soft gas bag with jets to shoot down it down.  TDY Seals are presumably bobbing for latex even now though their likely finds will be not be hygrometers and pressure censors but Things That Have To Be Kept Secret for national security’s sake, like all that stuff stacked in Trump’s and Biden’s garages.

Do we Americans have an unplumbed tolerance for abuse?   Is there really no limit to the shit we’ll eat when dispensed by dirty old Aunt Sam?  Those who run us, and our yoyo, yahoo “Democracy”, believe there isn’t, and with good reason.

As a people we have been lied to, conned, deceived, and interred in bullshit by the Capitalist financial oligarchy that has owned this country and run it like a slave plantation or concentration camp from our earliest beginnings.  Since the first, last, and only time this country was ever attacked, in 1941, our War Machine has taken us to war so often on the basis of flagrantly transparent lies that this predictable practice has become a hallowed tradition.

War, once substantially based on political rivalry, has become the final phase of American Capitalism.  In the long experiment in the exploitation of earth and Man that has refined it, war has proven to be far and away the economic enterprise with the least true cost and the hugest profit margin to the system.  It has replaced all other sources of buccaneering larceny as Capitalism’s favorite, superior even to recently favored bank fraud and insider bailouts.

It has its ancillary downside, yes.  Masses of humans and their countries have to be destroyed, even in small wars, but those are in the nature of externalities which can be safely ignored and need not trouble the system.

The Empire has had a string of unbroken successes in its small wars, each if them ending in what to the naive eye might appear to have been disastrous failures.  To see retreat, withdrawal, and hightailing it from a tidy, contained little war as evident defeat, is to miss utterly the point of war as Macro Economics.  War, as a category of Capitalist industry, must be judged on the strict basis of profit and loss and, so judged, these wars provided massive, near incredible profit to the owners of the War Machine.

Yet another piece of naivete is the idea that the American people have any right to benefit from the War Machine’s efforts. They don’t.  They work for it.  They don’t own it, and only owners are entitled to benefits.  Workers don’t get profits.  They get to have freedom, instead.  You know… freedom… which, well, we all know what Janis sang about it.

There is a caveat in this, though.  Wars, in order to maximize the profit from them, need to stay small.  That is, they must not become so large as to be uncontrollable.  This is easy to manage with small, poor countries with no defenses, such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Afghanistan where you destroy them and leave, but it becomes problematic with countries that can defend themselves.

The Ukraine war, to the extent that it is a war, has been a work of genius for the War Machine in that it offers the best opportunity in decades for the endless supply of very costly equipment which is then rapidly destroyed and must be replaced.  It does so while avoiding the death and maiming of American grunts, substituting Ukrainians themselves for that unpleasant function.

There is some concern that Russia, on whose border this nifty little warlet is being conducted by our dear friends and allies, the Ukies, will grow weary of conducting their half of the game, and do something rash, such as blitzing our proxy team and reducing their ruined home to a sort of open-air gulag, but no one in power in The Empire gives that a serious thought.  Of course, when preparing for a war with China, why would they?

If all goes well—and when hasn’t it?—there is good hope we may be able to draw China into a similar mini-warlet, like Ukraine.  If the Taiwanese will just do the dying for us, we can pester the Chinese to madness while the War Machine continues to make untold reams of money.  We may be already launched on this quest.  After all, what fiercer act of aggression can one country commit toward another than to shoot down its weather balloon?

Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: