With all the current interest and media coverage around terrorist activities and so-called social uprisings it is easy for many people to come to believe that militant action is justified and effective. There is a strong perception forming that good wars should be fought and will be successful and only bad wars need be avoided. This is a tragic fallacy. There are certainly good motives for action – however, wars and revolutions are only initiated for one reason – economic gain. No war, revolution, militant movement or uprising can be maintained without financial backing. War is an investment and no one with substantial resources is going to invest in something that has no potential for strong returns. You can be sure that the actions of groups like the Islamic State were not started by the poor or down trodden masses, but by a segment of the influential elite who were looking for opportunities to promote their own interests. People will definitely benefit from worldwide violence and it will definitely NOT be the common people.
In the past, wars have been fought under the banner of liberation –but who was being liberated? And how long did the liberation last? Realistically, it makes little difference to the poor who they pay taxes to or even who they pledge allegiance to – only the well-off notice a difference in their life-style. Banners, slogans and ideology are used as tools to justify warfare and violence. The common people, brainwashed by centuries of rhetoric, accept the idea that wars are sometimes fought for freedom or to liberate the people from tyranny – they site revolutionary wars and peasant uprisings or foreign wars to eliminate evil dictators as examples of this kind of “good war.”
If wars were actually fought for these reasons, there might be some validity to the suggestion that good wars are possible. However, no war has ever been fought for any reason other than economic gain. Peasants, serfs, slaves, the downtrodden masses – none of these ever make war. Wars are started by people who have an interest in expanding their own income base. They might indeed stir up the masses to join them and spout one ridiculous cause or another as their motive – but war is a rich man’s game. Perception of warfare has more to do with the level of dishonesty of the combatants. If warrior chiefs are honest, they are fighting for money and power, and not for justice, freedom, equality or religious ideals. People start wars only for monetary gain. The current string of public protests around the world is no exception – these actions could not be maintained without support of at least a segment of the State. The world would barely have been aware of the so-called “Arab Spring” or Egyptian protests if not for the military backing funded by global banking interests. Is anyone still naïve enough to believe that the generals or politicians in these actions, or the more recent Russian aggression against Ukraine, have anything to do with serving the best interests of the people at heart? Of course not; we all know money is the motivator not liberation or freedom. The same is true of all U.S. activity is Iraq, Afghanistan, and the entire Middle East.
In earlier times, there was more honesty about the true motives for war. Barbarous hordes, Vikings, and marauders of all races plundered the world for gold – It was simple. In the history of open warfare – Egyptians vs. Hittites, Persians vs. Greeks, or Rome vs. the world – the motives were clear and all the same – nations fought for economic gain, to expand trade routes, to bring more resources to their countries, to increase the king’s coffers in plunder, taxes, and tribute.
Perhaps the policy of dissembling in warfare began with the Crusades and the actions leading up to them. The Crusades had little if anything to do with religion – the Crusades were fought on both sides to promote and protect mercantile interests. The movement of goods and services between East and West and the profits gained through the movement were the only real issues at stake. The wars were about trade routes. The Roman Catholic led forces were just as likely to raid and pillage Eastern Christian cities as they were Muslim strong holds. Control of the roads and seaways and access to Asian markets was the only goal. The Muslims had this control and were not willing to trade fairly with Europe. Now few men would willingly die so that their king could wear silk and use pepper spice – but they would die for the glory of God. And thus the God card was played by both forces. But God had nothing to do with this long series of conflict.
The Crusades were purely an economic enterprise but the Big Lie about Holy War and freeing sacred lands from the control of Infidels has persisted. Why? Because people want to believe it. They don’t want to believe that men are going off to die for the cause of making their leader wealthy. They want to believe that their deaths will somehow make the world a better place – Or at least that their sacrifice will make them famous and memorable.
Napoleon came to this realization in his own wars of conquest. He observed that “men will die for ribbons.” The chance to win a medal will inspire a man to all kinds of bravery bordering on the stupid. Convincing people that dying in a war will somehow make them important is a frightful deception. Religions and Nationalists use this deception all the time. It is an evil lie.
The American Civil War was not fought to free the slaves. The slavery issue was put forward so that the well-mannered gentry on both sides could pretend they were sending their children to die for something other than money. Britain, Canada and several other countries were able to end slavery decades before the Americans without any need for war. The American, French, Russian, Chinese and other revolutions were all fought to improve the economic positions of certain segments of the population not to elevate the peasants. Even the sacrosanct World War II was not fought to stop the evil tyrant Adolf Hitler but just to maintain long held trade agreements. And today the Islamic extremists – the capital “T” Terrorists – are not seeking to promote their religious doctrines but only to secure the financial interests of the behind-the-scenes leaders. If we are to pretend we are in an evolved and enlightened society we must insist that there can be no justification for violence or other aggressive action.
Thankfully, people are waking up to the deception foisted on us by past criminal emperors. It is a slow process but people are starting to see that dying for some corporate expansion is not a good idea. And dying in a foreign war is the stupidest idea ever.
I believe there are things worth dying for and I believe that people should struggle against their oppressors and seek to liberate themselves, and I support people who are willing to take a stand and march off to face some perceived evil and do battle with it – this is why when the media shows images of multitudes rising up in protest anywhere in the world there is a swelling of human pride at the sight, or when a statute of some hated dictator is toppled over a shout of joy rises to our lips.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the only so-called “successful’ revolutions, uprisings and revolts are those that have the backing of equally ruthless and ambitious individuals and collectives. No uprising can succeed without the backing of some faction of the State. Just as no massive evil, such as genocide, can be carried out without the backing of the State. And the STATE – politicians, bankers, corporations, religious organizations – must gain a substantial benefit from the investment of support in any action.
But I do believe we should all support our troops. Their intention is to keep us safe from those who still believe violence and aggressive action can be justified. I just think the best way to support the working soldiers is to keep them out of stupid wars. Our sons and daughters should not be sent off to die merely to line the pockets of politicians, financiers and industrialists.
People are waking up to this reality. Hopefully, the time will soon come when false altruism will be rejected and people will realize that violent upheavals do not produce real change. Trading one greedy dictator for another is not real change. You still end up with the same phoney leadership. Remember the words of the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – ‘meet the new boss; same as the old boss.’ We need to simply wake up and make war no more.