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Time to get your investment dollars shifted back to war bonds. Last week brought us two news stories about guaranteed fatter profits for corporations in the war profiteering business.

boeing attack helicopter

In the first story, the Army disclosed that it is now accepting delivery, and making payment for ‘new’ helicopters that come with bodies, engines, propellers, but no transmissions. A helicopter transmission, like the transmission in your car, takes power from the engine and transmits it to the propellers. If you take the transmission out of your car, it won’t drive. When Boeing delivers helicopters to the Pentagon without transmissions, they won’t fly.

Anti-war activists may applaud this Pentagon policy. After all, helicopters that can’t fly can’t be used to launch missiles against civilian villages in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or against civilian boats in Watertown, Massachusetts. (Maybe that’s why the marathon bomber had to be taken alive, instead of being blown to bits, along with several neighboring houses.)

Tea Bag Republicans may also applaud this policy. The Army is paying Boeing the price of complete, flyable helicopters for these incomplete, nonflying hulks. Boeing has developed a new way of maximizing profits while pursuing the standard Cold War practice of delivering non-functioning weapons systems. We might even anticipate Michelle Bachmann or Rand Paul sponsoring legislation to grant Boeing a bonus for this innovation.

Wouldn’t it be great if this latest Pentagon boondoggle to shovel more taxpayer dollars out the door for worthless crap brought together progressives and tea baggers in opposition to real government waste?

The second news story grew from the announcement that there may be evidence that Syria’s Assad dictatorship has used Sarin gas against its own civilian population. That announcement brought a flood of Tea Bag Republican Party corporate congressmen to microphones to demand more war spending.

The Syria announcement reveals some of the complications for Tea Bag Republican politicians as they try to balance their commitments to deliver greater profits to their corporate sponsors, while also trying to pretend to care about freedom. Tea Baggers have been almost as united in their condemnation of popular revolts, revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East as they are in their criticism of everything done by our first black President.

Tennessee Tea Bag Senator Bob Corker provided a perfect example of the conflicts as he gave an entertaining interview to National Public Radio, on Thursday, April 25. We must get involved in the Syrian Civil War, he said, because we have to overcome the influence that “radical Islamists” are having. Corker explained the horrors being inflicted on the civilian population in areas controlled by Syrian rebels and “radical Islamists” – those horrid groups are providing health care and medical treatments to all people.

senator bob corker

Sen. Bob Corker

That’s right, part of what makes Islam so “radical” is that it is calls for universal health care, even for poor people, children and racial minorities. Senator Corker was clear, we must get involved in Syria’s Civil War to ensure that such policies don’t become part of any new government in Syria.

Senator Corker was just as concerned about another feature of “radical” Islamic movements, and the need to stop them. He said that in areas controlled by Syrian rebels influenced by “radical” Islamic fighters, education was being provided to all people, not merely the wealthy who could afford it. According to Senator Corker, we must get involved to put a stop to such dangerous practices, and to ensure that education is not provided by any new Syrian government.

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Senator John McCain joined in cries for U.S. military involvement in Syria’s Civil War. McCain’s support for boondoggle military spending isn’t as long standing as his support for the alcohol industry. He actually used to oppose corporate welfare for worthless defense projects. But after his 2008 debacle of trying to be Sarah Palin’s running mate, he has settled into collecting war profiteer’s ‘contributions’ and voicing the desires of the arms industry, everywhere, all the time.

Although Tea Bag Republicans often claim to want less entanglement in foreign wars, and less intrusion into foreign states, Senators Corker and McCain made one thing clear – it is essential that the U.S. use our military power to extend our national system of wealth concentration at the top and diminishing social programs for everyone else, to as many other nations as we can.

This can’t be too surprising, after arms manufacturers got even Tea Bag Republican Party 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul to backtrack on domestic drone usage. Before he got his fundraising machine fully ramped up, Senator Paul publicly opposed the use of drones, even overseas, on less white, less worthy non-Americans, particularly when they had not had the benefit of trials and convictions. But once the income potential of drones was more clearly explained to him, Paul publicly changed stance and, last week, said that he wouldn’t even oppose using drones on 7-11 robbery suspects, in the U.S., who had never been charge or convicted.

Senator Corker’s NPR interview was noteworthy for its apparent revelation that the Tea Bag Republican Party has now given up hope of salvaging the Assad dictatorship. Assad and his late father have a well-earned reputation for brutality against their own citizens. They have also been enormously generous to rapacious corporations and businessmen who seek to loot Syria of whatever is available for looting. For such business-friendly policies, Tea Baggers have long opposed popular rebellion in Syria, just as they opposed popular revolts in Tunisia, Lybia and Egypt.

To avoid the natural result of their policies that gave influence in Tunisia, Lybia and Egypt to those who favor universal health care and education, Tea Bag Republicans are now saying that we should jump into the Syrian Civil War. Their two main goals appear to be, in order of importance, to guarantee more profits for the arms industry, and to preserve some possibility of influence with whatever government emerges once the Assad dictatorship falls.

Notably lacking in their calculus is any consideration of our other ‘investments’ in such wars. They do not care to contemplate Reagan’s embrace of the Afghan Taliban as “the equivalent of our founding fathers”. They do not care to reflect on Reagan’s funding and arming of Ayatollah Komeini’s Iranian theocracy, or of the missions that George Bush accomplished, after his father did such a good job of cementing friendly relations and trust with Middle East allies (particularly Iraqi opposition groups).

Apparently looking back in history (and distorting it) is proper when trying to fabricate what the “original intent” of our Founding Fathers was, but not when trying to fathom whether jumping into civil wars is good for anything but war profiteers.

President Obama, far more conservative than Eisenhower, Nixon or Ford, is certainly going to approve the use of drones in Syria (if he hasn’t already). If he approves armed drones, rather than unarmed information gathering drones, then the outcome is predictably certain. The drones will destroy civilians along with their homes, businesses, farms, livestock and other assets.

As great as the damage to the civilian population may be, the damage to our image and to the hopes that Syrian’s have for a democratic, non-theocratic new government will be worse. Any arms we provide will be used against us, as they have been in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will be turned against us as surely as was the funding and weapons Reagan so eagerly gave to the drug lords in Latin America.

Consider what would result if we offered health care and education to populations that wanted it, instead of weapons and the guarantee of more strife. Senator Corker was clear, the “radical” Islamists are a threat to us precisely because the medical services and education that they offer are desirable to the people that they, and we, are trying to influence. If we offered the people what they want and need, rather than just what gets politicians the fattest ‘contributions’ we might find the people accepting us rather than the “radical” Islamists.

Tom Hall

Tom Hall

Sunday, 28 April 2013