By Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.
Warlust eventually ravages nations just like a highly addictive narcotic ravages people. Warfare’s savagery inflicts destruction on prey nations immediately, whereas it destroys predator nations mediately. War initially produces a stimulative “high” for the predator’s domestic economy. Leaders in predator nations ignore this opiate-like economic addiction to war because it serves to enrich their upper classes. Warfare is instantaneously lucrative for the military-industrial complex’s depraved war profiteers but can cause an entire region’s economy to become depraved war addicts over time.
Consider that the economic high from an addiction to war is always a Faustian bargain. It compels the addicted nation to start an endless succession of destructive wars in order to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, which otherwise would appear in the form of recessions and depressions. Penultimately, it forces the working class to pay the highest price in blood and treasure. Their children become cannon fodder and their taxes are squandered to finance military adventures. Ultimately, war destroys empires as well as it does people. Militaristic nations always collapse because their criminal acts of aggression are not only morally indefensible but also economically unsustainable.
One certainly need not be a pacifist to recognize that …the USA is economically addicted to war. If so, this would explain why our political system is dominated by the ultra-militarist War Party and the crypto-fascist Bush family (i.e., the pushers), while our economic system is dominated by the military-industrial complex and its mafiosiesque war profiteers (i.e., the kingpins).
Finally, if the USA is economically addicted to war, that raises some important moral questions. Readers of good conscience should be asking themselves: Am I willing to engage in loving acts of nonviolent noncooperation with evil in order to stop my nation’s wars of aggression? Or will I watch in craven silence as this nation descends – like the Bush family’s multigenerational war profiteers – into a vampiric career of bloodthirsty murderousness? If it’s the latter, won’t I be sending America’s children the depraved message that it’s permissible to murder people, so long as it’s profitable? Which destiny am I going to choose – nonviolent redemption or militaristic perdition?
In short, we’ve proved in Iraq that violence only begets more violence, and war more wars. It’s time to show the world the force of our example, not the example of our force.
[Excerpted from “American Militarism: Is the USA Addicted to War?” See Orb Standard at http://orbstandard.com/News/Peterson/peterson_is_the_us_addicted_to_war.html.]