Our American militarists love war so much that they even bankroll the enemy, just to keep the blood money flowing. This odd but absolutely crucial characteristic of the Never-Ending Terror War was borne out again in a remarkable story in the Guardian (with an expanded version in The Nation).
As Aram Roston reports -- and U.S. military officials openly admit -- American taxpayers are giving Afghan insurgents at least 10-20 percent of the war machine's multibillion-dollar transportation contracts. Hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing into Taliban coffers every year from bribes offered to stop insurgents from attacking supply convoys -- convoys which are increasingly controlled by local warlords and druglords, including convicted drug dealers in the Corleone-like Karzai family.
Of course, in Iraq, the Pentagon finally started paying insurgents as well. But in that instance, they were at least paying the enemy to stop fighting. Here, they only ask that the Taliban allow some trucks to roll through the countryside -- which seems to be entirely in the hands of the insurgents, despite eight years of war and months of Obama's "surge". The Americans pay handsomely for the privilege -- sometimes up to $1,500 per truck, depending on the cargo -- even though they know the insurgents will use the money to keep fighting.
It's a nice racket all around, everybody makes out -- the American militarists and war profiteers, their criminal Afghan allies, and the insurgents (who use the American money to top up the cash flow they get from American allies in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.). So where's the harm?
OK, OK, there are all those civilians being slaughtered -- women and children ripped to pieces, to shreds of flesh and fragments of bone – by the bombs of the defenders of Western civilization. And yeah, there are all the American and British soldiers being killed, wounded, and brutalized, year after year, in a senseless, criminal conflict. And then there's the looting of the American treasury by the warmongers, and the relentless and inevitable destruction of American liberties by the all-corrosive acid of perpetual war.
But as Stalin liked to say: when wood is chopped, chips fly. And what are these few paltry chips – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – when there's so much juicy loot out there?
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on November 14, 2009.