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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Crooks and Killers
11 Oct 2008
The vast disparity in justice for the rich and poor in a capitalist society and the ability of the super rich to rob and kill with impunity.
In a capitalist society, the magnitude of the crime and who perpetrates it is crucial to an understanding of the punishment. If a large capitalist or "entrepreneur," as they like to be called, commits a robbery on the scale of the savings and loan heist or the recent robbery of people thinking they could actually have a roof over their head, the punishment is actually a reward by the government of even more money. Hundreds of billions, as a matter of fact. The executives of AIG recently held a party with the lavish expense of $400,000 dollars on part of the $700 billion government bailout. On the other hand, if a poor person commits a robbery, say because he is desperate for health care for himself or a family member, he will be considered by the system as a despicable individual and locked up probably for 20 years or more and will rarely see the sun as a result.

The President of the United States, usually in the same economic class and possessing the same ideology as those exceedingly influential individuals from the oil companies and the manufacturers of modern weapons, receives great pressure for wars in general and certain wars in particular. An example would be the Iraq war, fought for the profits of the oil companies. Iraqi oil is enormously profitable being close to the surface, of immense quantity and of high quality. The President and his administration in the process kill, maim and spread uranium 238 all over the area and indeed the planet, jeopardizing our genetic heritage forever. Of course, to minimize public outrage, if the truth be known, this mass murder is done under a canopy of lies, including weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs and last, but not least, patriotism. The soldiers are supposedly fighting for freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and not the profits of Exxon-Mobil or Lockheed Martin. If one thinks otherwise then one is unpatriotic and un-American and probably a communist.

For a comparison, let us turn the justice system in a capitalist system upside down. Let us imagine justice for poor criminals is the same as the justice for rich criminals is presently. Then if I robbed a bank, the government would say something like: " Poor Gary, you only got 10,000 dollars. Here is another million for you. We wouldn't want you to suffer." They would treat mass murders like Charles Manson as heroes, hold parades for him and pin medals on him.

Getting back to the way capitalist societies actually function. If I were a soldier fighting to increase the wealth and profits of corporate American and committed a murder, they would say I hadn't committed enough to bring security, democracy and freedom to the world. They would compel me to commit many more murders, using the latest technology in vests and armored vehicles so that I could murder with impunity in occupied countries and suffer no injury myself. Since third world countries often have no air force, one can bomb wedding parties, funeral processions and family dinners and blow even little children into small bits and it will be excused as an accident by the subservient, sycophantic corporate media, no matter how frequently these "accidents" occur. Since Air Force pilots don't see the carnage, their consciences can be clear. And they can't be shot down. So, Whoopee, what a lark! I can murder with impunity and instead of a prison sentence, I will have a medal pinned on me, welcomed back with a parade and treated as an American hero. One man's death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic as one famous Nazi said. They are even afraid Air Force pilots might develop a conscience, so now they have invented drones which definitely can kill with no pangs of remorse. With less angry people above the surface, it is so much easier to access the black gold beneath the surface.

The argument can be made that American soldiers are fighting in battle in self defense and so this is not murder. Robert Jackson, the top American judge at the Nuremberg trials, considered aggressive war conducted under false pretenses as the top crime and those who participate in it as being guilty of war crimes. The top German Generals, Keitel and Jodl, were hung at Nuremberg as a result. Hitler had all sorts of false premises for his wars too, including, believe it or not, terrorism. When soldiers participate in an aggressive war, whose only purpose is to enrich a tiny elite of individuals, it is murder. The fact that they are brainwashed by a very effective propaganda machine is no excuse.

Americans will often tell you that those awful, evil people called communists and socialists, who want to feed hungry people and give them land, schools, health care, etc., have killed far more people than the wonderful capitalists of the "free enterprise" system. How do they know? Why, that paragon of truth and virtue, the television set controlled by the capitalists, told them so. William Blum wrote a book called "Killing Hope" where he documented the death toll caused by US wars and covert actions over the past 40 years. The death toll runs into the tens of millions of people. There is Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, all the covert actions and wars in Latin America, the surrogate armies of UNITA and Renamo in Angola and Mozambique and on and on it goes. This does not even include the thousands of children who die every day by the maldistribution of wealth in the world caused by the capitalist system. An organization called Food First has shown that enough food is produced in the world every day to feed everyone. It is simply that poor people don't have the money to buy that food. The capitalist's answer is charity. That may be wonderful public relations and ease the capitalist's conscience, but is as effective as blowing into a hurricane.

The super rich can both rob and kill with impunity. I mean those that own America, the Rockefellers, the Morgans, the Mellons, the Waltons, etc. Those who own the factories, mines, railroads and own a huge percentage of the world's wealth. They don't rob and kill themselves, but use surrogates both in the stock market and in the armed forces of the United States. They use propaganda in the media, which they own, to cover their crimes. However, they are still the worst crooks and killers the world has ever known.



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