New York Times opposes war profiteers, but only Russian ones

This video says about itself:

How U.S. Companies Profit From War

29 September 2015

The United States exports more weapons than any other nation – which means American companies profit from other countries’ wars.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

New York Times voices moral outrage over profiteering military contractors … in Russia

By Bill Van Auken

11 July 2017

In an editorial published Monday, “The Spoils, and Profits, of Conflict,” the editors of the New York Times worked themselves into a moral lather over war profiteering by military contractors.

The subject is unquestionably one worth pursuing in a country that is engaged in at least seven different military conflicts, has troops stationed in nearly 150 countries and spends more on arms than the next nine largest military powers combined.

That these wars translate into massive profits for the arms industry and obscene fortunes for their stockholders, even as the American troops who do the killing and dying are drawn overwhelmingly from the working class and poor, is one of Washington’s dirty little secrets.

But the target of the Times’ umbrage is not the sprawling US military-industrial complex, but rather a little known Russian firm, Evro Polis, which, according to sources quoted by the newspaper, has made a deal with the Syrian government to provide private military contractors in return for Damascus guaranteeing it a share of the oil revenues from the areas that it retakes from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The newspaper describes the deal as “shadowy and secret” and reports that at the head of the company is a figure “close to President Vladimir Putin.” It goes on to provide what it presents as a shocking quote from an unnamed private security consultant that “War is business.”

The Times’ editors, seemingly conscious that they are treading on thin ice, acknowledge that “mercenaries have always been around” and even “played a major role with US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.” It goes on to cite the infamous 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, in which mercenary gunmen employed by the major US military contractor Blackwater gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded another 20.

Nonetheless, the newspaper insists, there is something uniquely nefarious about the deal between Evro Polis and the Syrian government, declaring that “turning the fight into a private scramble for profit is a dangerous and ignoble gambit.”

At this stage, after some 16 years of the US “war on terror,” the decimation of entire societies in the Middle East and the destruction of more than a million lives as a result of US acts of aggression, who does the Times editorial board think it is kidding?

Whatever the role of Evro Polis, its connection to the Russian government and the semi-criminal oligarchy that it represents, the fact of the matter is that it represents less than small potatoes in relation to the vast army of mercenary military contractors deployed by Washington, and the multi-billion-dollar corporations that profit from their exploits.

In Afghanistan today, there are nearly three military contractors for every US soldier deployed on the ground. In Iraq, contractors are 42 percent of the force fielded by the Pentagon.

As for “shadowy and secret” deals and close relations between military contractors and top government officials, this is hardly a Russian innovation. Has it escaped the memory of the Times editors that the largest military contractor in the Iraq war, scooping up seemingly unlimited billions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts, was Halliburton (now KBR), whose former CEO was none other than Vice President Dick Cheney?

This incestuous relationship underscoring the “war is business” model has been reprised under the current administration, with the elevation of the former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to the post of secretary of state.

And while citing Blackwater (which has since chosen the innocuous name Academi in an attempt to escape its legacy of blood and filth) as a fleeting historical reference, the Times doesn’t bother recalling for its readers that the company’s former CEO Erik Prince is the brother of current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and that he serves as an unofficial adviser to Trump, while continuing to reap huge profits off of the “private security” racket.

As for the feigned outrage over anyone who would dare turn war into a “scramble for profit,” the truth is that this is precisely what it has been since the advent of imperialism, and never more nakedly than in the past quarter century of uninterrupted US military interventions. As the Times foreign affairs commentator Thomas Friedman infamously commented—after first trying to sell the illegal invasion of Iraq as a legitimate response to non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” and a crusade for democracy and human rights in the Middle East—“I have no problem with a war for oil.”

The feigned shock of Times editorial page editor James Bennet over Russian military contractors embracing the profit motive beggars belief. After all, didn’t the newspaper support capitalist restoration and the dissolution of the Soviet Union? The editorial is merely one more piece of war propaganda on behalf of those sections of the military and intelligence apparatus and the ruling establishment as a whole that see Russia as the foremost obstacle to US imperialism’s drive to assert global hegemony.

Bennet, the brother of right-wing Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and son of Douglas Bennet, a former top State Department official who headed the Agency for International Development (AID), a frequent conduit for CIA operations, is closely attuned to these circles.

The problem for these factions for which the Times speaks is not that Russia is using mercenaries, but that its activities are cutting across crucial geo-strategic interests of American imperialism in Syria and the broader Middle East.

The newspaper’s hypocritical and hollow attempts to generate outrage over a military contract that is dwarfed by any number of similar deals struck by US war firms is part of an attempt to shift the Trump administration toward a more aggressive policy toward Moscow and, more decisively, counter the immense popular hostility in the US toward escalating a military confrontation with the world’s second-largest nuclear power.

Child Soldiers Reloaded: The Privatisation of War. How [United States] private companies recruit former [African] child soldiers for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. 01 May 2017: here.

Amid escalating militarism. Poll shows 76 percent of Americans fear a major war. 19 July 2017: here.

In the closing weeks of the summer, tens of thousands of NATO and Russian soldiers are participating in dueling war games across Europe. Just over a century after the guns of August 1914 announced the outbreak of World War I in Europe, conditions are being created in multiple military flash-points for the eruption of conflict between the world’s major nuclear powers: here.

The McCarthyite witch-hunts of the 1950s are viewed, among all thinking people, as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the United States. The term “McCarthyism” is synonymous with false allegations, intimidation and character assassination to serve the most reactionary political aims. Now, seven decades later, a new period of political witch-hunting has begun, spearheaded by the Democratic Party and the media outlets principally associated with it, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Political dissent is being associated with treason. The notorious phrase of the McCarthyites, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” is in the process of being revived and revised: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a critic of the US government?” If the answer is “yes,” that is tantamount to an admission that you are a stooge, if not an agent, of Russia and the devil-like Vladimir Putin: here.

9 thoughts on “New York Times opposes war profiteers, but only Russian ones

  1. Wednesday 26th July 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    Defending Lord Byron against high society’s disapproval of his marital arrangements, Baron Macauley exclaimed that “we know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.”

    These words spring to mind when contemplating the contrived fury in the media, the Democratic Party and US-ruling class circles about contacts between US President Donald Trump’s family and political circles, on the one side, and assorted Russian lawyers and diplomats on the other.

    The horror that some of the citizens of another country should try to interfere in the sancrosanct proceedings of a US election campaign!

    The shame that foreign offers to dish the dirt on saintly Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were not immediately reported to the US authorities by the Republican Party candidate’s son!

    The treachery that some of Trump’s other associates also spoke to … Russians!

    Worse still, they did so without immediately providing a record of said conversations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this hallowed “land of the free!”

    On the stump in last year’s presidential campaign, Trump committed the cardinal sin of not sharing the Pentagon’s war psychosis about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia.

    Some shared geopolitical and business interests between Trump, Putin and their respective oligarchies probably lay at the bottom of Trump’s reluctance to bang the war drum, rather than anything more elevated. But the victor in November’s election has since had to be pushed, harried and shamed into line and make the required warmongering noises at the Kremlin, although Trump still appears as if he doesn’t really mean it.

    He and his team, not least his son Donald Trump Jr, have blustered and lied about seemingly inconsequential contacts with minor Russian figures in a vain effort to blunt the attacks of a frenzied “liberal” media.

    Trump refers to the allegations and speculations as yet more examples of “fake news,” drawing yet more abuse and ridicule upon his head as a result.

    Certainly, he merits little or no sympathy from anyone who holds truth and facts in even the slightest regard. But still there is something ridiculous and even repugnant about the moral self-righteousness with which his liberal and Establishment critics now assail him.

    Since when has the US and its corporate, political and military elite believed in the non-interference of one country in another country’s elections?

    When did the US-ruling class and its CIA and military-industrial complex begin respecting the sovereign right of a nation to choose its own political, economic and social path?

    When, for that matter, did the US Establishment and mass media not engage in the mass manufacture of “fake news” to promote US monopoly capitalist interests around the world?

    The litany of US crimes against democracy and national sovereignty in the 20th and early 21st centuries will be depressingly familiar to veteran Morning Star readers.

    Covert financial and material assistance was given to many right-wing, anti-communist and even fascist movements in Italy, France and other countries in Europe and Latin America. Democratically elected governments were brought down from Guatemala to Chile and Iran to Indonesia to be replaced by bloody dictatorships, death squads and US-trained torturers.

    US military interventions in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Cuba, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere have led directly to the deaths of millions of civilians.

    And all these atrocities and many more were accompanied by barrages of “fake news” disseminated around the world by US media empires, lying prolifically about US foreign policy and anyone who dares to defy it.

    Trump is an artless novice when it comes to the nefarious arts of US state power.


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