Questions of Logic In the Business of War

You have probably read or read about the Washington Post’s series on Top Secret America.

After listening to the talk show pundits and reading a few commentaries on the subject I began to consider a question that, while on the periphery of the discussion, no one seems to have posed. Perhaps it is too naive a question.

The parameters of the question are this: The military works for the US government and ultimately for the people; the tax paying public. They train their soldiers to understand this. Their stated goal is to protect the country and it’s citizens. These tax paying citizens want to see their tax dollars go to the best use for the good of the country.

Privately held, profit-motivated companies, for instance Blackwater, are in the sole business of helping to wage war. From a logical standpoint what is their motivation to in any way assist in the cessation of a given war?

From a corporate standpoint, helping to end a large scale conflict could only lead to decreases in their profit margin.

I understand the implications of what I am asking. I’m not addressing the foot-soldier here; nor the outright mercenary. I’m talking about a military contractor corporate equivalent of BP’s President Tony Hayward. Where does he draw the line when considering his livelihood and the financial health of his company?


Hard Times Across America

The first story is from early in the year. As you can see from the subsequent items, things did not improve over the summer.

6 out of 10 people are living paycheck to paycheck

1 in 8 using food stamps

Hunger in US at 14 year high

Having grown up in a single parent household, I understand the stresses of putting off necessary things until payday. And for that reason, I am glad to see that people are utilizing the services that their tax dollars have paid for over the years.

As I was growing up, my mother would not consider accepting “welfare” under any circumstances. Suffering the many stigmas of poverty, the further humiliation of stooping to ask for “welfare” was beyond what my mother could accept. But there were times when more food or something a little more varied than Fried Fatback Biscuits for dinner would have been looked on as a positive thing.

But to offer a fair and balanced view (and actually do it with a straight face), I’ll include this quote from the Hunger story:

“Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”

Down the road, a problematic convergence is coming into view. More unemployed means less taxes paid. More unemployed also means more people utilizing the system paid for with tax dollars.

A few brave souls have proposed raising taxes on the wealthy, who seem to be the only ones benefitting from Reagan’s deregulation orgy of the 80’s. I was glad to see a War Tax put on the table by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey.

If they limit the taxation to those who have supported the war(s) or those who have profited from them, I’d get myself elected just so I could see it passed.