“Falsehood is a recognised and extremely useful weapon in warfare, and every country uses it quite deliberately to deceive its own people, to attract neutrals, and to mislead the enemy…the fraud, hypocrisy, and humbug on which all war rests, and the blatant and vulgar devices which have been used for so long to prevent the poor ignorant people from realising the true meaning of war.” Arthur Ponsonby, 1928.
Facts must be distorted, relevant circumstances concealed, and a picture presented which by its crude colouring will persuade the ignorant people that their Government is blameless, their cause is righteous, and the indisputable wickedness of the enemy has been proved beyond question. Has any country – in modern times ever gone to war for other than noble reasons? As a nation consists of millions of people and the absurd analogy of an individual criminal and a nation may become apparent even to moderately intelligent people, it is necessary to detach an individual on whom may be concentrated all the vitriol and venom of an innocent people who are only defending themselves from ‘unprovoked aggression’. Naturally, the country’s leader is chosen as that individual. Prominent people of repute, who would have shrunk from condemning their bitterest personal enemy on the evidence, or rather lack of evidence, they had before them, do not hesitate to lead the way in charging a whole nation with every conceivable atrocity and crime. For every one person who noticed the denial, there are a thousand who only heard the lie. The most upright men honestly believe that there is no depth of duplicity to which they may legitimately stoop. They have got to do it. In war-time, failure to lie is negligence, the doubting of a lie a misdemeanor, the declaration of the truth a crime. If the truth were told from the outset, there would be no reason and no will for war.
Wars are always profitable for a few. General Smedley Butler, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, said: War is a racket.
Wars will persist as long as some people see them as a business opportunity. In capitalism, the profit motive is amoral; greed is good, even when it feeds war. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is willing to play along. It always sees “vulnerabilities” and always wants more money. The business aspect of this is selling the idea the U.S. Army isn’t prepared and therefore needs yet another new generation of expensive high-tech weaponry. It’s like convincing high-end consumers their three-year-old Audi or Lexus is obsolete so they must buy the latest model else lose face. The Pentagon mantra is always for more and better, which often turns out to be for less and much more expensive.
It’s a version of planned or artificial obsolescence. Consider the Air Force. It could easily defeat its enemies with updated versions of A-10s, F-15s, and F-16s, but instead, the Pentagon plans to spend as much as $1.4 trillion on the shiny new and under-performing F-35. The Army has an enormous surplus of tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, but the call goes forth for a “new generation.” No other navy comes close to the U.S. Navy, yet the call goes out for a new generation of ships.
The economic processes of capitalism lead to war. The political processes of capitalism, based upon its national and territorially structured State, cannot create peace. The fight to control the oil-producing regions of the world, by the various countries is but a further indication of the impossibility of peace under capitalism.
War in terms of the slaughter of human beings, of military personnel and civilians, in the destruction of property and wealth and in the dislocation of the lives of tens of millions of peoples, is impossible to calculate now. Science is organized and chained to the war machine, with the result that the most devastating weapons of destruction are devised to slaughter human beings. The good that science can do to elevate the living standards of a whole world is subjected to the control of the profit-greedy capitalist class. Gigantic weapons of destruction are part of the war machinery of all countries. They reveal how capitalism devours the people during war just as it devours them in peacetime through poverty and starvation. Millions die a slow death in peacetime as a result of this system. Millions die quicker in wartime from much more direct means. But the net result is the same.
One can see that there is no real hope for future peace except through the abolition of capitalism which is the evil breeder of militarism and war. Is peace worth struggling for? If you think so, then the Socialist Party needs you. It needs volunteers for the class war and world revolution. The sole hope for humanity, the hope of civilisation, lies in the establishment of a socialist society of production for use, of genuine freedom and equality.