War and sacrifice?
It is, in fact, a war so critical to our survival, we are told, that we must win it at all costs.
And as our billions flow into this war and select corporations’ pockets, our country’s real needs remain criminally neglected.
The costs of this war are paid in the blood of our finest young men, women, fathers, brothers, daughters and sons. The costs of this war are paid in the maiming of their bodies and the loss of their lives.
War and sacrifice?
That was then; now it’s all about greed
By Dr. W.E. McLaughlin
The Exxon Mobil Corp. recently announced that, for a second year, they had taken in record profits of nearly forty billion dollars, surpassing all other corporations’ all-time profit levels. When I reflect on the national effort during a previous war, WW II, the family stories I heard about the way people in this country voluntarily rationed food, rubber, aluminum and other war materials—gasoline included—I am struck by the stark contrasts between then and now.
During WW II all of the people pulled together to do whatever they could to help the overall war effort, taking jobs in factories, making great personal sacrifices to assure their country’s victory. Not to share in those sacrifices would have been unthinkable.
Currently, if we are to believe our leaders and their constant reminders, we are again at war. It is, in fact, a war so critical to our survival, we are told, that we must win it at all costs. Those costs, it should be noted, are not directly paid by our elected leaders who initiated the current war policies. They are paid in tax dollars taken in revenue from the working classes of this society (higher income individuals have been largely relieved of their share of this wartime burden, due to fortuitous changes in tax law). More importantly, the costs of this war are paid in the blood of our finest young men, women, fathers, brothers, daughters and sons. The costs of this war are paid in the maiming of their bodies and the loss of their lives. The question this presents is inescapable: Are we not presently at war in the Middle East, in every sense of that term, as horrifically and destructively as we were in WW II?
If the answer is yes, then we are morally obligated ask: How can these oil corporations possibly justify such grotesquely high profits, made on the backs of everyday Americans who are already shouldering the costs of this war in so many other ways? Do they actually expect us to believe that, at the outset of this war, they were not aware that any disruption of oil production in that geographical locale, of any size or duration, would produce skyrocketing oil prices worldwide? Are we asked to believe they had no idea that futures speculation and the fear of potential production shortages would inflate the price per barrel astronomically?
Obviously they did know. This war was a “can’t lose” proposition for the oil companies. Consequently, our current leader, closely allied with the petroleum industry, was encouraged by his advisors to commit to the gross expenditure of our nation’s precious resources in this bloody, endless conflict. In fact, as long as this war continues, the petroleum industry knows it will continue to rake in record profits, handing out severance packages in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while we, the people, pay for it. And as our billions flow into this war and select corporations’ pockets, our country’s real needs remain criminally neglected.
The point is this: Had this kind of gluttonous assault on mainstream America occurred during WW II, these companies’ behavior would have been labeled for what it really is—war profiteering, a crime of treason, punishable by the most severe means. This voracious and insatiable greed, openly trumpeted with a swagger that belies their utter disdain for our nation and the values we now fight for is perfidy, a betrayal of us all.
The ineffectual media, once proudly regarded as the watchdog of truth and free speech, is stunningly silent regarding this issue.( Journalism schools are clearly ascribing a greater importance to celebrity drug cases these days). Congressional representatives, to whom we once looked for protection from this very type of blatant profiteering, are also conspicuously mute. But then, one wonders, with so much money to be disbursed at the discretion of the petroleum lobbies, can there possibly be a connection? Who will speak truth to power? Who will vilify this mercenary cabal and galvanize the public will to recognize and punish their arrogance and raw avarice?
When Prop. 87, a measure intended to require oil companies to pay their fair share, failed in California, it was partially due to the petroleum industry’s threat that it would raise oil prices if 87 succeeded. What occurred next was a classic slap in the face to the consumer: Prop. 87 failed and companies raised their prices anyway! They continue to openly behave as if they are above the laws of this land. I submit that they are NOT in control of this country. We, the ordinary citizens, are in control. We must speak out now and continue to speak until the truth of what is being perpetrated upon us daily, to the profound injury of our nation, its leadership and its people, is acknowledged and severely punished to the fullest extent currently permitted under constitutional statutes. §
Dr. W.E. McLaughlin writes from Arroyo Grande.