The death of Kayla Mueller, and the consequent media spectacle, with the near immediate request by President Barack Obama to authorize war against ISIS anywhere in the world, puts into stark relief the extent to which war is embedded now as a significant part of GDP in America*. In a time of glaring "inequality", when the economic "recovery" is a contrast between those who are invested in Wall Street and everybody else, the direct beneficiaries of TARP and QE taking over America in a kind of quiet coup, what we have got since the fall of the World Trade Towers is a kind of global untouchable aristocracy encouraging conflict on every front. The economy poised at a kind of knife edge, any cut in military expenditures, with American growth anemic, European instability, Russian sanctions, a Chinese debt bubble, Japanese money printing madness, and global demand deflation, could result in de-growth for America and global economic depression. To deflect the people from the malfeasance and outright mismanagement of global economic affairs, and really outright plundering of national treasuries, war is ever the answer, the ultimate imperial distraction.
Good thing for GDP bean counters, the increased economic activity of the war profiteers, that America is increasingly hostile toward Russia, Syria, ISIS and North Korea. Little did Kayla know how "useful" her healing hands would be.
As part of my job, maintaining housing for the profoundly autistic, I was painting a wall I had repaired, while one of the staff, a young father of about 27, watched CNN and Fox coverage of the death of Kayla Mueller. I asked him what he thought: "It sounds terrible," he said, "but my first thought was, I wonder if she really existed." I replied that it seemed like she did, that she was a kind, pretty, generous, thoughtful, loving, self-less young woman, who very much wanted to bring healing to the world, and that there would certainly be people in America who would not necessarily be sorry that she is dead.
Classic psy-ops/perception management. "Never waste a crisis." I don't think the leadership of America realizes to what extent it has trickled down into the consciousness of Americans, the concept of government and media manipulation, how everything about war and the economy is never quite as it seems. When did Kayla die? How? How was it that she was taken captive before ISIS became news; as hideously brutal as they have seemed, that she was treated with "the utmost kindness," even gaining weight, and yet there were no demands? She wasn't news until she was dead. She was kidnapped in August 2013!
Maybe she died in a Jordanian airstrike, maybe she died a long time ago. Maybe she died in a recent combat skirmish, ISIS vs ?, and "her captors couldn't keep her safe." Whatever, the next day Obama asks Congress for military authorization to go to war against ISIS, anywhere in the world.
Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, said recently that the US invasion of Iraq created ISIS. That is only part of the story. Destabilizing the Middle East has been American foreign policy, if unspoken, at least since the mid-Nineties. With recent revelations suggesting Saudi involvement in 9/11, it begins to look like ISIS as well as Al Qaeda, were cultivated in a joint venture by American neo-cons, and Saudi princes. ISIS is much a result of American meddling in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq (etc). Combined with Middle East over-population, high unemployment, and legions of disaffected young men educated only in the finer points of hard-core conservative Islam, it was a potent means of making war profiteering extremely lucrative, indefinitely.
It's no secret, a cabal of geo-political Neo-Cons, and economic Neo-Liberals, have aspired after an imperialist Pax-Americana based on debt and a monopoly on power, global hegemonic domination, since at least the Clinton era, and really since Ronald Reagan, and the rise of Chicago School supply-side, trickle-down economics. Full-spectrum dominance, according to the military. Groups like the Council on Foreign Relations, Project for a New American Century, have advocated openly for such a Pax-Americana, and any serious evaluation of American realpolitik reveals, continuity in the building of a total surveillance infrastructure, eternal war profiteering, and the empowering of multinational banks and corporations, is the ideological (if unspoken) foundation of both major political parties in America.
Indeed, it is as if we are on Imperial auto-pilot, like total war is as inevitable as the passing of the seasons. This is obvious to even the most casual observer, and yet a film like American Sniper, and the death of Kayla Mueller, reveals how easily so many in America can be swayed. The American people still perceive the measles virus a greater threat than an untouchable class of war profiteers seemingly destined to initiate Armageddon/Apocalypse/WWIII. Is a virus that has killed fewer people in America than the vaccine the last twenty years, a greater danger than banks and military contractors and their executives and shareholders guiding American foreign policy?
Then again, it bears to return to the question, who profits? Of course there are those making millions, tens and hundreds of millions, billions, profiting from war in the name of peace and freedom and democracy; at the same time, many corporations profiting from eternal war are traded publicly in the stock market. That means, hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, IRA's, 401k's, university endowment funds (unless there is some specific covenant restriction) profit directly from war. Which means something like 50% of Americans profit directly from war, and many of the rest profit indirectly, if only that the economy keeps humming along, the government keeps paying it's employees, handing out benefit checks, etc.
There are few things more morally repugnant than profiting off war. Especially now, when a global conflict, WWIII, would be universally damaging, would likely destroy much of global infrastructure, much of the capacity of humans to maintain a global economy. Especially as the rich and powerful of the world, more connected to those who are making the decisions about war, are more able to position themselves to profit in the aftermath, in the same way we have seen the exponential minting of billionaires, in the aftermath of the global economic crash of 2008.
What would Kayla say, about her life and death used as a means to benefit war profiteering? I think if she had known how much the conflict in Syria is a product of American imperialism, she might have found any number of places in the world where there is the opportunity to ease suffering, without running the risk of becoming a propaganda tool of warmongers. Which is a direct message to anyone inclined toward healing: if you want to bring healing to the world, start with yourself, by questioning everything you are told about America's wars. If you want to heal the world, heal America.
*Most of the "military expenditures as % of GDP" information to be found, is grossly inadequate, and make the US numbers seem small compared to much of the rest of the world. They do not take into account how much of the economy is ancillary to the military, the contractors involved, the suppliers etc. Nor do they take into account those agencies not specifically military in name - CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS etc - but very much about the State maintaining full spectrum dominance. And Washington and Wall Street and the Federal Reserve are become like a supra-national State unto themselves.