By Iftekhar A Khan
September 29, 2016
After the UN summit in New York to highlight the plight of refugees and migrants, it is pertinent to investigate which countries in the world are most responsible for rendering people homeless. People migrating to avoid famines, poverty and pestilence form a small part of the misery story. The much larger and most gruesome part relates to those who were forced to flee their countries because of the imperial wars imposed on them.
The UN summit on the status of refugees revealed that “sixty-five million people had been forced to flee their homes because of conflict, violence or persecution”. To count himself among the tender-hearted who deeply felt about the plight of refugees, Barack Obama uttered words of empathy for them during his speech at the UN General Assembly. An act of glaring dichotomy there if we question which country profits from wars and conflict and is, therefore, responsible for making peaceful and settled people homeless.
The US is the largest manufacturer and exporter of military equipment in the world. In 2015, it spent $596 billion on its military – an amount larger than the combined military expense of the next six high spending countries of the world. The US has grabbed 54 percent share of world’s supplies of military hardware.
Now the big question: with colossal allocation of funds to develop the military machine, would the superpower want the wars to end? Or would it stoke wars to benefit its economy and its defence contractors? It’s relevant to point out that the manufacturers of military hardware are the leading contributors towards various US election campaigns.
Reporting on the refugee crisis, Sarah Lazare wrote in AlterNet, a reliable source of information, that “The US led the world in arms exports during a period of rising conflict and war, leading to levels of human displacement not seen since World War II. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimated last year that one out of every 122 people on the planet has been violently uprooted from their homes by war and persecution, thereby forced to become refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced people. If all of these displaced people formed a country, it would be the 24th largest in the world.” Wonder how Barack Obama would comment on the report as well as maintain his high moral stature, as portrayed in his speech at the UN General Assembly.
US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a favourite of arms manufacturers. Arms manufacturers had also donated for her 2006 Senate election. How do such politicians, who win elections financed by weapons’ manufacturers, return the favours given them? Simple. These politicians, on attaining power, formulate policies to invade weaker countries, change their regimes, divide their territories, plunging them into anarchy and mayhem.
Hillary Clinton was a leading proponent of the wars in Iraq and Libya. Who benefitted from the invasions? While the American public suffered, as it received its dead soldiers in body bags, weapons manufacturers and suppliers of logistical services reaped windfall profits.
It is important to ask why the US media does not inform its people about the unprovoked wars their leaders force upon other countries, located thousands of miles away. The corporate media will not report on that by design; instead, it will scare the American people by creating an atmosphere of paranoia. Only then can the American public endure the pain of receiving its dead stoically and bury them solemnly.
Let’s put it in another way. When our soldiers sacrifice their lives while protecting our national borders, there’s deep motivation behind it – safeguard of territorial integrity. What’s the source of motivation behind the American soldiers fighting in distant Afghanistan and Iraq, other than promoting and protecting the corporate interests of the Military Industrial Complex?
It would be instructive if every US soldier read ‘War Is a Racket’ by Maj Gen Smedley Buttler, a war hero, who realised that fighting wars in other countries was a racket. In first chapter of the book he wrote, “...war is only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
Weapon manufacturers count the dollars and American public its losses in lives. And such ‘rackets’ inflicted upon defenceless countries only produce millions of refugees to languish in alien lands as lowly citizens.