No-Fault Wars

When it comes to America's wars, the buck stops nowhere

When it comes to America’s wars, the buck stops nowhere

Henry Pelifian

Today, war in the U.S. is like no-fault car insurance. Nobody is responsible, but everybody pays.  Even a declaration of war as stated in the U.S. Constitution is not needed.  This no-fault war policy is bipartisan and includes the endless Global War on Terror at enormous cost.  The policy includes a codicil extending to national security failures and malfeasance on September 11, 2001, with assignment of blame diverted by the bipartisan creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the PATRIOT Act.

An unwritten law in the U.S. stipulates that wars must be fully supported by the mainstream media as if the mobilization order included the media.  Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and drone strikes in foreign countries are fully covered by this no-fault policy clause in news coverage.  Meanwhile, elected politicians blithely conduct government business while remaining mute on the lies, mistakes, and corruption of these wars.

Death and destruction in foreign countries is rarely seen on highly profitable U.S. television networks whose existence is permitted in legislation calling for “public” airwaves.  Destroyed lives and homes and refugees are missing in U.S. news as if our bombs and bullets have nothing to do with their devastation in far off lands.  The horrific effects of war in distant lands are unseen, except for the maimed and dead bodies of Americans returning from these lands.

No bad news about war is very good news for the imperial state and its war profiteers.

How wonderful that the two embedded political parties work to subvert the Constitution and election laws. No real competition in views is allowed, especially about America’s wars, even though a hallmark of authentic capitalism is vigorous competition.  How wonderful that elected representatives remain in office for decades without resolving major issues while committing the nation to war after war. How wonderful how they continue to claim without proof that war will make the nation safer.  How wonderful for them to have minimal debate on the necessity or wisdom of going to war.  How wonderful to have pre-emptive wars without national discussion and debate. How wonderful for them to move through the revolving door from elected official to high-paid lobbyist while still beating the drums of war.

Military interventionism takes the form of financially and militarily propping up foreign puppets for private or political interests masked as national interest. But puppets cannot stand on their own, even with billions in American taxpayer dollars. Consider the news out of Iraq and Afghanistan; despite billions in aid, both American-sponsored governments are nearing collapse, propped up only by U.S. troops and dollars.

Military interventions often backfire such as in 1953 when Iranian president Mohammed Mossadegh’s government nationalized the oil fields, prompting U.S. and British covert operations to overthrow his democratic government and install a dictator friendly to foreign oil companies.  U.S. intervention destroyed a democracy, leading 25 years later to the Iranian revolution and the creation of its current government, which now has stringent economic sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. because it may be seeking a nuclear weapon (to deter the next CIA-led intervention, perhaps?).

For hundreds of U.S. embassies and consulates across the globe the art of diplomacy sits idle while the engines of war strike wherever it is deemed necessary.  U.S. embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan are fortresses guarded by expensive private mercenaries.  Everywhere the U.S. sees existential or strategic threats while opportunities for compromise and harmony are ignored.

How wonderful for U.S. elected representatives to serve for decades while acting as if the American superpower needs no lessons in the limits of power. The mere mention of non-intervention is met with powerful “think tank” rebuttals that isolationism is unacceptable and dangerous.

When did non-interventionism mean isolationism?

How wonderful that the lone superpower and its elected representatives stride the globe bringing freedom and democracy as their own nation becomes ever less free and more militarized.  Freedom and democracy are militarized and restricted for the sake of the nation’s security, a formula that’s ever so agreeable to the status quo.

Wrapped in fear, No-Fault War has developed with obedience to the state in all things.


Henry Pelifian has worked in both public and private sectors with years in Thailand, Malaysia and Iran.  He served in the U.S. Army in South Vietnam and he is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand.  He has written two books and a play, THOREAU.

9 thoughts on “No-Fault Wars

  1. Allow me to add three more “wonderfuls”: How wonderful that while they await future cushy jobs as lobbyists or PR people in the war industry, Congress-critters (as James Hightower labels them) collect a dandy salary from the taxpayers, with a “Cadillac level” health plan to boot. How wonderful that the electorate–those who actually bother to vote, at any rate–still believe these critters represent their best interests (despite the occasional vow to “Throw all the bums out of office!”). And how wonderful that, looking at the bigger picture, the populace still accepts “the nation’s security” as meaning something other than the Ruling Class’s security, which is really what domestic and foreign policy are all about.

    • As you say it is more about the agenda of the Ruling Class than what is best for America. What is intriguing is that most major issues like the Iraq and Afghan wars, torture, financial bailout the facts are always in dispute, statistics or strategic reasons are used to justify these things or for others to condemn these actions and policies. Everything is in dispute. Nothing is settled. There is no consensus, no national debate. Endless wars. Our television networks (public air waves) are often cheerleaders for government providing few, if any, facts to challenge government. With each passing day the republic is weaker as our military superpower supremacy is built on economic sand.

      Do we really have a free press in the national television network news? Are the networks tied to government through legislation which allows enormous profits to flow to media companies making it an unwise business decision to ever challenge government through facts, reporting and information contradicting government?

      • “Everything is in dispute. Nothing is settled.” Yeah, we can’t even get a straight answer from Pope Francis as to whether doggies can go to Heaven! In a more serious vein, leave it to Dick Cheney to go on national TV and defend the use of torture, saying it “got results.” And it’s okay to torture “terrorists” anyway, because they’re evil people. Uh, one little problem, Dick baby: you were torturing people you kidnapped on foreign soil, in gross violation of international law, and you lacked any evidence you could bring to a court to PROVE that these people were “terrorists.” Certainly the media have changed since ‘Uncle’ Walter Cronkite publicly expressed serious doubts about US policy in Southeast Asia. TV networks depended on paying sponsors 50 years ago, of course, and must have tread lightly to avoid offending them. But the role of corporations has become blatantly more direct in sponsoring legislation that “regulates” their activities. And of course media personnel are now expected to be embedded with US military forces in wars abroad. Bleak as the picture just painted is, I think there is still some respectable reporting going on these days. We haven’t quite–I said, quite–reached the point where the image of Big Brother appears on our TV screens every evening to soothe us and assure us that victory is just around the corner. Say, pass me that bottle of Victory Gin, will ya? Thanks, comrade.

  2. “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” Alexis de Tocqueville
    Yea, I keep posting this; does anyone see any evidence of liberty (some call it freedom) being lost these days? Maybe there ought to be a bumper sticker – “my money and my children go to war” … or “War, the opiate of the masses” — they might give the ‘right’ idea.

    • Paraphrasing Alexis de Tocqueville- A Congress that engages in protracted war endangers the freedom of a democratic country. The majority of the 535 composed of two political parties have been unimpeded in endangering freedom while they give names to legislation like Patriot Act, Freedom this or that and funding “think tanks” with public funds that advocate ever more interventions and finally approving wars as their solution with failed results from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Viewing our TV networks one might believe the country has been successful in war and Mid-East foreign policies. Is the news media, especially TV networks standing reality on its head? If so, the country is living in a parallel universe where other empires have traveled before to disintegration.

      • It appears to me that the corporate grip on the MSM has gotten so stifling that no contemporary version of Walter Cronkite is going to appear and editorialize against this absurd “War on Terror” that apparently is slated to run until the end of time. (Or at any rate, any such attempt would lead to instant dismissal.) FOX “News” and News Corp. are controlled by the extreme rightwing Murdoch dynasty. CNN, formerly boasting of being “The most trusted name in news,” has become, literally, a tabloid operation. Just look at their website. I watch the NBC evening TV newscast most often, and it increasingly features what I call fluff stories, plus promos for related products (tonight it was the new ‘Jurassic Park’ movie from Universal Pictures–which shares the same umbrella parent conglomerate). Not so many years ago NBC would’ve been required to run a disclosure about this cozy interrelationship. I’m sure the other major networks are just as bad. And PBS? They’re under increasing pressure from the Koch brothers, governing the content/attitudes on display.

        Am I calling for reform of the media? Not at all! I automatically filter out the BS and propaganda as it flows at me. Unfortunately the great bulk of the populace has never acquired that skill. Gee, I wonder why? You mean critical, independent thinking isn’t encouraged in the nation’s schools?!? I am shocked, I tell you, simply shocked!!

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