News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: War Profits, Cynicism, and the Ghoul's Flag

Thursday, December 29, 2005

War Profits, Cynicism, and the Ghoul's Flag

Being a cynic means looking for honesty in all things. It's not that all things human are inherently motivated by evil or perverse desires. It's the recognition that people do things for reasons that if they knew about they'd choose to do something more honest and worthy of a higher truth and good.

The tragedy of 911, we were told, was a time for uniting and not fighting each other. It was a time to see a common enemy and to join forces to fight that enemy. It should've been a time for moral reassessment and reflection on what it is that generates hatred in the world against us.

All of these things, you might say, were achieved...

And yet, in America you'll always find people out to make a fast buck. People out to cheat the dreamers and rosy-glassed utopians and the engineers of future shining cities on a hill. With the widow in mourning, these types are the ones who'll sell her a grave site in a swamp.

So, it's a matter of common-sense in America to ask in all things: "show me the money," (in the words of an otherwise forgetful movie). "Show me the money" comes alive when you wonder why this false war on terror, this pandering and exploitation of people's sorrow and anxieties profits not only the gravedigger but also the graveseller, as well as his bigger cousins the war profiteers.

Show me the money... If you think it's cynical to point to those who'd profit from grief and terror and fear, consider the individuals who filed false death claims and the many companies that profited after 911. Of course, in the march to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was easy to forget that companies and individuals had hoped to bilk New York for their own profit. Now comes the revelation that companies received money destined for companies hurt by the 911 attack but shouldn't have.

Another story out of Washington and reported in the Washington Post describes how politicians and capitalists banded together to exploit 911 for monetary and political gain.

And those who would wink and smile condescendingly at me for stating the obvious? You are not cynics, you are vultures knowing that you'd do the same thing if you were in the right circumstances. A cynic asks for honesty and truth in all things, as difficult and ugly as that might be. A cynic does not buy into the craven exploitation of people's fears, false hopes, and dreams. A cynic grieves when people suffer under an illusion--s/he does not mock that person with false pity and secret delight.

Where dreams are illusionary, then a counter-balance of the concrete is needed. Where lies are told, the truth must out. In this war against terrorism, built on lies and deceit, we see once again the fleeting hand of the true beneficiary of these deaths and this destruction: the money men with their overseas bank accounts, their $2,000 suits, and their Joe-next-door smile wrapped up in star-spangled jibber.

It's time to call a spade a spade. This war is not for you or me; it's war for the profiteers whose ghoulish plans are lies within lies.

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