October 1, 2001

by Craig Lucas

Throughout the Cold War, the American people were successfully talked into conflating our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms with “free-market capitalism.” These are two different things. There is nothing in the Constitution about profits or markets or capitalism. It’s time to put an end to profiteering as the primary goal behind our foreign policy.

A blind goat could tell you that both our president and vice president are oil magnates. George Bush, Sr. was an oil magnate (as well as one-time director of the CIA). The Gulf War was fought to protect oil companies. The rebel forces in the Soviet-Afghan War were funded, trained and supported by the United States. Billions of our tax dollars went to training and funding Osama bin Laden and others. Saddam Huseein gassed the Kurds with our full support. We had no problems with his human rights abuses until he threatened the oil fields of Kuwait. Today, we are still holding an embargo on food and medicine going into Iraq. It is internationally accepted that more than half a million children have died in Iraq as a result. And Saddam Hussein is more powerful than ever.

America’s prime export is weaponry. Guns and bombs far outweigh any other export item. Private American companies profit off of the boundless wars conducted around the world.

It is time we outlawed the sale of American weapons outside the United States.

It is time we insisted our leaders have no conflict of interest. Thomas Paine warned us in no uncertain terms what would result.

It is time our foreign policy places human rights considerations over profit.

It is time the CIA have an oversight committee representing all Americans, including private citizens.

Billions of dollars, your money, have been used to train and fund torturers and terrorists in a staggering number of instances, including the Shah’s government in Iran, Chile under Pinochet, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, South Korea, apartheid-era South Africa, Pakistan, Guatemala, Peru.

It is time our media be held responsible for presenting the full range of facts, opposing opinions. The private companies that own these media outlets are part and parcel of the global financial networks that benefit from arms sales. Demand more public television. The airwaves legally belong to us, even if congress thinks they can give them away to multibillionaires and private corporations.

I believe the American people are good. No decent citizen would have stood for the slaughter of 30,000 Nicaraguan citizens if they had known it was being conducted with our support, money, and training.

Now is the time to know. Now is the time to speak up.

Write your congressperson, your senator, and your president and tell them what you think. They work for us, not the other way around.

september 11
Winter 2002
The cover of BOMB 78