Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Special Interests"

Barack Obama was right when he said in Pennsylvania, last night, that the next president must take on the corporate special interests that have had their way for generations in this country.
But, make no mistake, whether we elect John McCain, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton in November, and even if all three miraculously agree to withdraw troops from Iraq, we will be involved in combat somewhere for years to come. Too many people are getting too damn rich from war in this country.

So, we can continue to expect to hear more noise coming from Hillary in Tehran’s direction, while Barack inches towards Afghanistan, or Pakistan, and McCain, well, he may not be clear about where his target is, but guaranteed he’ll come out swinging anyway. Yes, even if he has to outsource his foreign policy, we can rest assured there will be lots of heavy lifting, with a McCain presidency. What’s more, regardless of who sits in the White House, we can expect no let up in combat as long as there is money, and big money, to be made in war.

The challenge for Senator Obama is not just to take on the nebulous, and omnipresent “special interests,” which presumably include the pharmaceutical companies, the health care industry, the gun lobby, and the tobacco industry, but challenge the merchants of death, the military contractors, whose deconstruction of Baghdad has resulted in obscene profits, the likes of which are inconceivable, and grow fatter every day.

If we learned nothing else from the stunning disclosure, last Sunday, by The New York Times that so-called military analysts for major T.V. news networks like MSNBC, Fox, and CNN were not only scripted by the likes of Cheney and the Pentagon, but receiving billions of dollars in revenue from their defense contracts, we should learn this: we’re not only paying the price for their exploits at the pump, but every time we turn on the news, and expect to hear the truth about this war that will continue to cost the lives of the poorest among us while filling the coffers of those who inhabit the upper one percent.

Until we’ve figured out how to switch from a wartime, to a peace-time, economy, we will continue to see redeployments, or repositioning of troops, and not withdrawal.

And, any presidential candidate who vows to address the conflict of interest posed by taking money from corporate lobbies must also work to stop those who peddle influence while flagrantly profiteering off the blood, hopes, and dreams of our troops. Anything less will be business as usual in Washington.