(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) — One of the few elected Democratic lawmakers with an extensive anti-war record, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has combined forces with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to push legislation through both the House and the Senate that would bar federal agencies from using taxpayer-backed funds to provide weapons, training, intelligence, or any other type of support to terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other group that is associated with them in any way. The Stop Arming Terrorists Act is so unique that it’s also the only bill of its kind that would also bar the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries that support (directly or indirectly) terrorists such as Saudi Arabia.
To our surprise — or should we say shame? — only 13 other lawmakers out of hundreds have co-sponsored Gabbard’s House bill. Paul’s Senate version of the bill, on the other hand, has zero cosponsors.
While both pieces of legislation were introduced in early 2017, no real action has been taken as of yet. This proves that Washington refuses to support bills that would actually provoke positive chain reactions not only abroad but also at home. Why? Well, let’s look at the groups that would lose a great deal in case this bill is signed into law.
Military & Homeland Security Companies, Lobbyists, And Lawmakers All Profit From War
With trillions of tax dollars flowing to companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and even IBM, among others, companies that invest heavily in weapons, cyber security systems, and other technologies that are widely used in times of war would stand to lose a lot — if not everything — if all of a sudden, the United States chose to become a nation that stands for peace and free market principles.
For one, these companies have a heavy lobbying presence, ensuring that lawmakers sympathetic to their plight are elected every two years. When the possibility of a new conflict appears on the horizon, these companies are the first to lobby heavily for action.
But this dynamic isn’t a secret. We all know that the crony capitalist system that thrives in Washington, D.C., is the very bread and butter of politics in America. After all, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation in his farewell address in 1961 that “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” were becoming the great powers behind U.S. politics, and that if we weren’t wary of this influence, we would risk living in a perpetual state of war.
Still, we allowed it to take over. And there isn’t one industry powerful enough to counter this destructive authority.
With the support of an army of well-established and connected millionaire lobbyists, the war machine operating in Washington is so powerful that anything can be turned into an existential threat.
Any conflict abroad that has absolutely no importance or that poses literally no threat to the common American is inflated to become a threat to the American way of life. They hate us “for our freedom.” Therefore, we must show them what democracy looks like.
Without the same kind of powerful and wealthy team behind the cause for sanity and peace, this army of big money and big lobbyists has single-handedly put us and many generations to come in debt over Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and now Syria. And as the marketing machine behind this kind of lobbying effort taps into the social justice trend that has infiltrated every aspect of our culture in recent years, these organizations have learned that they will get even broader support from the public if they add feminist, anti-poverty, and pro-equality messages to their pro-war efforts.
Take the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, for instance, which, as NBC has reported, originated with “Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former vice president of the World Bank for the Africa region and a senior advisor on Africa Economic Development Policy for the Open Society Foundations” — a George Soros-backed foundation. In no time, the social media “effort” had become the most effective lobbying force behind the expansion of the never-ending war on terror. And whether it was meant to promote this outcome or not, it helped the United States easily invest more tax dollars into an unwinnable war.
As you can see, even if Gabbard and Paul managed to use all of their time to force the Stop Arming Terrorists Act through Congress so it could get to President Donald Trump’s desk, the powers at play in Washington would do their best to sweep this effort under the rug. Not because individuals involved in pro-war lobbying are, perhaps, thirsty for war per se, but because the system under which they operate allows for bad incentives to produce a great deal of wealth and influence, tilting the balance toward evil.
Without a state that can be bribed, companies would be left to fend for themselves and stay afloat by making customers… happy. And you can’t make customers happy if all you have to offer is war.