The penultimate truth about war

In his novel The Penultimate Truth, Philip K. Dick proposed the concept that the war was staged in order to keep people enslaved and ignorant of the fact that they were slaves.

Politicians habitually promise peace and prosperity, but our troops remain overseas, embroiled in fights that they cannot win.  In fact, the politicians often tie their hands with rules and regulations that make it impossible to win.

Vietnam claimed thousands of young Americans, the vast majority of whom were young black men.  Iraq, Afghanistan and other regional conflicts continue to claim the lives of thousands of young American men and women.  In fact, these fights have also claimed the lives of thousands of people who were unfortunate enough to be living in the battle zones.

We hailed the regime change in Egypt, bombed Libya from the air and sent Navy vessels into the Persian Gulf near the shores of Iran.  We seem to be preparing to interfere in the bloody civil war in Syria, where we have already armed the rebels.


What do distant lands have to do with American security?  What threat do those sovereign nations, large and small, pose to Americans?

One thing that foreign wars have accomplished since the early 20th century has been to disguise the real unemployment rate here at home.  With young people engaged in battles overseas, fewer people are left to seek jobs at home.  Another, more insidious result of these conflicts has been to inspire patriots to work harder, pay higher taxes and enjoy a lower standard of living than they would otherwise do, if we were not at war.

The wealthy and powerful elite do not suffer from war; they profit from it.  They buy and sell munitions and all the supplies that the military needs.  Some actually participate as civilian contractors who are paid quite well, especially when compared to the dirt-poor wages that our troops receive.

My fellow Americans, we are slaves to debt that is not our own.  That debt rises every time we engage in a foreign conflict, every time we bail out a bank or other large corporation, every time we subsidize “green” jobs.  But we must not complain because we are at war against poverty, against global warming and — most frightening of all — we are at war against terrorism.  Really?  Or is it just a staged game of Stratego, designed to keep us ignorant of the fact that we are enslaved?