From the safety of his stateside home, actor John Cusack has produced,
co-written and stars in a movie, "War, Inc.," deriding firms like
Blackwater, whose employees, at great personal risk, provide a service to
their country in time of war. Since they make money, he brands
them "war profiteers" who deserve to be treated as criminals.
In an interview in the Los Angeles Times, Cusack assails corporations
that profit during war. "Corporations have privatized the war to the point where
the war itself is the cost-plus business," he rants. "They're using the State
Department as an ATM."
He rails on: "They should be sent to prison. They should be convicted.
Their ideology should be shamed. We should revolt against them. We should mock
them." And so he made a film to do just that.
The film -- which Cusack wrote after the brutal murders
of military contractors in Fallujah inspired him to insult them -- is
about a corporation that destroys a fictional country in
a privately-run war, then rebuilds it, even gluing back limbs on
people after it has blown them off.
The whole point is supposed to be that war is nothing but a
corrupt profit-making scheme. Forget al Qaeda's numerous promises -- and efforts
-- to kill millions of Americans. Forget 9/11. And while you're at
it, forget World War II, during which numerous companies -- including
arch-villains like Hershey's chocolates -- provided wartime goods and
got paid for same. For Cusack, military conflict is but "a
protectionist racket for the government's favorite corporations to make money
off the war."
The war-profiteering charge, often expressed in vapid slogans like "no
war for oil," is fundamentally dishonest -- pacifism in disguise. Rather
than admit to a philosophy that opposes fighting even in self defense
or in defense of others -- which would mean declaring openly that Americans
should have sung Kumbaya after Pearl Harbor and that the US should
have left the Jews in Buchenwald, Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen to their
own devices -- pacifists hide their anti-war animus behind bogey men
who supposedly revel in, and profit by, death. They've made such scoundrels
out of people of all political persuasions, from Dick Cheney to
Diane Feinstein, and of companies ranging from Halliburton to Boeing --
That much war criticism is but misdirection to hide a brand of
America-loathing pacifism can be seen in the common left-wing charge that the
Iraq war is a diversion from the "real war" in Afghanistan -- coupled with
liberal antipathy to the Afghanistan effort as well, which, you
know, is all for the benefit of Texas oil interests that want to
lay pipelines and such. Smoke and mirrors.
The war-profiteering bit of sleight of hand boils down to this: Some
people or entities profit during war. Therefore, such people or entities must be
the cause of war, which serves only to enrich them.
If you watched closely, you could see the trickery: Yes, people
respond to demand and provide needed goods and services in
wartime. It doesn't follow that wars are started so that such people can make a
Do Cusack and his fellow travelers think it a crime for people to
be paid for their wartime labors?
How about the soldiers who put their lives on the line? They get
paid. Or farmers who grow the food those soldiers consume? Or
truckers who transport that food? Or people who make the troops' boots and
clothes? Or workers who build military vehicles? Or journalists
who write about the war (including the one who interviewed Cusack in
the Times)? Greedy war profiteers all? To suggest so is about as
rational as Obama's plan to have tea with Ahmadinejad.
But if you can't beat 'em, you join 'em. So, seizing the opportunity
of war, Cusack has produced a film he no doubt hopes will
make a profit. Sure, Cusack thinks war profiteers "can go to
hell." Except for Cusack, who ridicules them all -- all the way to the