I vacationed once on a tropical island paradise and went marlin fishing. “Hey Sandy, get out the marlin!” called the man who ran the charter boat to the guy who worked for him.
“Really?” I said.
‘You only have one marlin?”
“What did you think?”
“Well, it’s a big island and a lot of sea for only one marlin. And this is a tropical island paradise. There are a lot of tourists here.”
“One’s enough. No one ever catches it.”
“But what if someone did? What would you do? You need your marlin.”
“Cross the bridge if I come to it. They’re expensive. One’s enough.”
Like the one marlin on the tropical island paradise, we have only one war. Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan are one war. The War. Our war. And if we ever caught The War, (“caught” means “ended”) there are plenty of countries waiting in the wings to become Our War. We wouldn’t have to wait to cross the bridge when we came to it. We wouldn’t have to search for another country to take the place of Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan. Iran is just begging for the opportunity. South Korea has been practicing for years to be our enemy so we will drop things on its people from our planes with no people.
Evan Thomas thinks war is in our blood. We pretend to like peace and friendship but we are really always searching for enemies, lining them up, promising them their turn will come, threatening to beat the crap out of them if they don’t listen to reason. There was a time when this wasn’t so. But we crossed the line long ago and now the need for enemies and war is an intoxicating lust. Rumor has it that ABC Family has a My Favorite Bomb show in the works. Some people might think it crazy of us that we are in constant need of an enemy, to have someone to hate, to try to kill. Maybe that’s why we pretend to like peace and friendship a lot. What follows (with some creative liberties) is dialogue from a play called Mother Courage, written by Bertolt Brecht when The War was called World War II.
Q: Who profits from a war?
A: The profiteers.
Q: All the profiteers?
A: Some more than others.
Q: Where do the losers end up?
Q: And the winners?
A: Dead too.
Q: Who does the work that brings profit to the profiteers?
A: The soldiers. The pilots. The unmanned drones’ human pilots on the ground.
Q: And what happens to the soldiers, the pilots, the unmanned drones’ human pilots on the ground?
A: They kill. They starve. They get maimed or killed. Sometimes they eat. The unmanned drones’ human pilots on the ground only kill and eat.
Q: How do they eat?
A: Mother Courage sells them food at as high a price as she can get.
Q: Why does Mother Courage seek to exploit the soldiers and the pilots and the unmanned drones’ human pilots on the ground?
A: Because she’s a profiteer.
Q: But why exploit people of her own class?
A: Who else is there for her to exploit?
Q: But why exploit anyone?
A: Everyone exploits someone.
A: The law of the market.
Q: So the big exploiters are copied by small exploiters who are copied by smaller exploiters?
A: And so on ad infinitum. Ad infinitum means…..….
Q: I know what it means. And the big exploiters are good for the national economy?
A: Very good.
Q: And the small exploiters?
A: Good but not very good.
Q: And the smaller exploiters?
A: Better than nothing.
Q: And if there were only big exploiters?
A: People would begin to notice them.
Q: What then?
A: People might get angry.
Q: So if Mother Courage stopped exploiting the soldiers………?
Q: I see. Oh, by the way, what is more important – a screened-in pool or a child, my house or my children?
A: Ask your accountant.