Guest Post: The Real Reason Behind War

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James E. Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada,

To mark the 11 year anniversary of the Afghanistan occupation, the death toll for the U.S. military reached two thousand.  The soldier who had the misfortune of both dying and becoming a stark symbol of America’s longest running war died under unusual circumstances.  Instead of being killed while on patrol, the unnamed soldier was the victim of an “apparent insider attack” that was conducted by American-backed Afghan forces.  This latest incident comes one week after an announcement by NATO that it would scale back its operations with Afghan security forces after a spike in insider attacks.  At the time of the announcement, a total of fifty one NATO troops had been killed by soldiers wearing Afghan uniforms.

This upsurge in violence committed by supposed allies remains a challenge to the U.S. military which is attempting to arm and train a suitable domestic security force to leave behind as the troop drawdown deadline of late 2014 approaches.  As the Associated Press reports, the internal attacks are “undermining the mantra that both sides are fighting the Taliban “shoulder to shoulder.””

The AP comment is representative of the American public’s understanding of the so-called War on Terror.  Since the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, Americans, as well as most Westerners, are under the impression that the U.S. government and its allies are waging war with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  These radical Islamic terrorist groups are said to threaten America’s way of life.  In the words of former President George Bush on the evening of 9/11, “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.”

This line of reasoning ignores the decades of intervention conducted by the American military and intelligence apparatus which resulted in the deaths of thousands, the overthrow of democratically elected leaders, and financial support for repressive dictators.  Yet as neoconservatives and liberals alike still appeal to this notion to justify American “leadership,” it becomes preposterous in the face of revelations that U.S. tax dollars are aiding rebel militants suspected of being members of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.  According to the Centre for Research on Globalization, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently pledged $45 million in “non-lethal aid” to the opposition currently trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  This “opposition” is labeled as civilian but is actually partly comprised of foreign terrorist brigades including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.  The LIFG, which is labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department, is described by the United Nations as “an Al-Qaeda affiliate.”  And as the State Department speculated back in 2011, Al-Qaeda “was believed to be extending its reach into Syria and seeking to exploit the popular uprising against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.”  The Libyan fighters now in Syria also played a crucial role in the overthrowing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi that was supported militarily and financially by the U.S. government.

As Texas Congressman Ron Paul described it,

In Libya we worked with, among others, the rebel Libyan Fighting Group (LIFG) which included foreign elements of al-Qaeda. It has been pointed out that the al-Qaeda affiliated radicals we fought in Iraq were some of the same groups we worked with to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya. Last year in a television interview I predicted that the result of NATO’s bombing of Libya would likely be an increased al-Qaeda presence in the country. I said at the time that we may be delivering al-Qaeda another prize.

Not long after NATO overthrew Gaddafi, the al Qaeda flag was flown over the courthouse in Benghazi.

Such truths may strike the heart of those who unquestioningly support the U.S. government’s War on Terror.  It isn’t just hypocritical that the enemy is being funded by the same people they target, it is a slap in the face of all those who lost their lives on the day the World Trade Centers fell to the ground.  American lawmakers claim to be on the side of freedom and democracy even when they support not only the arming of accused terrorists but also other dictators such as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

If the U.S. government was truly fighting the War on Terror to rid the world of violent extremists and iron-fist authoritarians, it wouldn’t be aiding and abetting their crimes.  So what is the purpose of war then?

The waging of total war is not an act carried out irrationally or on a whim.  Like all human action, it is purposeful and used to achieve particular ends.  And unlike armed conflict between private individuals, war is generally defined as being fought by one or more institutions known as the state.  The state is unique institution in that it holds, as famed sociologist Max Weber defined it, “the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order.”  This arrogated authority gives the enforcers of the state the legal right to plunder whatever citizenry happens to be living under their rule.  Whereas in the private sphere all dealings are voluntary by nature, the state’s operations are financed solely through force.  This creates a kind of tension between those coerced into paying and those who live off the proceeds.  War with foreigners can thus be seen as a kind of distraction from the exploitive state of affair known as state governance.

As economist Joseph Salerno notes,

We thus arrive at a universal, praxeological truth about war. War is the outcome of class conflict inherent in the political relationship – the relationship between ruler and ruled, parasite and producer, tax-consumer and taxpayer. The parasitic class makes war with purpose and deliberation in order to conceal and ratchet up their exploitation of the much larger productive class.

Thus, a permanent state of war or preparedness for war is optimal from the point of view of the ruling elite, especially one that controls a large and powerful state.

Historically, freedom has been trampled upon with little remorse or protest during war.  Enhanced domestic surveillance, the outlawing of political dissent, the internment of suspected enemies without due process, robust inflationary policy, higher government spending, increased taxation, and stifling economic intervention are all common occurrences during war.  They are policies that in the absence of war would garner a greater amount of pushback from the public.  Even more crucial is the effect war has on national identity.  Simple reasoning says that government is composed of a small group of individuals; it does not represent in some metaphysical sense all of “the people.”  This distinction is blurred and forgotten during war however as those who insist on fighting appeal to emotion rather than reason.  With the media’s assistance, allegiance to the state is championed as a display of support for war.  Dissenters are openly ridiculed as unpatriotic and friends of the enemy.  As Randolph Bourne wrote in his renowned essay “War is the Health of the State

The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation.

The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling, and produces immediately that intense and hopeless confusion between the relations which the individual bears and should bear toward the society of which he is a part.

Using war as both a diversion and a cover for imperialistic motives is best exemplified by the ongoing tension between the state of Israel and Iran.  Western media figures have done their best to portray the rulers of Iran as lunatics hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so determined to put the boot down on a nuclear Iran that he is actively interfering with the U.S. presidential election with the hope of obtaining military assistance.  He arrogantly carries on this crusade even though there is no evidence of a weapons program and the Iranian government remains a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

So why does Netanyahu desperately want war with Iran?  Why does he insist with childish tactics such as presenting a picture of a cartoon bomb before the United Nations even as a majority of Israelis and military leaders are opposed to a unilateral attack?   And why must the attack be imminent when U.S. intelligence has indicated that it would take years for the Iranian regime to weaponize their current nuclear program?

Wars aren’t fought because the ruling class that instigates them lacks a good reason.  In the case of Netanyahu and Israel, there are a variety of explanations why state leaders see mass murder as beneficial to their cause.  First, with bank profits falling and economic growth slowing down, Israel’s economy is showing recessionary signs.  War would be a preoccupation from a deteriorating job market.  Second, there has been little noise made over the people of Palestine and their struggle for statehood since the hysteria over Iranian nukes has picked up.  And lastly, as former Assistant Secretary to the U.S. Treasury and Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts points out

The real agenda hiding behind the hysterical concern about an Iranian nuke, is the rightwing Israeli government’s design on the water resources of southern Lebanon.

Twice the Israeli government sent the Israeli army into southern Lebanon to occupy and eventually annex the territory. And twice Hizbollah defeated and drove out the vaunted Israeli army.

The Israeli government knows that it cannot be forthright and say that it wants Americans to go to war with Iran so that Israel can steal southern Lebanon. But if fear over nonexistent nukes can muster the Western populations to support an attack on Iran, Iran can be eliminated as Hizbollah’s supplier, and Israel can steal the water from Lebanon.

The conventional validation for perpetual war in the Middle East does not hold when looked at rationally.  When the ideas of nationalism and statist glory are wiped away, the state appears as it really is: institutionalized exploitation of the masses by the few.  The undertaking of war masks this reality for a short period while accelerating the pace at which liberty is stripped away.  In the end, wars are waged to fulfill the sadistic desires of government leaders and to give them an opening to tighten their grip on society.  The parasitic class which makes up the state doesn’t just war with other states; it conducts war against the citizens it claims to protect.

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valkir's picture

As usual,if the problem is not for monney,is for a lot of monney.

ACP's picture

I think the bigger problem is that it's an addictive problem-solver for domestic issues. How many years of peace have there been the last 1,000 years? Three years I think was the estimate.


AldousHuxley's picture

NathanYahoo = Hitler


solve economic problems with war

kill off some young college kids so they don't protest against the regime

ramp up war production of weapons

unify political power under false enemies


look how well Iraq war made Bush popular despite all economic signs to the contrary.




TruthInSunshine's picture

It's not possible to improve on that which has already been brilliantly written and efficiently summarized by a person positioned to know the primary reasons offensive wars are waged.

Perhaps a more brilliant, truthful and succinct expose will be written by a person similarly situated one day, but until then:


"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

And war is the most profitable racket in the world!"




Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful, is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. But faithful to what?

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, one of the most colorful officers in the Marine Corps' long history, was one of the two Marines who received two Medals of Honor for separate acts of outstanding heroism. General Butler was still in his teens when, on 20 May 1898, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps during the Spanish-American War. In the early part of the last century General Butler led assault troops in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Haiti. He was a regimental commander in France during World War I and later served in China. On 1 October 1931, he was retired upon his own application after completion of 33 years' service in the Marine Corps. Major General Butler died at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, on 21 June 1940, following a four-week illness.

After his retirement General Butler wrote a book WAR IS A RACKET, which begins as follows:

"WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

And in a speech delivered in 1933, General Butler said:


"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."




    "I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force--the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service."
    Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940)


Ghordius's picture

TIS, you should post more often. brilliant, truthful and succint, indeed

btw, this year is the two hundredth anniversary of two very interesting wars that nobody wants to remember

on the greater landmass of this planet the French, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Austrian, German and Swiss armies were invading Russia, which was allied to Sweden (

on the smaller landmass of the globe the USA was invading Canada after a declaration of war against the British Empire (

both articles are worth reading - those were times where there was a certain "frankness" about why nations go to war

Zadok's picture

+1000, but I was forced to settle for a single greenie!

Sean7k's picture

Great post. It is easy to reduce this down to the reality that all violence has its' motivation in theft. Whether government of freedom and wealth, personal relationships that attempt to control and manipulate, cons, wall street or war. Theft is always at the center.The only exception is self defense.

When we see violence of any kind, we merely have to look for what is being stolen. If we can agree that theft is morally and socially repugnant, then violence has no place in civilization. 

Therefore, there is never a good reason for war, unless you have been attacked and then only to defend your property- personal and communal. Therefore, all governments that promote and carry out wars on foreign soil are war criminals. 

By this definition, almost every president since Teddy Roosevelt is a war criminal. If we include financial warfare, every banker since the beginning of central banking should be in chains, but we only make criminals out of petty thieves and petty rule breakers. 

Let's call a spade a spade: they aren't world leaders, they're thieves. Common brigands with pr campaigns tossed out as historical fact and patriotic flap trap. The royalty of the world are criminals. Government is a con and politicians are just grifters.

In the US, we aren't voting for a president, but the next war criminal and thief. 

RiverRoad's picture

True.  Each has his own little war to cement his name in the history books.  OR to divert attention from his impeachment.

Shigure's picture

Short video: Bush, Blair found guilty of war crimes in Malaysia Tribunal (2.33)

disabledvet's picture

the iraq war doomed the bush Presidency. and what have learned? afghanistan! wow! the one thing that makes this war different is that we are creating permanent bases over there. had enuf of your political enemies? off the the desert(s)! of course what those purely motivated by revenge don't get is these soldiers are coming home. they always the term "and now what"? comes to mind. to which i say "this ain't the post WW 2 Cold War economy" assholes. so by all means...ramp it up. having obliterated the labor market are you giving the American people a choice? i say no...

blunderdog's picture

The creation of the new permanent superbases in Iraq has a great deal to do with why Obama can now afford to ignore Netanyahu's demand for an attack on Iran.

So there was ONE upside to the Iraq invasion.

Hugh G Rection's picture

War is big business.


"If my sons did not want wars, there would be none." ~ Gutle Schnaper

James_Cole's picture

Pretty much. The USA has long relied on its military for prosperity, most every empire throughout history has.

AldousHuxley's picture

military forces others to join in our ponzi pyramid at the lowest level.

that's what they mean by world order

Iran can only be a commodities supplier at the lowest end. they can't rise to become a world bank for example because that's reserved for the few.

Optimusprime's picture

Good point, which can be expanded.  Major analysts of the fall of the Roman Empire point out that a huge turning point was when the system changed from on where the senate was dominant to where the Emperor-army complex became dominant and the senate secondary.  While this process evolved gradually under the Marius-Sulla-Pompey-Caesar eras, it was pretty much set in stone after Augustus.  


Our parallel is the relation between the President and the MIC (Eisenhower's warning was decades too  late).


There is good reason to believe that the Kennedy's (whatever their faults) were taken out by CIA/MIC types for their unwillingness to be sufficiently tractable to the MIC.  Think of the Roman emperors (particularly in the 3rd century AD who were basically proclaimed by the army, and often assassinated by the army.



Kobe Beef's picture

Kennedy also produced United States Notes, crossing the Int'l Banksters. But then again, MIC/CIA/Banksters are all the same NWO. Same families, new generations, ever more vicious iterations.

Diogenes's picture

"What do the people have to say about it? Why would some poor shnook want a war when the best he can get out of it is to come home in one piece?

If you want a war you start one. Then everyone falls in line, if they don't you accuse them of being traitors. It's the same in every country."

-Herman Goerring

vinayjha's picture

It started for good but war is not always a good solution.

Flakmeister's picture

Well, duh....

Throw in a few megolmaniacs and what you get is not surprising....

tony bonn's picture

an absolutely superb article condemning the blood thirsty totalitarian creeps running this country and world.....but the bush crime syndicate isn't bothered - the war must go on.......

j-dub's picture

War?  What is it good for?

In my opinion, absolutely nothing

AldousHuxley's picture

war is good for something....

war is good for teaching elites to shut the fuck up, get off the high horse, and get back to work.

war taught germans to not do that nazi shit again

war taught japanese to go back to production instead of empire building


war will teach america the same longer #1....



q99x2's picture

Down with the NoWorldOrder global anarchists.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Hey, Miller.  Have you considered that the corporations that fund your organization like war because they profit from it?  I know a few oil companies that were happy to start drilling for their own profit in Iraq, for example.   Why not call them out if so?  Donor cats got your tongue?

otto skorzeny's picture

take your bullshit over to HuffPo

LetThemEatRand's picture

Nice substantive response.  Who are the top donors of the Mises Institute?  

otto skorzeny's picture

stop trying to make everything fit into the parameters of The Communist Manifesto.

LetThemEatRand's picture

In what way did I do that?  Are you defending fascism?'s picture

You are the defender of fascism when you insist that individuals must serve the state rather than themselves.

Overfed's picture

It's the Mises Institute of Canada. Get it straight.

Dr. Sandi's picture

I don't feel pressured to get it straight until the Menses Institute of Canada gets it straight. Which they never quite do. Always about 10 degrees off plumb, thanks to the dark body gravity effect of their hidden agenda.

BigJim's picture

 Hey, Miller.  Have you considered that the corporations that fund your organization like war because they profit from it?

Still waiting to hear who pays your bills, LTER. 

As it happens... here Miller is railing against war. According to your previous rants, this shouldn't be possible because he's being funded by corporations that profit from it, right?

Maybe you should re-examine your preoccupation with his Institute's funders in the light of this fact?

Uber Vandal's picture

We've always been at war with Eastasia...


loveyajimbo's picture

This adds credibility to us "nutrolls" that think (know) that 911 was an inside false flag job... it worked as planned.  See the video, well done and very reasonable:     And then start asking questions.

BlackholeDivestment's picture

Thank's for the link Love, I knew there would be something that would salvage reading Miller's piss poor evolution offer.

UGrev's picture

Wow, bro.. I was never really a believer in that conspiracy. I mean, I had it in my bucket of conspiracies until the day in which I could be totally convinced of it. Well, that day just happened. Fuck you very much and thank you very much at the same time. Why fuck you? because now I have to go back and re-assess about 30 other conspiracies and I don't have the frigging time for it and I really want to do it.  My excel sheet is long and winding. 

James_Cole's picture

My rule of thumb is if a theory involves either A) general human shenanigans / stupidity or B) a vast conspiracy including a extremely complex time sensitive & brilliant plan developed over years by thousands of evil geniuses carried out flawlessly with all involved having kept silent... I usually stick with A.

BlackholeDivestment's picture

James Cole, LMAO, like the USS Cole. Idiot. Maybe you should wonder why they kicked John out of Yemen. I know a great place you can think, has nice portaits on the walls and it's quiet. Got a nice picture of Hoover too. LMAO. Yeah, place has a lot of history going back to the builders that crafted Temples, A. Lol. 

P.S. It's 13 block up from the White House, you Hoser. 

Maybe you might want to take a closer look at how to build the Temple of the Center of Time, think it's in Jerusalem, Lol. 

James_Cole's picture

The Frontline doc (which I had seen previous) portrays .gov as incompetent, ae911 paints .gov as extremely well organized evil geniuses. 

911 conspiracy theorists pull up little bits of "evidence" that can be easily explained away yet premise their whole theory on .gov being organized enough to pull an incredible feat of controlled demolition across multiple buildings in one of the most active cities in the world involving presumably thousands of complicit people. 

- I don't have so much faith in .gov to think that possible. 

Ar-Pharazôn's picture

i m not the conspiration guy BUT


building 7 collapsed even if not hit by anything.... i m just saying

cynicalskeptic's picture

Very convenient that a number of offices investigating major financial crime shad all the evidence destroyed - and that the Fed got emergency powers to clear bonds (when there were rumors of billions of unauthorized T-Bills coming due - used to undermine the Soviets under Ronnie.....not to mention the $2 Trillion Rummey said could not be accounted for in the Pentagon's spending....  An FBI agent I know in NYC said ALL the investigations they were conducting on serious financial fraud stopped dead after 9/11 while sagents wer sent on 'wild goose chases' looking for 'terrorists reported by old ladies with nothing else to do'

2 planes in NYC but 3 buildings went down......   a lot of architects and engineers have raised seriosu questions about the official explanations.

Whether planned or the result of extreme incompetence, something really stinks about all this and the smell has gotten worse with time.

BlackholeDivestment's picture

Cole, you are silly.

I recall asking some people in the know, when I was inside a national news company in D.C., about April. I wanted to know who interviewed her on this. I wanted to know her response to the question, did she tell Saddam that if he invaded Kuwait that there would be a military response from the President Skull and Bone Bush. Well, I knew what I was going to get from the media drones, it was more of a confirmation. The response was nobody ever asked her because she was dead. 

Funny how you work for the A Team, lol, and you don't ''care'' to think to ask why John ended up dead inside the WTC is connected to people that prevented him from completeing his work. I'm sure the A Team game theory prevents you from asking why the FBi blew up the WTC in 93 too. It's not like the A Team painting of Hoover inside a Temple who's members sware blood oaths to keep secrets and Skull and Bones Presidents that have done the same are connected to the pyramid on the Fed Debt Note or anything. Lol.

mvsjcl's picture

Really? Popular Mechanics? That totally debunked fluff of debunking? Go back to Mish's blog.

Hugh G Rection's picture

The Popular Mechanics debunking came from it's editor Ben Chertoff... you know, the guy related to Michael Chertoff, the one that released detained Israeli Mossad captured on 9/11.


Conflict of interest? Nah...