Shakespeare and the Extreme Madness of Imperialism

Mad world! mad kings! mad disposition!”“Mad world! mad kings! mad disposition!”

(King Lear, act 2, sc. 2)

Comment. Some visitors of this web-site may have already viewed the horrifying and tragic video of the military Boeing 747 that crashed after take-off in Afghanistan.  The plane was loaded with (4) armored vehicles that were to be flown to Dubai, the destination of the flight. It appears that the load of the armored vehicles suddenly shifted, altering beyond recovery the flight attitude of the plane. The video (link at ‘image source’ below), should be viewed in somber thought towards the victims and their families – but it should be also viewed as a macro-example of the bottomless wastefulness of imperialist wars. No one with but a flicker of cogitating capacity, believes any more that the gargantuan military endeavors in Afghanistan or anywhere else have anything to do with ‘democracy ‘ or similar maxi-fibs.
Numbers may be pedantic but, in the instance, they help place into context the criminal costs of a criminal enterprise, without which no such tragedy would have occurred.
Here are approximate but realistic figures.
The Boeing 747-400 is worth 260 million $
The armored vehicles are estimated at 6 million $/each, total 24 million $
Estimate for the insurance covering the seven victims is 15 million $
Estimate for cost of the investigation, recovery etc. 1 million $
Cost of the fuel in the plane was 260 thousand $
The total is already over 300 million $
The options on how to use 300 million $ constructively are almost endless.
One example that comes to mind is the material and mental conditions of so many young people in Chicago. A recent documentary showed how the cycle of unemployment, coupled with poor or non existent education and with the death of manufacturing industries transformed some areas in Chicago into ghettos. Therefore the only employment is the selling of drugs with consequent swelling of violence and prison population.
300 million $ would get a specialized education (factual as well as psychological) to at least 25 thousand youngsters. And considering that the cost of incarceration is about 40 thousand $ per year per inmate, the savings in prison costs resulting from education are not even included.
The idea of manufacturing things (military hardware) for the purpose of their destruction so as to maintain the “economy” is beyond mad. It parallels the mentality of a serial killer.
Already the majority of jobs does not involve manufacturing something. They consist essentially in the conveyance of ideas. An accountant conveys ideas about numbers, a lawyer about laws, a doctor about health practices etc.  Job creation does not involve necessarily “building something” but literally inventing jobs, almost detached from the type of characteristics and properties of the typical manufacturing  job.
That the matter may not have touched the minds of the pundits, handsomely paid to think about these things, escapes the understanding of many others who think without getting paid.

Or rather, the pundits are getting paid for fostering the mad foreign policies of which the tragedy in question is but one example.

As Harold Pinter said, on accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature,
“… The truth is something entirely different. The truth has to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.
But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.
Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.
But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.”

In the play.  Ph. Faulconbridge reflects and objects to the terms of the proposed agreement between France and England.

Image Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/30/180107632/video-may-show-747-jets-last-seconds-before-bagram-crash

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  • Thought provoking. It seems man is programmed to try and be better than everyone else. And, in doing so, causes unending agony to everyone.