"In the New Empire success at war no longer matters. The extraction takes place by being at war. Huge sums of American taxpayers' money have flowed into the American armaments industries and huge amounts of power into Homeland Security. The American empire works by stripping Americans of wealth and liberty.
"This is why the wars cannot end, or if one does end another starts. ... This truth doesn't mean that the objects of American military aggression have escaped without cost. Large numbers of Muslims have been bombed and murdered and their economies and infrastructure ruined, but not in order to extract resources from them.
"It is ironic that under the New Empire the citizens of the empire are extracted of their wealth and liberty in order to extract lives from the targeted foreign populations."
And yet another iteration of this sinister process is gearing up in Syria. It has nothing to do with the murderously repressive nature of the Syrian regime. America's chief ally in the Syrian intervention is Saudi Arabia -- a theocratic-autocratic regime that is, by every measure, far, far more repressive than Syria. The Saudi royals ruthlessly -- and violently -- suppress any peaceful protest against their stifling, draconian rule. They have sent troops and weapons and money to murderously repress peaceful protests in neighboring Bahrain. Yet Secretary Clinton stood proudly with these murderous repressive tyrants this weekend as she outlined their joint plan to ensure the death and suffering of more people in Syria.
Supplying -- much less paying the salaries! -- of an army on one side in a conflict is generally regarded as an act of war. At least, this was the line taken by the United States government when it was dealing with its own armed uprising a while back and continually threatened massive retaliation against any nation intervening on the side of the rebels. (A story well told in Amanda Foreman's A World on Fire.)
So mark April Fool's Day 2012 in your calendar as the day the United States officially and openly initiated its latest war. Will it succeed in driving the Assad family from its authoritarian perch in Damascus? Will it liberate the Syrian people into a new life of liberty and prosperity? Will it enthrone radical extremists "willing to do anything to take power" and open the door to sectarian slaughter (as in Iraq)? Who cares? The intervention will set cash registers ringing, and that, my fellow subjects, is, as always, the bottom line.