The past weekend marked the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. That's two years of dead civilians and U.S. soldiers, two years of breathing room for oil barons and two years of record recruitment for terrorist groups.
And two years for us to grow numb. But despite it all, last Saturday, March 19, presaged the spring thaw with the sight of 3,000 people at the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War march. The rally, passing the U.S. Consulate from City Hall, eventually spilled out into all the traffic lanes, turning Yonge Street from a corridor for cheap oil to a passage for rich spirits.
Nice, also, to see peace folks noticing that while Canada may not have much of an army, it has plenty of bullets. This is why numerous groups, including the June 30th Committee, Toronto Action for Social Change, Montreal's Block the Empire and Ottawa's Catapult Collective, have targeted Canuck firm SNC-Lavalin, currently producing ammo for the U.S. military. SNC-Lavalin is joined in the Canadian rogues' gallery by Wescam, CAE, Atlantis Systems, Northrop Grumman Canada, GM Canada and others.
But arms dealing is only the most direct way to steal money from misery. The other way is through economic policy - and speaking of that, George W. is to be thanked for his nomination of Iraq war enthusiast and U.S. deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank.
The prez is only underlining the point made by activists: as long as the economy is not in the hands of the populaton, globalization and war are just variations on a single theme. We can only admire Dubya's candour (and despair that our PM is endorsing the nomination.) Developing economies have long been put on a regimen of steroids and starvation by World Bank partner the International Monetary Fund, with social programs slashed or privatized. But there's one sector (besides megaprojects) in which the moneylenders push government spending: the police and military.
Governments that need to defend themselves against their own people are what arms dealers call motivated buyers. The same goes for insurgent groups, death squads and anyone else in the rainbow of armed conflict. If economic globalization is the invisible hand, then war is the naked fist. Hand over fist is exactly how arms dealers, and the institutions that invest in them have been making money off of war. And while Canadians take pride in our government's non-participation in such conflagrations, Canadian arms manufacturers are happy to let us continue to believe we're uninvolved. But with Wolfowitz's nomination, the fist now rests squarely in the palm for all to see. Not only does the emperor have no clothes - he's going streaking.