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     1999 marks the 100th anniversary of the emergence of the U.S. as a major world power. Under the pretext of responding to a bombing on the USS Maine anchored in Havana, Cuba, the U.S. went to war with Cuba's colonial overlord, Spain, in 1899. After routing Europe's weakest colonial power, the U.S. made off with all of Spain's colonial possessions in Latin America and Asia, seizing control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

      The Spanish-American War marked the entrance of the U.S. into the worldwide scramble for colonies among the advanced powers. Novelist Mark Twain made no bones about what this meant:

      "How our hearts burned with indignation against the atrocious Spaniards. . .But when the smoke was over, the dead buried and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent--that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree--it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American war was the price of sugar. . . . that the lives, blood, and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of American capitalists."

      And still today, over a century later, the U.S. stands alone as the world's superpower. It is the only country with the ability to go to war anywhere in the world.

      The U.S. attained its position of dominance through competition with other powerful nations. The U.S. and the world's other major powers--Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany--fought two world wars, threatened each other with nuclear annihilation and divided and redivided the world between them.

    How can we explain this madness?

    It is important to understand that wars and violence stem not from the whims of politicians but from the nature of the system itself. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the vast majority of the world's population by a small minority who own and control all the resources. A recent United Nations (UN) study showed that all of the world's poor could be lifted out of poverty by spending the wealth of the world's seven richest billionaires.

    At the heart of a system which produces this kind of obscene inequality is ruthless competition between corporations constantly on the lookout for new ways to make profits. The process of competition forces capitalists to look beyond their own national boundaries to gain access to new and cheap raw materials and workers.

Gen. Smedley Butler, who headed many U.S. military interventions in the early part of this century, gave a stark account of what he had really been doing:

    "I have spent 34 years in active service as a member of the Marine Corps. 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. (Read; "War is a Racket" by Gen. Smedley Butler)

    69:5.15 Though capital has tended to liberate man, it has greatly complicated his social and industrial organization. The abuse of capital by unfair capitalists does not destroy the fact that it is the basis of modern industrial society. Through capital and invention the present generation enjoys a higher degree of freedom than any that ever preceded it on earth. This is placed on record as a fact and not in justification of the many misuses of capital by thoughtless and selfish custodians.


      Rickey H. Crosby  (Petitor Veritatis)