Saturday 19th of October 2019

Asserting Our Right to Kill and Maim Civilians

By George Monbiot 

The central mystery of the modern state is this. The necessary resources, both economic and political, will always be found for the purpose of terminating life. The project of preserving it will always struggle. When did you last see a soldier shaking a tin for a new rifle? Or a sponsored marathon raising money for nuclear weapons? But we must beg and cajole each other for funds whenever a hospital wants a new dialysis machine. If the money and determination expended on waging war with Iraq had been used to tackle climate change, our carbon emissions would already be in freefall. If as much money were spent on foreign aid as on fighter planes, no one would ever go hungry.

When the state was run by warrior kings, this was comprehensible: they owed their existence to overwhelming force. Now weapons budgets and foreign wars are, if anything, an electoral liability. But the pattern has never been broken.

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