'The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas. The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US army, air force, navy and Marine Corps.'
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, right wing US journalist
Two murderers were due to meet this week to discuss their plans for keeping the world in poverty and at war. Tony Blair was to shake the hand of George W Bush in the US a week after they sent 24 planes to bomb Iraq. They killed two civilians, one a young woman of 20.
They say these crimes were done for humanitarian purposes. But how is bombing innocent civilians humanitarian? What threat do they pose to US and British fighter jets? The bombing was part of the US's ten year long destruction of Iraq. Sanctions and repeated bombings have killed over one million Iraqis since the end of the Gulf War of 1991.
This devastation, and the terror brought by the bombs, is not something separate from the global plunder unleashed by multinational corporations. It is not separate from the hunger and disease the IMF and the World Bank ensure spreads across the poorest areas of the world. Governments, the World Bank and the IMF send the bills. The military goes in as the bailiff.
Take the oil industry. US companies want cheap access to the oil of the Middle East, so the US government uses its military to ensure they get it. Bush himself is a former oil industry executive, as was his father. So too is US vice-president Dick Cheney.
Together they have already announced plans to open up the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil company exploitation. Bush's insane plan for a National Missile Defence (NMD) system, a ring of missiles which will supposedly protect the US from attack, also shows the deadly connection between the US government's military aims and its multinationals' economic aims.
Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford Universitys peace studies department writes: 'The US defence industry is dominated by a few contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed and TRW. All have suffered in recent years, but they have immense lobbying power, close links with the Republicans and persistent vested interests in playing up threats to US interests. Many on the Republican right think the only threats to US dominance will come from China if it develops into an economic giant. One way to curb its growth is to force it to commit more money to defence, and the NMD system is one way of doing this. That may stimulate a dangerous nuclear arms race, but the Soviet giant was successfully 'spent into an early grave' and perhaps the same strategy can be applied to China.'
The US is prepared to risk starting a nuclear war and to pour billions of the planet's resources into the arms industry in order to protect its power and wealth. And as Bush plans for NMD, a World Bank report released last week shows aid from rich Western countries to the poorest region of the world, sub-Saharan Africa, fell dramatically during the 1990s.
Aid fell from £22 per person in 1990 to £13 per person in 1998. Multinationals and governments invested mainly in African countries with 'lucrative mining and oil industries'. The poorest, the most desperate, with nothing for the multinationals to exploit, are simply left to rot.
The horrors in Africa and Iraq result from a system that puts the needs of corporations above the needs of people. To those at the head of that system it does not matter how many die in the process. That is why change is down to us, to ordinary working people across the world building a movement against this killer system, of which war is an integral part.