COVID-19: Prepared for the Wrong War

In the War of the Worlds a microorganism felled the Martian invaders the U.S. military (in Orson Welles’ version) couldn’t defeat. The U.S. may dominate the world, but it isn’t an army threatening its demise, says Joe Lauria.

‘After All Man’s Defenses Had Failed, Slain
By the Humblest Thing Put Upon This Earth’

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

In Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ science fiction fantasy, War of the Worlds, all the military spending and preparedness by the United States could not defend the American people from the invaders from Mars. In the end what killed the superior intruders was not arms, but a microscopic organism against which the Martians’ immune system had no defense.

“Suddenly, my eyes were attracted to the immense flock of black birds that hovered directly below me. They circled to the ground, and there before my eyes, stark and silent, lay the Martians, with the hungry birds pecking and tearing brown shreds of flesh from their dead bodies. Later when their bodies were examined in the laboratories, it was found that they were killed by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared. . . slain, after all man’s defenses had failed, by the humblest thing that God in His wisdom put upon this earth.”

In an eerily similar way, the greatest military ever assembled on earth has been useless to defend America from the potential collapse of its society, and its empire.

Donald Trump, at his daily press conferences, repeatedly says no one would expect such a thing could ever occur.  Except that government studies predicted just such a thing. 

“Nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought we would need tens of thousands of ventilators,” Trump said.  But the Pentagon’s wildest dreams of 11 aircraft carriers, 65 attack submarines, 65 destroyers, 104 B-1 bombers, 744 B-52 bombers, 8,848 M1 Abrams tanks, 6,724 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 1,018 F-16 fighter jets have for years come true. 

The U.S. can afford to build the greatest arsenal ever known to fight two major wars at once while scrambling to produce hospital gowns, surgical masks and hand sanitizer.  All of America’s mighty “defenses” could not defend the nation against the humblest of things put upon the earth.

The United States prepared for the wrong war.

The Real Enemy

A trillion dollars a year is spent on the military and nuclear weapons when America has no real armed enemies.  Instead the U.S. is an enemy to nations that seek to impede its dominance by protecting their own sovereign interests.

There would be virtually no public support for this spending if the American people understood the U.S. as an offensive force.  So the targets of its dominance must be portrayed at every turn as the menace. When Russia, for instance, defends its interests in Ukraine or on its borders against NATO troop deployments, the aggressive U.S. role is cloaked by government and the media, while the Russian response is branded a threat.

While the U.S. has spent trillions unnecessarily on an offensive military machine against nonexistent threats, it failed to prepare for the real threat to itself, the same threat that brought down the mighty Martians. 

Bullets Dodged

There were several dress rehearsals for the coronavirus. The SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2004 infected 8,000 people and killed 774 worldwide–numbers that seem underwhelming in the middle of this crisis. But at the time it was not certain how far it would spread. 

In 2009 the H1N1 or Swine Flu killed as many as 575,400 people worldwide.  It infected 60 million Americans, killing 14,000 before it was contained. Two bullets were dodged. But instead of using those close calls to prepare for the next bullet–which could be historic–taxpayers’ money continued to be poured into military “preparedness” instead.    

The New York Times reported on Thursday the Trump administration had run an exercise last year to test America’s preparedness for a pandemic. 

“Code-named ‘Crimson Contagion’ and imagining an influenza pandemic, [it] was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August. The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed. … 

Three times over the past four years the U.S. government, across two administrations, had grappled in depth with what a pandemic would look like, identifying likely shortcomings …”

Trump repeatedly complains that, “We inherited, we, meaning this administration, an obsolete broken system that wasn’t meant for anything like this.” But his administration did nothing to prepare for a potential pandemic despite last year’s eight month study.

His proposed budget on Feb. 10 called for a nearly 10 percent cut to Health and Human Services. This was when Trump was irresponsibly downplaying the coronavirus threat, which was in full swing in China at the time.

Other Western governments have also proved to be unprepared for the virus. Europe has seen cutbacks to its nationalized health services, especially in Britain, France and Italy, and had no contingency plan in place to create capacity in the event of a pandemic. 

Now the U.S. and Europe are scrambling to turn auto plants into ventilator factories; underwear manufacturers into surgical masks plants and liquor companies into makers of hand sanitizers. They are playing catchup, racing against time, desperately trying to respond to the real war they were always facing.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

50 comments for “COVID-19: Prepared for the Wrong War

  1. March 25, 2020 at 19:43

    Well Joe that was as dramatic as it would be ironic. Yet not impossible given the relative importance of the economy to annual flu deaths.
    Perhaps a political shift in either direction could occur. All bets are off for the moment.

  2. Reg Harris
    March 24, 2020 at 20:55

    I wish that were true. In fact, not only can we not afford the purchase of 72 F35s at a current cost of $Aust 17 billion (about $US 10 billion), but there is strong feeling that it is the wrong choice, given its insufficient range and limited weapons capacity. According to Jon Stanford, in his January 29 article “Second Rate Leadership: immense Defence spend unlikely to secure Australia in new world order” in, “..Australian prime ministers still roll over like puppy dogs when patted on the head by the POTUS.” Our unfortunate record of having fought alongside the USA in almost all conflicts since WW2 is because “Australian leaders seem to believe that is the premium we must pay for the insurance provided under the ANZUS treaty.” Even though “ANZUS does not provide any cast-iron guarantee that America would provide military assistance to Australia were we to be attacked…” We are also facing costs of submarines ($Aust 80 billion) and frigates ($Aust 35 billion), but struggle to provide adequate services. Sounds familiar?

  3. Masud Awan
    March 24, 2020 at 12:24

    It appears governments are busy in political wrangling while public needs every kind of help wherever it comes from.


  4. geeyp
    March 24, 2020 at 01:02

    Anyone here aware that Pelosi and her cronies are trying to clutter up the stimulus package with items (1291 pages of unnecessary whine) and hold it up? They have no desire to improve it. Many people could use an extra $1000 to perhaps, and I do not say this lightly, help their depression and thoughts of suicide. Anything positive, if you don’t mind. I think H. G. Wells would get it. I know Orson Welles would. Money for we, not war.

    • Colin
      March 24, 2020 at 12:48

      Apparently you are good with giving 500 billion to be used as Trump et al desire.

  5. Moi
    March 23, 2020 at 22:39

    The US has been known to “not win” a number of wars regardless of the resources expended.

    Why spoil the record?

  6. Marko
    March 23, 2020 at 18:12

    Seattle is doing locally what the CDC should have long been doing nationally : Population-wide screening of a representative sample so as to determine the true prevalence of Covid-19 :


    • Andrew Andresen
      March 26, 2020 at 14:54

      SILENT SPRING / Cause and Effect…. on what we cannot yet see ” THe thirdeye”?8? “,”Mother’Earth” ,”Force” “Nature”/ Double helix (+)parallels*

  7. Ian Brown
    March 23, 2020 at 16:25

    Such an excellent article. Spot on, Joe!

    The priorities of our society are insane, neoliberalism and empire being the HIV-like virus that destroys the hosts nations immune system against dangers like COVID19. Even now, Congress just wants to keep bailing out corporations and let people die, nurses get sick, and the millions of now unemployed go broke. The greed of our political class has being rabidly self-destructive, and now here comes the major consequences.

    • Sam F
      March 23, 2020 at 20:28

      I’ll suggest that the underlying virus of the West is greed, against which our Constitution provided no immunity in its institutions, because there were no large economic concentrations in the 18th century.

      All branches of federal government and mass media are now controlled by the demagogues, opportunists, bully-boys and traitors elevated by an unregulated market economy. The US has completely disgraced itself since WWII, refusing its potential greatness when it might have rescued half the world from poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, and disease, solely because its oligarchy cared only to bully, steal, scheme and scam for private gain. America developed well economically, but politically was never great after about 1820. This last stage of its fatal infection by greed would be a fitting end, although likely much protracted.

      There are treatments: If democracy is to be restored in the US, it must be stabilized by amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power, better checks and balances within the government branches, purging the corrupt judiciary and Congress, monitoring of government officials for corruption, and regulation of business so that oligarchic bullies and scammers do not rise to control economic power.

  8. rosemerry
    March 23, 2020 at 15:27

    Facing this pandemic helps make most of us realise, if we had not done so before, how self-defeating is this attitude to the world of rivalry=enmity the USA insists on . There is absolutely no need for the “improvement” of our (or the UK,Russian,French etc)nuclear arsenal so we can all destroy countries with which we disagree politically, or have decided we think their leader is a tyrant we do not support. This is not rational and the USA is the biggest purveyor of this plan. Why is NATO still having exercises against Russia (even during this pandemic) which is NOT a threat ? Why destroy Cuba, or Venezuela, or Iran, rather than look inwards and solve our own faults? I would like to think the behavior will change as this ends but I doubt our “leaders” will even admit they are not perfect.

  9. Delrah
    March 23, 2020 at 13:21

    Hmmm. Isn’t it amazing that they ran those exercises 2 months before our Red Crimson virus emerged? They got wonderful simulation of the effects of their plan and voila! China has a major outbreak of an “unknown virus” that is now wreaking havoc globally making it imperative to further slash all of we peons’ freedoms.

  10. John Drake
    March 23, 2020 at 13:11

    With health care systems in Europe and especially here overwhelmed, I hope this is an event that will give austerity and neo-liberalism the coffin it deserves. May Milton Friedman be a pariah in the annals of history.

  11. Lisa
    March 23, 2020 at 12:31

    BUT look at the CDC statistkcs: Covod19 is NOT A “pandemic”, any more than the regular flu is (in fact, CDC statistic prove that the regular flu is FAR FAR MORE DEADLY than Covis 19 – 4500 had died worldwide when Covod19 was declared pandemic, while in 2018, 650,000 people died – more than half a million – and no one said a thing.

    Look at statistics from Italy, again, the people that do die are ALL over 60 (low immune systems), and the rate is higher because they did zero to protect themselves as they admit.

    If everyone who caught a cold went to the hospital you’d also see harried hospital workers, a setup for terror in the polulace!

    Stick to the facts.

      March 23, 2020 at 13:18

      This is very dangerous thinking. The World Health Organization has declared this a pandemic, what is your expertise to refute that?

    • ML
      March 23, 2020 at 15:51

      Let me guess, you’re a big supporter of the “Stable Genius!” It’s shameful that anyone would have such willfully ignorant, disordered thinking under the present circumstances. Stay away from people. You are part of the problem.

    • Ian Brown
      March 23, 2020 at 16:11

      As Caitlin Johnston said, “at one point Gangnam Style only had two thousand views on Youtube” If COVID19 continues to grow because lack of immunity, high contagiousness, extremely long infection periods, and insufficient safety measures, 650,000 people will look like a drop in the bucket.

    • DavidH
      March 23, 2020 at 20:22

      COVID-19 was travelling 10X faster (according to Naomi Klein) than SARS in ’03, and when it first came on the scene no one had really developed numbers for its mortality rate. I get this version’s the same as ‘2003’s, 9% in Italy. What if you were right and they “all” were over 60? So what? Italy was unprepared and their rate is 9%. At present I get in South Korea it’s 1%. Are we any more prepared than Italy?? The only thing you can say in terms of it shouldn’t have been a big threat is that govs could have reacted rationally after Crimson Contagion. But they didn’t. The lowest is in South Korea, but still a rational gov rather than a business gov could have done better than that. Crimson Contagion wasn’t even absolutely required IMO. Look this up: “Scientists Warned China Was a ‘Time Bomb’ for Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in 2007.” More stressed people crowded together with more stressed animals…the rate race globalization paradigm.

    • Skip Scott
      March 24, 2020 at 10:40

      Questioning authority is always “very dangerous thinking”. One shouldn’t need “expertise”, just courage to think for yourself. Why should we blindly trust the WHO any more than we should trust the OPCW? As always, the first question to ask is “Cui Bono?” There are some very suspicious “coincidences” that should lead us to question this “pandemic” narrative. And how do they come up with their “numbers” without sufficient testing? Any credible statistician is always on the lookout for “bad data”.

      See articles by Larry Romanoff, and one recent by CJ Hopkins at Unz Review and today at Global Research.

    • John Drake
      March 24, 2020 at 13:32

      Well Lisa, there is a problem or two with that analysis: The CDC does not give single figures it gives a range as the numbers are estimates. The 650 k is the high from several years ago the low was 291k. It varies year to year. Those figures are for entire seasons. Covid19 has only been prevalent for two months and its spectacular rate of increase is what causes concern, 10x faster than SARS. So the eventual total is unknown, but the prospects are dismal.
      The biggest “setup for terror” is the lack of adequate medical supplies, which goes back to the Obama years, and the incredible bungling and misinformation coming from POTUS who contradicts his own public health experts. He shortly wants to send people back to work, again contradicting public health experts.
      One problem with this problem is that this is a catastrophe so immense that it begs for denial by many people. Unfortunately some of them are in power.

    • PB
      March 24, 2020 at 17:45

      The extreme contagion of this ensures that Hospitals will (already are) become choked up and crippled, thus there will be a death toll for Corona victims who can’t be helped, and for non-Corona people who no longer have access to care.

      Lisa, did you even think for 20 seconds before you hit the keyboard.

    • KiwiAntz
      March 25, 2020 at 21:52

      Lisa you’re a COVIDIOT? The TRUMPANDEMIC will completely overwhelm & destroy your Nation? Joe Lauria’s War of the Worlds analogy is so wonderfully correct in describing the End of the US Empire, ruled by a Deathcult, Neoliberal, Oligarchy Elite class that’s it’s frightening to think what that demise will look like? You live in the same Dream World as your Delusional President, a cowardly man who doesn’t care about his own people & only cares about enriching himself, bailing out Banks & the Stock Market & his own selfish desires? Ask not what Trump can do for you, ask what you can do for Trump? Your Country is on the same trajectory as Italy unless your stupid Leaders can lock this down? The New York Governor has been magnificent in his response to this crisis, in his State & should be leading this fight on a National scale, not the abject Leadership failure & massive incompetence of Trump & Pence! Enjoy getting back to work at Easter & being exposed to your Cold or minor Flu that is your definition of the Coronovirus?

  12. March 23, 2020 at 11:54

    Invasion of Martians in 21 century:
    Day 1. Landing
    Day 2. DOW, SNP etc drop by 50%
    Day 3. Federal reserve decreases interest rates to 0%, purchases securities worth few trillion dollars to stabilize the prices.

    Basically, USA has a universal procedure for every calamity.

    • vinnieoh
      March 23, 2020 at 13:45


      One of the best comments I’ve seen in days, anywhere. Thanks for the (sardonic) smile.

      The other contender for that superlative was something I saw on MoA. Went looking for it to give attribution and so as to not mis-quote, but couldn’t find it. Went something like:

      “Can’t get tested? Cough on a rich person and wait for their test results.” Somehow I think I mangled it.

      Also can’t remember who it was that said “The business of America, is business.”

    • Sam F
      March 23, 2020 at 19:55

      Coolidge “After all, the chief business of the American people is business.”

  13. March 23, 2020 at 11:36

    Sean Penn and the Manchester Guardian disagree! Both want the full glory of the US military retasked to save the US public from coronavirus.

    Let’s see how that works out.

    Wonderful illustrations!

    • Obadiah
      March 23, 2020 at 13:03

      Oh sure. Let’s have a few aircraft carriers travel up the Mississippi River, helo off a bunch of USMC snipers, with a couple regiments of Army Rangers, and with the point of a bayonet, and threats of being shot down in the streets force people to starve to death in their homes. Why the hell is it that people who make money acting like someone they’re not, thinks the people in this country are influenced by those of privilege as if they’ve got anything of value or great insight? We’ve already got one maniacal narcissistic idiot with the I Q of a dirt clod dumping truck loads of cash into the same bottomless abyss that couldn’t account for $21 Tril as it is.
      You prima donnas want to help then you start marching against the deaths being caused by DC INC sanctions against the people of Iran, and Venezuela.
      It doesn’t matter how long DC INC lies about Iran being the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, that title has always belonged to DC INC, and to those rats and cockroaches who call themselves politicians, and are also seeing their stock portfolios shoot to the moon because of these endless wars. I have far more respect for a prostitute in the street than a bunch of self serving play actors who’ll do or say anything to make themselves seem to be so woke. Yet you push this whole lying narrative that the Serpent Queen HRC lost because the Russians did it. Pathetic.

    • anon
      March 23, 2020 at 19:53

      He was being sarcastic, Obadiah.

  14. lizzie dw
    March 23, 2020 at 11:23

    I am thankful that our president is doing as much as he is – it has seemed to me that beginning for Mr. Trump as a candidate the powers that be here in the US have incessantly, continuously and maliciously been bent on destroying this president and removing him from office.

    • mary e
      March 23, 2020 at 12:41

      And it isn’t apparent why most Americans want trump gone?? You had better open your eyes before it is too late! In other words,
      educate yourself…..

    • rosemerry
      March 23, 2020 at 15:13

      Apparently a poll has shown most people actually believe this. I suppose with 70million “evangelical Christians” like Mikes Pence and Pompass,plus all the Zionist stooges in the “House of Reps” and the Senate, of either Party, most are somehow imagining that they live in a paradise of fairness and luxury. With the “free media” and the warped educational systems, no wonder others are like lizzie dw (unless this is a “joke”).

  15. AC
    March 23, 2020 at 10:37

    I liked the article. Thanks CN. If I may share a comment, the soft underbelly of the beast is exposed, The gradual demise of Uncle Sam, it started with a cough, then pneumonia, eventually heart failure and the death. No human war, no guns or bombs, defeated by a natural organism, a germ. End stage capitalism was already upon us, the pandemic will defeat the American empire and capitalist system as we know it. The rigged political system, the cyclical charade of electing mis-representatives over and over, never realizing their collective mistake of voting in liars, cheats, kleptocrats, plutocrats, the occasional psycho and other scum. A society bought and sold, wanting to believe in everything they’re told, a servile press never questioning or demanding answers. The people believe everything and nothing at the same time, a destructive dissonance rages in the USA. The Government became an all powerful god to the people, blinding the people with disinformation, propaganda that’s built a consumer society. A society predicated on myth, lies and consumerism that’s easily distracted with NEW and Improved glossy gadgets and useless crap. Unfortunately American society is childish, petulant, emotionally immature using violence instead of diplomacy as its tool of choice. The ethos of greed permeates it soul, it’s hard to imagine an America not turning in on itself as the reality of what’s happening settles in. The health care system will break, the supply chains will break, corporate bankruptcies, bailouts, further market collapse and helicopter money will cause massive inflation, people will go hungry. The nation is bankrupt (see The real question is, how long will it take for the American public to realize the truth and admit it. That day of reckoning is still some time away, mean while don’t panic buy toilet paper, it won’t help.

    • MD
      March 23, 2020 at 13:37

      Your comment is outstanding. I keep re-reading it, and just saved it. I believe you are spot on, and thank you for such a clear and concise synopsis of our real “state of our Union”. Thank you for posting this.

    • DavidH
      March 23, 2020 at 19:23

      I agree with MD, outstanding. Now let me opine on a small point (glad you made this point yourself, AC).

      I listen to Jack Rasmus fairly much. I disagree with him somewhat on inflation (at least what he said the other day). But he also IMO makes a valid point on inflation. No matter how many “good” jobs F-35 production creates, said production does not yield a widget that enables many more of us to make a better living. That’s Rasmus’ sound point…what the resources could have been dedicated to otherwise…whatever industry or institution that would have used human labor better, and paid human labor better.

      Now for the point I disagree with (much immediate “necessary” stimuli sometimes will unfortunately IMO cause some inflation…my favorite economists never seem to say this; maybe I’m wrong but I believe it). If you bail out GM, and GM doesn’t mend its ways and focus on quality/efficiency/affordability…then the GM jefes are better off; but the economy as a whole deals with that many more relative lemons. With one more not-user-friendly item to deal with, our burdens increase. The jefes are raised many increments, but in the long run the cars are bigger money items (for us). Maybe this only makes sense to me because I remember reading the phrase “yankee know-how.” Granted, maybe it’s all relative.

      Anyway, Rasmus’ correct point IMO emphasizes WHAT THE MONEY BUYS [just emphasis].

      So, if you want a link…search these words: tata $2000 borsch german engine

      I will call this principle W.I.B.D.I. What it buys determines inflation.

    • Sam F
      March 23, 2020 at 19:49

      I agree; well said:
      “A society predicated on… lies and consumerism … violence instead of diplomacy … greed permeates it soul… health care system will break, the supply chains will break, corporate bankruptcies… market collapse … massive inflation, people will go hungry. The nation is bankrupt”

  16. Drew Hunkins
    March 23, 2020 at 10:19

    We working proles must go big right now, now is the time.

    A moment like this comes along perhaps once in a generation making it the most opportune time to rise up and eventually take state power. We have to seize this moment by the jugular and refuse to let go until the ruling class capitulates to a few basic and humane demands: At the very least a total write-off of all credit card and student loan debt, Med4All period, UBI of $2,000 per mo for at the least the next eight mos for all those making less than $300,000 per year, nationalize the investment banking firms that have been parasitically feeding off of us for the last century!

    If they can QE trillions of dollars into the predators on Wall Street they can easily afford all of what I’ve outlined above and much more.

    Now is the time to take the gloves off and wage class war from below!

    • ML
      March 23, 2020 at 11:56

      Drew, I wish you were President with the power to enact all of your point by point plan! Stay well. Cheers, ML

    • Drew Hunkins
      March 23, 2020 at 12:40

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s important that all of us as a group advocate for these things.

  17. Anton Vodvarka
    March 23, 2020 at 10:10

    I recall that last year, much of Australia’s forests and brush land was burning uncontrollably and they were quite short of firefighting aircraft. They had money for a fleet of our fabulously expensive F-35s but not for firefighting aircraft at a fraction of the cost

  18. Joe Tedesky
    March 23, 2020 at 10:05

    My hunch is that without enough test kits to test this coronavirus the real statistics of its devastation are hidden to reflect a lesser fatality rate. This bureaucratic gimmick is as old as the hills as this fudging of the numbers manipulation is only meant to fool the public.

    Great article Mr Lauria. Stay safe!

    • SecretCorruptIncompetent
      March 23, 2020 at 10:53

      “We don’t do body counts” to hide the extent of war.
      “We don’t do virus tests” to secret the scale of the pandemic

    • AnneR
      March 23, 2020 at 11:51

      Mr Tedesky – sounds feasible and reasonable to me! May not be (?) deliberate, *but* being “unprepared” is definitely allowing the ruling elites to gloss over the almost certain much larger numbers of infected (possibly even of those who have died – after all, if millions can’t afford medical care, how would we know if, in fact, more have died from this virus than is revealed?). And if the tests aren’t free – millions cannot afford to be tested, further permitting of “lower” numbers…

  19. March 23, 2020 at 09:43

    While Bernie Sanders has been saying health care is a human right, I have been saying that a government paid health care system is the first line of our National Defense. It’s amazing that nobody but this obscure observer failed to notice that. And here we are. Proof.
    And yet, not a single proposal of the military or the Trump administration nor the Democrats have been willing to face this obvious fact.

    Fortunately, Joe is raising now.

    And it probably won’t go anywhere anyway.

    • mary e
      March 23, 2020 at 12:47

      The trump administration is now considering ‘allowing’ people to order insurance under the Affordable Care Act …that is the only
      way many people can ‘afford’ to be sick. The Republicans certainly haven’t come up with any type of health insurance, let alone a good or workable one.

  20. George Vukmanovich
    March 23, 2020 at 09:40

    HG Welles’ book “The War of the Worlds” was first published in serial form in 1897 and in hard cover in 1898. At that time Britain was considered the world’s most powerful nation, with an empire that literally stretched around the globe. To say that the sun never set on the British Empire was not an exaggeration, it was real. Most people consider the story as a science fiction thriller. But this is inaccurate. The story is in fact a parable about the British Empire and its expansion around the world , particularly in Africa and Asia. Welles was a Fabian Socialist, like many of his contemporaries, such as Jules Verne and Beatrix Potter who wrote “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.” Welles was quite aware of one of the consequences of that expansion, namely the cost in human lives due to disease. Since medicine by that time had excepted the concept of the so-called ‘germ theory,’ it was only natural that he would vanquish the invading martians by the newly established ‘germ theory,’ which took the lives of so many European colonists. Many of Welles’ so-called science fiction thrillers such as ” The Time Machine, ” “The Invisible Man” etc. are in fact socialist criticisms of contemporary events.

    • Tim
      March 25, 2020 at 09:00

      > Many of Welles’ so-called science fiction thrillers such as ” The Time Machine, ” “The Invisible Man” etc. are in fact socialist criticisms of contemporary events

      True, but this distinction is not really valid. It is quite natural that a large part of science fiction, the literature of ideas, is also a critique of some aspect of contemporary life. Whole categories of SF, such as “If this goes on” stories, are based on that.

  21. anon
    March 23, 2020 at 09:22

    If the Martian invaders are the political gangsters who control all institutions of the US former democracy, a virus specific to the rich is certainly needed. If the only cure was living in tents with a humble diet, that might work, but no such virus seems likely.

    More likely is the generalized recognition that the greed of the rich caused the problem, and massive anger at them, sufficient to deny them police protection. That fear is what led to military “preparedness” against nonexistent foreign threats, and that fear is what now brings the military home to prevent restoration of democracy.

    Sellouts of the lower middle class join the military or police to suppress their own kind on behalf of the rich. Those sellouts must face the merciless double wrath of their countrymen, to stop the suppression of democracy. Generations of suffering may eventually prevent the sellouts, but that likely requires violent suppression of riots, sensational counterattacks, etc.

    That level of domestic suffering requires the international embargo of the US, and the refocus of the rich upon exploiting the domestic population.

    • Dianne Leonard
      March 23, 2020 at 14:12

      About “sellouts” of lower and middle class joining the military and police: I’d frame that a bit differently. At least some of the young people who join the military see that as their only option. Their grades and/or finances aren’t good enough to go to college; they have little or nothing in the way of skills. The military offers them a job (back in the 1980s, when my brother joined the Army, it paid better than flipping burgers at McDonalds), and the opportunity to maybe learn a skill. That it doesn’t work out that way for most, that many end up on the streets afterwards with PTSD, are things that the military conceals. My brother supposedly learned to be a cook during his 4 years in the Army. He’s working at a greasy-spoon as a fry cook now–at not much more than minimum wage. At age 57. So, no, I don’t think he was a sellout, nor were most young people like him. They got sold a bill of goods by the government they trusted, and ended up getting royally screwed.

  22. March 23, 2020 at 09:00

    Some excellent points.

    But there are other enemies America failed to prepare for while it churned out vast armed forces. By the way, those armed forces and security services are not about defense. They are about securing and expanding a global empire.

    Investment in infrastructure and public education to make the country more competitive in the brave new post-American Dream world.

    Getting down to the hard work of investing and making yourself more competitive in a changing world.

    America’s golden days are gone through the natural process of other nations investing and becoming more competitive and simply doing many things better than the US.

    And they did that while America squandered immense resources on its military.

    Now, America’s establishment seems to have the idea that it can bully its way back to the heydays of 1955, but it cannot.

    If it persists in trying – as the crude Donald Trump is doing – it will almost certainly end in war.

  23. March 23, 2020 at 08:10

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false,” said CIA Director William Casey at an early February 1981 meeting of the newly elected President Reagan with his new cabinet secretaries.


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