Heroes and Patriots

On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we trot out our old uniforms and pretend to have been heroes. It seems a harmless sham. We did risk our lives, that’s true, but “in defense of freedom?” I think not. I have no dispute with fellow veterans and sympathize with their injuries, both visible and invisible. I do take issue with the idiocy of Gold Star Mothers and Fathers standing up and telling us lies about the carnage that ended the lives of their children.

There are a number of vacant myths that have accompanied recent warfare. One is that war is necessary and inevitable. It is not. It is caused by a combination of excessive greed, excessive patriotism and excessive dogmatism. Those people killing each other were, until recently, convinced of the rightness of their cause. Lately, however, the carnage has gotten out of hand and even the soldier knows that he is just fighting to keep himself and his buddies alive. The option to go home has been removed. So they fight and kill and die and we make up lies about “freedoms” they are protecting.

The Korean War was a murderous operation. In essence, it was the two victorious colonialist blocks, NATO and the Soviets (allies in the previous war), fighting over the fruits of their victory: territory to be colonized. Anyone who doesn’t think South Korea isn’t a NATO colony should just look at who fought in this war and continues to invest massive amounts of your tax dollars maintaining the perilous status quo. (28,500 well-trained and heavily-armed US troops permanently stationed in South Korea and even more permanently stationed in nearby Japan for close to 70 years and counting) We really had no business being there, but the Soviets were charging after the wealth and power that comes with colonies – the same thing we had done since the Monroe Doctrine and our NATO allies had been doing almost steadily for at least five centuries.

In a deeper layer of the onion, there is a transfer of wealth and power within the colonizing countries themselves and this goes back as far as history itself. Creating a “threat” or an “evil” or some supposedly virtuous reason to attack and kill, citizens are taxed, conscripted and asked to sacrifice. But, while the average citizen sacrifices and suffers, the wealthy and influential cash in, taking enormous profits from their fellow citizens and stuffing their own already full pockets. In an ironic twist, the people who pull us into these perilous circumstances are lionized and supported almost unanimously by their victimized fellow citizens. I invite you to read “War is a Racket,” available free on line. Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) writes about his career as a highly-decorated three-star Marine Corps general and the greed and disdain shown by the people he served as enforcer of the United States’ expansive foreign policy as well as the scams accompanying those military campaigns.

About 1955, we got ourselves into another ruinous conflict, a civil war in the ancient country of Vietnam, just recently freed and then divided by outsiders after two centuries of foreign occupation. We chose to support a succession of dictators who couldn’t possibly have been elected by their citizens in a “country” created by outsiders and killed around three million people in their own homeland. We were fighting against freedom and democracy; against independence and unity in a country which had united an industrial North and an agricultural South just like our own but for millennia rather than four score and seven years. If our North was justified in prohibiting the secession of the South, why was it wrong for Ho Chi Minh (who was actually born in South Vietnam) to keep his country together? Furthermore, as soon as we left, these “enemies,” these “Communists,” these “threats to our democracy” were on our side, fighting Pol Pot and the Communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and repelling an invasion of Chinese Communists. As soon as we left, they were on our side of this supposed life-or-death struggle against a world Communist movement which soon melted into a puddle of goo at our feet!

This puts the pertinent question sharply in focus. What’s wrong with our minds? What inhibits both learning and logical thought so that an entire nation of good, educated, and thoughtful people could murder three million souls on their own farms and in their own country for no good reason at all? What insanity makes this possible? Certainly they weren’t likely to get into their sampans and cross the Pacific Ocean to do the same to us. Contrariwise, when we left, they immediately fought our supposed enemies, other “Communists.”

What threat to us did they actually make? When and how did they become an “enemy?” Was it when their leader was unable to get an air defense of his capital city in Paris and found one in Moscow? Was defending his nation’s capital city against Chinese and American air attack the “evil” that threatened us?

You may think this is water under the bridge – old history even though I remember it personally. The big problem is that we still don’t see it, so we keep making the same damn fool mistakes.

There was no legitimate reason to create – let alone defend – Kuwait. The territory had previously been a part of Iraq, a natural deep water port off the Persian Gulf nestled between Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. When the British took it as a colony right after World War I, it was mostly dessert, but it had a deep water port on the Persian Gulf with massive oil reserves, the “black gold” of the Twentieth Century. Along with Palestine, another blight in the Middle East caused by British colonialism, Kuwait morphed into an American colony, a country unable to maintain itself without outside help and a thorn in the side of neighboring countries.

Before the Gulf War, having sucked dry most of its own oil and being composed of mostly dilettantes and bureaucrats, Kuwait was slant drilling hundreds of wells under Iraq, stealing their oil. Kuwait was the rogue state, not Iraq. Our State Department (specifically April Glaspie, career ambassador) assured Saddam Hussein that the United States was neutral in the conflict with his greedy neighbors1. Thus, it is clear to me that the United States and its allies were the authors of this conflict. And yet we blamed it on Iraq’s leader and spent years punishing the Iraqi people.

This might be the first time you’ve heard this. Pertinent facts have been removed and misinformation put in their place.

“Our boys overseas” haven’t been fighting for or gaining freedom for anyone! Soldiers lose significant freedoms by enlisting until their tour of duty is up. The US population suffers longer lines at airports, strip searches and other small but persistent infringements on their personal freedom. And the people we fought to “liberate” had their lives disrupted drastically if not ended abruptly. With a decade of “fighting for freedom” in Iraq, we created a destabilized country, over a million Iraqi refugees in surrounding Arab countries, a new generation of terrorists there, angry citizens here and a militant Arab response. There were no al Quida terrorists or supporters in Iraq. Nor were there any weapons of mass destruction. We invaded Iraq solely on rumor, innuendo, and our President’s and Vice President’s creative fictions. Only a single United States Senator2 voted against this injustice, this stupidity, this atrocity, this sick, disgusting perversion, and the leaders who concocted this murder and mayhem were applauded and approved by a vast majority of US citizens!

We now stand on the brink of doing something similar for a fourth time within my lifetime! C’mon, people. When will we wise up? When will we stop drinking the Kool-Aid? When will we stop our knee-jerk reactions and think clearly and responsibly?

We were sick of these lies when we elected The Donald as our Commander in Chief, but, because we still don’t understand the problem, we salivate like Pavlov’s dog while he “makes America great again” with the same self-righteous bragging, bullying, blustering and belligerence.

You’ve got to wonder at U.S. voters. We impeached (but were 1 vote short of convicting) Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job just outside the oval office, but we don’t mind Bush 41 starting a Mideast conflict or Bush 43 invading a stable country and causing death and destruction based on deceit and outright lies. Which lie was more destructive and violated the oath to protect and defend? We reject Hillary, who spent most of her political career trying to solve difficult social and political problems such as adequate health care and education for all citizens and give a thumbs up to a guy who is surrounded by crooks and calls the facts (and, admittedly, a lot of off-the-cuff opinions) “fake news.”

©David N. Dodson, December 2016


2Bernie Sanders


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