Saturday, February 07, 2009

War is a racket

U.S. soldiers have long been used by our nation’s leaders and war profiteers as pawns in the service or their plans. Not only are they sent to foreign lands to fight and die, but they are used in numerous public relations stunts. When people criticize a war, especially during the Bush/Cheney administration, our leaders pretend that our criticisms are directed at “the troops” rather than at the leaders who started the war. When Democratic Congresspersons threaten to withhold funds for continuation of the war, they are accused of withholding funds for the protection of “our troops”.

These claims are of course absurd. Criticism of a war is almost always directed at those who create and propagate it – not at those who fight in it. And nothing would protect our troops more than to end the war and send them home. Yet, those who have an interest in the continuation of war never miss an opportunity to slam a war’s opponents as being unpatriotic and against “our troops”.

My perspective on war

When I was very young, like the vast majority of Americans I bought into the idea that it was always a good and patriotic thing to fight in American wars. My liberal parents told me that our country was on the side of virtue and justice in every war it had fought in. Undoubtedly, that’s what they were taught in school – just as I was. But with the onset of the Vietnam War (when I was a teenager) they actually became active in protesting against it.

One thing that makes it difficult to assess justifications for war is that the true motivations are rarely if ever publicly announced, and there are usually multiple true motivations. Different historical accounts provide so many different reasons for wars.

That said, my ideas on valid justifications for war are very similar to the justifications provided by the United Nations. I believe that self-defense and the stopping of genocide (or something similar) are the only two valid justifications for war. As such, the more I read the more I have come to realize that so many of our wars were not justified, contrary to what I had been taught. At this time, our only wars that I believe to have been justified were the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, and the war to stop the genocide in Kosovo. A very many of them were motivated largely by the worst kinds of motives, including war profiteering, imperialism and racism.

Therefore, I no longer believe in a draft – for my country or any other. I used to believe in it because it made sense to me that if people want the privileges of citizenship they should be required to pay for those privileges in times of great danger to their country. After all, how can a country exist if it doesn’t have the power to defend itself in times of need? But since I realized the extent to which war has been abused by our nation’s leaders through much of our history, I have come to feel differently. If a country can’t persuade its citizens voluntarily to fight for it when necessary, then maybe that country shouldn’t exist.

Our troops

In order for our nation’s war profiteers to be able to use our troops as pawns in their propaganda projects, they have to make them out to be so sacred that the least criticism of them, or even implied criticism, is seen as something akin to treason. Sometimes that is not very hard to do. For Americans who have been brought up to believe that the purpose of every American war is to protect them from a fate worse than death, it is easy to understand the unquestioned reverence they have for our troops. They believe that they are in great danger, and the only thing standing between them and a fate worse than death are our American soldiers.
more here:

My response to the above article
A few decades back we were told we were bringing democracy to South East Asia. My inner conflict centered on the fact that we were taught in school that when people choose their government it's called democracy.
So here I was in someone else's land imposing my government's heavy hand on people who never lifted a finger to harm us. To effectuate this international domination at gunpoint we used small arms, claymore mines, mortars, artillery, helicopter gunships, jet fighters, heavy bombers and so on.
We were transformed from normal kids into trained killers, brainwashed to believe that we were saving the world from communist domination and ruthless dictators like Ho Chi Minh who enslaved their people and wanted to enslave Americans. There was the Domino Theory that gave justification to our aggression.
We went to Vietnam to protect the American Constitution, at least that's that's why we were told to take the oath. Although Antonin Scalia uses the Constitution for toilet paper and the Bush Administration did whatever it could to shred it, our Constitution still survives. Through all of it, our number one goal was to get home alive. Most of us did get to return home, albeit damaged.
By the standards set for us we succeeded. Communism stopped spreading (Reagan gets credit for this today), we still have a Constitution (although weakened by by fascists), and most of us made it home.
When something is imposed at gunpoint, democracy is not in the equation.
The short-peckered chest thumpers who were/are too chicken shit to fight wars from which they derive personal profit or a vicarious erection can, in the words of Dick "Chickenhawk" Cheney, go fuck themselves. And I'm still pissed off for what they did to us those many years ago.


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