By now it has become obvious to most Americans that the reasons for going to war against Iraq were fabricated. People may argue what the real reasons were: maintain American hegemony in the Middle East; solidifying US imperialism worldwide; following the orders of the Likud Party; even sarcastic reasons like Bush couldn’t spell Afghanistan so he invaded Iraq. Maybe it was simply that “After all this is the guy who tried to kill my Dad.” (9/27/02)
If we follow main stream media we will see that America is getting tired of the war. Even the MSM accepts that the Democrats were elected in ’06 to get us out. What a shock it is to the millions of gullible Americans who voted for the Democrats now that they have given Bush all that he wants. It wasn’t enough that the support from the Democratic Party was there from the beginning but many are feeling deceived by this most recent capitulation. Even though George Bush mangled the saying regarding ‘Fool me once’ with the Democrats it’s ‘Fool me for a thousandth’s time.”
Why are so many Americans against the war? Still not a majority, but the reasons are not because it was an illegal war to begin with. More likely it’s because we’re losing. That doesn’t happen much. Viet Nam was our first real lost war (and similarly conceived).
However, not since Washington, D.C. was sacked in 1812 have Americans ever have known real war. We see it elsewhere. We cause it elsewhere. We fight it elsewhere. American troops go through all the hells of war, but if they survive, they’re back home in the safety of rural communities, inner city townies, and shopping malls. Would we be so violent a people if half the block where our homes are have been blown away by mortars? Or, what if foreign troops are regularly patrolling our streets to make it safe (for them)? We have over 1000 military instillations throughout the world in over 130 countries. How would we react to Bulgarians, Fijians or others pushing us around as we get out of our cars with groceries? They are just a small representation of the mercenaries we employ in Iraq.
Would Americans have a different attitude towards war if we were forever on the receiving end? Our armaments industry would never allow Congress to take a more peaceful path. Peace is just not good for business. America’s economy could come to a screeching halt. Boeing would have to build energy efficient passenger planes. General Electric would have to build motors that run on renewable resources. Maybe Dow would have to develop environmentally safe pest control or avoidance devices, rather than napalm and other anti-personnel weapons. Can Raytheon come up with the perfect mousetrap? Just imagine the CEOs of each of these companies rallying their marketing troops away from war and death. Sorry. But I just can’t.
We are a violent nation. Period. Our foreign policy is straight out of the Roman Empire and our domestic proclivity towards violence and human degradation is seen every day on Jerry Springer, Oprah, and other shows that show how miserable our lives are and how we ourselves are a miserable lot.
How does all this relate to our troops? It’s a simple connection. The troops are an extension of our foreign policy. Regardless of the reasons for joining the military, the end result is to enforce policy that has nothing to do with American patriotism or values. We are in Iraq for lies. We all know that now, although many have known that long before 2003 (including most Congress members who pretended that they were deceived). Hell, those who voted for the war, and those who still vote to keep it going, are either complicit in committing war crimes or are just too damn stupid to be representing us. My US Senator, Barbara Mikulski, like her counterpart in Illinois, Richard Durbin, admitted that they knew the war was based on lies but feared a felony charge for divulging that information. Is there anyone more complicit in war crimes than one who could have stopped such an atrocity but cared more for keeping out of prison (or the country clubs)? I used to rank General Colin Powell as #1 war criminal for using his prestige to fake a cause for war. Those on the Senate Intelligence Committee who, like Mikulski and Durbin, were too cowardly to stop the war when they could have, should be sent to The Hague for trial first before Bush administration personnel.
The troops are pawns. They are used and used up by the military to carry out a war of aggression against an innocent population. The majority of our servicemen and women are from rural towns or urban centers where opportunity is available but ignored for the cheap and easy enlistment promises. They are lied to and when finished with their service they are discarded afterwards.
Yet what is different than in our last protracted war of aggression in Viet Nam that was also based on lies is that these soldiers are enlistees. Most going to Iraq or Afghanistan enlisted long after it was known that this war was based on fraudulent information. Except for the poor schmucks in the National Guard who thought they were just going to be weekend warriors, not casualties, each joined an army that has nothing but history of warmongering. They practiced warfare in high school with video games. They watch movies by Schwarzenegger and Stallone about how cool it is to kill ‘filthy dirty Arabs’, homicidal Reds, or whatever ethnicity or political entity worthy of de-humanization. Funny how our greatest war models were Chicken Hawks. Stallone was a draft dodger during Viet Nam (alleged to have been teaching girls’ soccer in Switzerland) and John Wayne avoided military service during WW2 while fellow actors like Fonda, Garfield, Stewart, Palance, etc. enlisted. Even Elvis Presley enlisted! So did Maynard G. Krebbs, but that’s another story.
Only real peace voices, such as Cindy Sheehan, have the nerve to say what so many are afraid to think. Casey, and thousands of others, have died in vain. Their deaths are meaningless. Their mutilations are a joke on them for falling for patriotic claptrap that said they must avenge 9/11. Do we blame the soldier for being naÃve or a super-patriot? Do we blame ourselves for allowing our society to decay to the point where the military is an option out of poverty (as false a claim as that is)? Mad Magazine wonderfully shows a counter-recruitment poster with the caption: “Patriotism is a great motivator. Unemployment is a greater motivator.”
We can feel sorry for our soldiers for being dupes. But we can’t give them a pass. They are in Iraq carrying out a brutal war of occupation. They represent the ‘best’ of America. For the first time, we are seeing Aryan Nation graffiti on Baghdadi walls. Acceptance of abusing Iaqi civilians is widespread where soldiers will not rat out fellow soldiers for abusing them. Four mercenaries are killed in Fallujah and we level the city like only the Fascist of Spain could have done to Guernica.
Why are we defending these thugs? Who are they that they even deserve our respect, admiration, or even compassion? When they joined the military, they gave up much of their Constitutional rights as well as their humanity. They joined a collective, not much unlike the Borg Collective. Some may be Hugh’s, fighting to be independent. Those are the soldiers we should back. They are the Erin Watadas of Hawaii who refused to deploy to Iraq because they knew the war was wrong. They are the Jeremy Hinzmans who have deserted to Canada rather than going to Iraq. These are the soldiers for whom we should care about and plaster magnetic ribbons all over our cars.
What other soldiers should we care about? How about the resistance fighters in Iraq? The greatest heroes of WW2 were the partisans and resistance fighters who took on the occupying Nazis. They were true patriots; same for those for whom we call ‘insurgents’. They are fighting an armed resistance against the constituted authority backed by the most powerful military Earth has ever known. They are taking on the occupying armies of the West, namely the US. Our own insurgents were once called Minutemen. Why are Iraqi insurgents treated as terrorists when they are only defending their homes? The answer is obvious. Their enemy is primarily the US Army and any enemy of our army must be evil. Foreign troops may be on the increase, but they still pale to pissed off Iraqi patriots who just don’t like being occupied. Since those who fight the Americans are predominantly Muslim and don’t engage much in alcohol, they can’t use Sam’s words from Casablanca as he’s sipping on French champagne, “Kind of takes the sting out of being occupied, doesn’t it Mr. Richard.” Rick was part of the underground but had to flee to avoid arrest by the Gestapo. Real life partisans stayed, fought, and died or were tortured. They were the heroes of WW2 as the insurgents are the heroes of the 2nd war for Iraqi oil.
Let’s have magnetic ribbons that say, “I support the resistance” rather than jingoistic, xenophobic and imperialistic ones that adorn SUV’s and other diesel belching trucks.
When screaming hordes of Canadian lumberjacks cross our borders with axes then perhaps our Army can be used to defend us and we should then be proud of their service. What other occasion can be imagined where our military is used for truly altruistic purposes that will not benefit (usually financially) some industry or political party? I’m not advocating the dissolution of our military entirely. After all, as Mohamed El Baradei says, there are ‘new crazies’ out there. He was referring to the lunatics in the Bush administration planning war with Iran but it can refer to so many others out there who think like Bush and his circle of psychopaths. The US does need to be defended. We have earned the scorn, hatred, and fear of so many out there. The biggest ‘blowback’ is that someone as unbalanced as Bush could take it out on our farmers in Iowa or civil servants in urban centers. Their only crime is mostly being silent and wishful thinking.
MYLES HOENIG’s lottery # in 1973 was 190 when Americans were no longer threatened with involuntary servitude, except for those already in bondage. With his wife, Brandy Baker, they are working on peace and consumer issues through their Green Party local, Charm City Greens. Myles served as the campaign manager for Ed Boyd, Green Party candidate for Gov. of Maryland in 2006. Myles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org