“One, Two, Three Strikes, You’re Out…”

Just when those who think the situation vis-à-vis U.S. militarism and empire can’t get any worse, there are visible signs they are. Such was the visit to the militarized and right-wing government of Japan by Donald Trump. With new calls for impeachment—a grand waste of time at this point in Trump’s disastrous presidency—readers might think the visit might add up to something, but it ended as a debacle of Trump tweets and an attempt to hide a U.S. warship.

The military and the Trump administration kept the USS John S. McCain hidden from view (with a gray tarp covering the destroyer’s name) during Trump’s trip because of the animus of Trump toward the late senator. The sophomoric nature of Trump’s attacks against McCain during his life and after the senator’s death are something for the record books. It defies logic to even go to where the arguments about the Vietnam War and what makes up so-called patriotism mean now. This has become such a militarized society since the 2001 attacks that logic and good sense are the second and third casualties of war following truth. The truth, however, seeks loudly to massive war profiteering and empire.

In “White House Asked Navy to Hide John McCain Warship,”(New York Times, May 29, 2019)not only is the insanity of hiding such a weapon unmasked, but the readers’ comment section is so laden with militaristic rhetoric and taunts against Trump that a critical reader might think war is the best thing to happen since the invention of the wheel. Only one, yes one comment draws attention to the fact that the warship has something to do with the hundreds of military bases that the U.S. maintains around the world and the endless wars the U.S. now fights.

During McCain’s illness, there was near-universal support for the late senator’s so-called patriotism. I believed then, and believe now, that verbally attacking someone who is dying is not the best way to deal with human suffering, or making reasonable arguments against war. During McCain’s illness, a video of McCain’s (YouTube, January 30, 2015) chairing of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing surfaced at which the dyed-in-the-wool warmonger and architect of many wars, Henry Kissinger, appeared. McCain attacks Code Pink demonstrators at the hearing, calling them “low-life scum.” Here’s the mathematical equation for that attack against protesters: warmonger over low-life scum.

So much for any hesitancy to call out McCain when he was well, for his long support of endless war-making by the U.S. and his personal part in that history. Careful attention would allow anyone who cares to listen to the echoes of Reagan’s “noble cause” (the Vietnam War with its 3 million dead) and George H.W. Bush’s push to end the Vietnam Syndrome that led in a direct line to the endless wars of today and their acceptance.

As empires decay, Nero fiddled, Trump tweets, and the delusional mass-murderer Hitler hid out in a bunker in Berlin. Does it come as a surprise that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cotez, a liberal Congressperson from New York, has had to deal with a steady stream of death threats (“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Compared to Kim Jong Un In Pro Baseball Team Video,” Huffington Post, May 28, 2019)? Most who care to pay attention know that it’s “One, two, three strikes, you’re out at the old ball game,” and we’re just about in the bottom of the ninth inning as a society.

*Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1908) by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tizer

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).