Thursday, May 27, 2010
We Are A War-Mongering Nation.
This week-end we will celebrate Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who died in defense of this nation. We have new graves for every generation of Americans, but the newly-dead did not die defending this nation -- they were sent by cowards and liars in our government to wage wars of aggression in the middle east to expand empire and steal resources. We are a war mongering nation.
If we stayed out of war, and let other nations work out their own problems (with the exception of the obvious need to intervene to prevent genocide), everybody would be much better off. Certainly the U.S. would be because we would have enough money to pay for everyone to go to college, work a 35-hour week, retire at 50, have complete medical and dental coverage provided by the government. And we could live like the Europeans do, taking long vacations and holidays. Actually live our lives instead of just working from cradle to grave to make the criminals on Wall Street rich and pay for endless wars.
The world would be better off, too. We could have a world tax on wealth, and use that to help people in third world countries to improve their own communities, build housing and schools and hospitals, develop local sustainable agriculture, preserve their own culture, and protect against their exploitation by corporations and puppet dictatorships who serve them. Instead of using our tax money to murder our neighbors, we could use it to help them.
The politicians and media tell us that we can determine the cost of war by adding up numbers: number of U.S. dead and wounded; number of dollars spent. But this is silly. We need to add up the number of people we kill in other countries when we attack them, then multiply that by 50 because that's how many family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors knew that person we killed, and will hate the U.S. forever for having done so.
Nobody has ever included in the domestic cost of war the mental deterioration and damage caused to the people that we send to war. Now there is some small effort to quantify something that the medical community has created, a disease-model name, called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The military wants to convince the public that only a small percentage, a few of those we send to slaughter, have mental problems when they return. But the truth is that they all have mental problems when they return. If they witnessed or participated in slaughter, they will have mental problems for the rest of their lives, and their family, neighbors, and community will pay a terrible cost.
What the military is labeling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is just the preliminary evidence of the natural and inevitable response to having witnessed or participated in slaughter. For some, it will not surface for years after the return, but everyone is damaged. People who we send to war are changed, forever changed. When they come back to this country they bring their trauma with them.
The damage done to the Americans who return from war significantly adds to our national level of alcoholism and drug addiction, spousal and child abuse, suicide, homicide, and early death. But nobody includes those numbers when determining the "cost" of war. Those are the hidden costs borne by the shamed women hiding inside their homes with black eyes and broken bones. They are the hidden costs borne by the children who are terrorized by their own father's neverending rage. The streets of our cities are constantly replenished with the newest crop of homeless mentally ill addicted veterans. Which generation gets to skip this, which generation is allowed to grow and heal, war-free in this country? None. The wars never end.
Below is a partial list of U.S. wars against other nations, involvement in wars, and interventions. I did not include everything from the list, just for about the last 100 years. It's simply too much war.
(From PBS Website: A Chronology of U.S. Military Interventions From Vietnam To The Balkans) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/military/etc/cron.html
Also see: http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html
China Boxer Rebellion
Philippines Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
Cuba Seized from Spain
Puerto Rico Seized from Spain
Guam Seized from Spain
Nicaragua Marines land at Port San Juan del Sur.
Nicaragua Marines land at port of Bluefields
Panama Annexed Canal Zone 1914
Honduras Marines intervene in revolution
Dominican Republican U.S. troops sent in
Korea Marines land, Russo-Japanese war
Cuba Marines land
Nicaragua Protectorate set up
Honduras Marines land during war with Nicaragua
Panama 1908 Marines intervene in election
Nicaragua 1910 Marines land in Corinto
Honduras U.S. military intervenes in civil war
China Continuous occupation 1911-1941
Cuba U.S. troops intervene
Panama 1912 U.S. troops intervene
Honduras 1912 U.S. troops intervene
Nicaragua 1912-33 U.S. troops, 10-year occupation
Dominican Republican, 1914
Mexico 1914-1918, series of interventions
Haiti 1914-34, 19-year occupation by U.S. military forces
Cuba 1917-1933: U.S. military occupationeconomic control.
World War I
1918-1922 Numerous interventions in Soviet Union.
Panama 1918-1920 Military control.
Honduras 1919 U.S. Marines land.
Guatemala 1920 U.S. troops intervene in labor dispute.
China 1922-1927 Naval troops deployed to China.
Honduras 1924-1925 Military landed twice during unrest.
Panama 1925 Marines used to suppress striking workers.
China 1927-34 Marines stationed throughout the country.
El Salvador 1932 Warships sent during Marti revolt.
World War II 1941-1945
Puerto Rico 1950 U.S. assisted in crushing rebellion.
Korea 1951-1953 U.S. War Against Korea.
Iran 1953 CIA overthrows democracy, Shah installed.
Vietnam 1954-1975 U.S. War Against Vietnam
Lebanon 1958 Marines occupy against rebel group.
Cuba 1961 U.S./CIA directed invasion by exiles.
Iraq 1963 U.S. coup kills leader, brings Saddam Hussein back to run the Secret Service.
Indonesia 1965 CIA-assisted army coups kills 1.0 million.
Dominican Republican 1965-66, Marines land during election dispute.
Guatemala 1966 U.S. Green Berets intervene, work against rebels
Cambodia 1969-75 U.S. illegal war
Laos 1971-73 U.S. directs South Vietnamese puppet government invasion, carpet-bombs the country.
Chile 1973 CIA/Henry Kissinger-backed coup ousts democratically elected president Allende and installs military dictator Pinochet, leading to the torture and murder of thousands.
Angola 1976-92 CIA assists rebels backed by South Africa.
El Salvador 1981-1992 U.S. military "advisers," pilots, soldiers assist military dictatorship in war against citizens.
Nicaragua 1981-1990 CIA-directed and secretly funded war against citizens on behalf of dictatorship.
Lebanon 1982-1984 U.S. Marines support Phalangists; U.S. military bombs and shells Muslim population.
Grenada 1983-1984 U.S. invades country.
Honduras 1983-1989 U.S. troops engage in various activities in support of dictatorship.
Libya 1986 U.S. sends pilots, drops bombs to assist in overthrowing the government.
Bolivia 1986 U.S. troops conduct raids in various parts of the country, purportedly in "war on drugs."
Iran 1987-1988 U.S. sides in Iraq in war against Iran, delivers to Iraq various weaponry including chemical warfare for Iraq to use against Iran.
Panama 1989 U.S. sends in troops, overthrows government.
Saudi Arabia 1990-1991 U.S. stations troops and jets in Saudi Arabia, plus over one-half million other troops in Oman, Qatar, Behrain, UAE, Israel.
Iraq 1990- U.S. conducts air strikes, invades Iraq and Kuwait, creates no-fly zone, blockades.
Somalia 1992-1994 U.S. leads United Nations occupation.
Bosnia 1993 U.S. involvement in war between Bosnia, Serbia, former Yugoslavia. Haiti 1994 U.S. troops intervene against sitting government, restore Aristide to office.
Sudan 1998 U.S. missile strike on apparent pharmaceutical plant alleged to be a weapons plant.
Afghanistan 1998 U.S. missiles strike inside Afghanistan allegedly attacking Islamic fundamentalist groups.
Yugoslavia 1999 U.S. and Nato air strikes re Serbia, Kosovo; occupation of Kosovo through NATO.
2000 - present
Macedonia 2001 U.S./NATO forces intervene against Albanian rebels.
Afghanistan 2001- U.S. bombs, invades, occupies after 9/11 attacks on U.S.
Columbia 2003 - U.S. military engage in warfare on behalf of dictatorship and against rebels, either as "war on drugs," or as security mercenaries for oil corporations protecting their oil pipelines, used to take oil from the country.
Iraq 2003 - U.S. invasion, bombing, occupation.
Haiti 2004-2005 U.S. marines land after Aristide is ousted by local rebel group.
Pakistan 2005 - CIA missile, air strikes, special forces raid alleged al Queda and Taliban villages.
Somalia 2006 U.S. Special Forces assist Ethiopian invasion to topple government of Somalia; air strikes and missile attacks, plus naval blockade.
Why should the United States be invading and attacking all these other countries? China, Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Yugoslavia. Is there any place on earth that people are safe from us? Why do we keep invading Haiti? Why don't we help them instead of killing them? The U.S. has military troops all over the world. We, the citizens, pay for that. Who benefits from it? The corporations who use the presence and threat of the U.S. military to force countries to turn over their resources to the corporations, turn over their citizens to become slaves in corporate factories.
Our military is used as private security, mercenaries, hit-men for the corporate CEOs. Much like the state-sponsored Explorers of Europe from hundreds of years ago would go out in big ships, well-armed, "discover" some country, claim to own it, then kill all the people and steal all the resources. We are doing the same thing, just with a modern twist. Instead of the King, or Queen getting all the gold and jewels, now we have the CEOs who have the military come back and lay this wealth at their feet. It's so ludicrous that people claim we are a religious nation, when the truth is that we spend most of our money, time, effort, and resources in murdering other people around the world and turning our backs on the misery and suffering that we cause.
The citizens pay for this. Our treasury goes to paying for more and more wars and military invasions and occupations. This does not make us safer. It makes everybody in the world hate us. And the government tells us that there is no money left for us. No money for roads, no money for schools, no money for healthcare. We are taught to expect nothing for ourselves, as if we are the lowest of the low: no job security, no education, no healthcare, no homes, no public transportation, no vacations, no sick leave, no holidays. We get nothing. In contrast with people in every other developed country in the world, who have relatively comfortable lives compared to the misery and exploitation of working people in this country.
We need to stop these wars, and we need to tell our government that from now on, we are out of the war business, and we are in the nation-building business, starting with our own nation. Instead of sending bombs to blow up other countries, let's use the money to re-build our own nation. Instead of sending the navy to provide protection for the shipping industry that is carrying resources away from third world countries, we should let those people keep their own resources, and use our money to protect our own people from illness by creating a national healthcare system. Help our neighbors instead of killing them.
Masters Of War (Bob Dylan)
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desk
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins
How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead