“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien,
Publisher’s Note: I published variation of this before last November and it certainly rings true for yet another holiday during the year when we celebrate the use of war and violence to advance the agenda of the American Federal government around the globe. We are asked to bow our heads in honor of the dead and wounded who gave their service for freedom. Call me a skeptic. Individual citizens have never been in graver danger of being fined, kidnapped, caged, maimed and killed by their own government for the most banal of violations or infractions against the imperial power that has wrapped its tentacles around every living soul in the land of the free. The export of extraterritorial violence does not make a country free, it puts every inhabitant in the hazard as the entire planet has factions enraged, women and children savaged and murdered and entire religious sects chosen for special military attention.
Full disclosure: I am a retired Army officer so I have been there and done that at neo-imperialist shit-pits around the globe.
Since 1775, there have been approximately 1.35 million deaths and total US casualties of approximately 2.8 million. The deaths could fill a lake with about 1.7 million gallons of blood which could fill a city swimming pool that was 30 feet deep and 275 feet at each side. The deaths on the other side in the belligerent camp are exponentially larger by any standard when once examines the history.
In essence not only are we asked to memorialize conflicts that always manages to strengthen the government’s power on the other side, we are exposed to a constant drumbeat of protecting “our” freedom yet no existential threat to the USSA has existed since the cessation of hostilities with the UK in 1814.
The celebration of Memorial Day should not be about the soldiery, it should be a mass wake and reflection on the untold millions of innocents detained, kidnapped, injured, napalmed, fire-bombed, incinerated, shot, mutilated, tortured and murdered by the barbaric and naked grasping of the American central government for ever-increasing power and control at home and abroad.
Those acres of tombstones are also a fitting symbol to the state of liberty over time in America as a result of the obedient slaves marching to the drumbeat of expanding government…forever. War is nothing more than a dispute between plantation owners who quizzically and cleverly get the Helots to spill their blood to build heavier chains and more effective manacle systems.
A discomforting thought: Many people on this day insist that we should honor the dead and maimed because they thought the crusade they were on was righteous. This is precisely the attitude of many people when it comes to the tsunami of cops abuses on US soil; the badged political social workers are simply doing what they think is right.
There are many heroes in these conflicts like the young helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson Jr., who positioned his bird between unarmed Vietnamese villagers and an American patrol to protect the innocents from further bloodshed at My Lai.
The only just war is one fought on your soil to defend your own soil. -BB
What! I hear this familiar refrain again and again every November. I am appalled whenever this unthinking salutation is proffered.
I am a retired career Army officer and like USMC General Smedley Butler before me, I find these sentiments to be hogwash.
The only service rendered was to the American political power structure in the dishonorable hands of the Democrats or Republicans; the former, despite their protestations to peace, have gotten America involved in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Starting with the shameful expropriation of the Mexican territory from 1846-48 to the War of Northern Aggression from 1860-65; the United States went into hyper-colonial overdrive in 1893 in the Hawaiian Islands and has not stopped since. The entire history of American arms on Earth has been a shameful and expansionist enterprise culminating in the first ever post-WWII (the Japanese attack on American territories in the Aleutians during the War to Save Josef Stalin and the minor coastal skirmishes in Oregon) attack on American state soil in 2001. I am frankly astonished at the length of time it took for a substantive attack of any kind to be initiated on American soil with the breadth, ferocity and long sordid history of American mischief and mayhem abroad.
The sheer number of military expeditions the US has embarked on over time is breathtaking. One worthy notes there have been 234 military expeditions from 1798-1993. Another posits 159 instances of the use of United States armed forces abroad from October 1945 through December 2006. “This list does not include covert actions and numerous instances of US forces stationed abroad since World War II, in occupation forces, or for participation in mutual security organizations, base agreements, and routine military assistance or training operations.”
Good God, if I were a Martian who landed on Earth ten years ago and found myself attending government schools, to include college, and watching television for any additional cultural education, I would not be aware of any of this. The constant drumbeat emanating from the State is the Orwellian chorus about America making the world safe for freedom and liberty and never using force abroad except in self-defense. The history proves otherwise.
America, next to Rome in the Western world, ranks as one of the world’s most aggressive nation states when one examines the evidence. A country sheltered from the tempestuous and constant warring on the European continent by one ocean and the turbulence in Asia by another ocean yet it simply cannot mind its own business nor resist the temptation to maim and murder abroad for expansion of political power and control whether for mercantilist or colonial aspirations.