“War is organized murder and nothing else." ~ Harry Patch, 1898 - 2009
I expect my cynicism as expressed in this post will turn some people off.
I’m tired of scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed at any time of the day and night and seeing photos of American servicemen and women on airport tarmacs and in terminals greeting their spouses, lovers and children, meeting them for the first time, becoming reacquainted with dogs and cats, and otherwise resuming their place in the lives of those they left. If one more person tries to pressure me into “liking” these photos in gratitude for our soldiers’ willingness to sacrifice for my freedom, I can’t be held responsible for my actions.
Speaking of that, conservative politicians kind of want to put the kibosh on that whole “I can do whatever I want” thing anyway, don’t they?
Don’t get me wrong. I respect those who’ve served in the armed forces. I respect their sacrifices and discomfort and the risks they’ve taken. I’m sorry that we’ve lost some of our soldiers on the battlefield and some after they’ve returned home. But every time I see a photo of an American G.I. kneeling to hug his or her beaming offspring, I think about all those who can’t hug their children anymore because of American foreign policy. I think of the Americans who will never experience a joyous homecoming with their sons and daughters and I think of the parents with brown skin – those who worship Allah instead of Christ – who don’t love their offspring any less but have had to bury them because of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, oil reserves or some agenda item discussed in Washington, D.C.
(I’ve expressed this sentiment before. See “He Surprised My Achy Breaky Heart,” July 20, 2011.)
If these families feel better – if it helps them to go without and get through the day – by telling themselves that their loved ones are fighting for our freedoms rather than protecting our oil interests, I’m not inclined to burst their bubbles. But just between you and me, it’s sad that we force people to pull the wool over their own eyes when it doesn’t have to happen, isn’t it?
I recognize I'd have more credibility if I had actually served in uniform – if I had slept in barracks, cleaned latrines, fired an assault rifle, forced down MREs and watched friends who had become brothers die. If our borders were actually invaded, if enemy paratroopers descended upon our local high school football field and forced my neighbors to flee into the mountains a la “Red Dawn,” I’d like to think I’d fight for my family, my freedom, my country, my way of life. But the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld machinations don’t qualify as justification to shout, “Wolverines!” and take up arms against evildoers.
here to read, “One Million Civilians Dead, 37,000 American Soldiers Dead or Injured – And We’ve Learned Nothing from Iraq Debacle,” March 19, 2013.)
I surprised even myself when I wrote last month that I support more forceful U.S. support of the Syrian rebels in order to stop of the slaughter of innocent children 6,000 miles away. (See “Israel Helps Syrian Rebels: We Do Nothing,” May 6, 2013.) When I posted the piece in an anti-war Facebook group, a prominent and wise peace activist named Margaret Nielsen commented, “Share your concern for suffering people - but know that more guns and bombs will only worsen their suffering.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Click here to visit the “Jobs, Not Wars” website and obtain a petition urging politicians to “redirect our nation’s resources from war and uncontrolled Pentagon spending to fund social programs and public services, protect and improve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, repair the social safety net, meet the challenge of climate change, and reduce poverty and inequality.”
Sources: Costofwar.com, Alternet.org, Jobs-not-wars.org.