I am a unashamed antiwar activist……and I agree the best way to honor our veterans is to end all these endless wars and bring our troops home….
Another Memorial Day, another holiday filled with politicians rhapsodizing about the valiant sacrifices of courageous military men and women. Freedom isn’t free, we are told, as high officials extol the armed services for protecting Americans’ liberties.
It sounds so glorious. Especially eloquent tend to be the chicken hawks and summer patriots who had “other priorities” when it was their turn to serve. While busy today sending the young off to die in endless wars, they wax elegiac in praising needless deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, and more.
War is a terrible constant of the human condition. It seems inevitable and sometimes is necessary. Indeed, America was born in war.
However, the great scandal of U.S. history is that so few of the nation’s conflicts were essential. For instance, the Mexican-American War was rank aggression which resulted in the seizure of half of Mexico. And that outcome was viewed as restrained at the time. After a brutal invasion, America’s most avaricious imperialists hoped to grab the entire country. “It is a gorgeous prospect, this annexation of all Mexico,” proclaimed the New York Herald. “Like the Sabine virgins, she will soon learn to love her ravishers.”
Today would be a good day to start having the conversation on how to get the US out of the cycle of endless wars…..
Consider it strange. The U.S. has been fighting in Somalia on and off (mostly on) since the early 1990s. (Who, of a certain age, doesn’t remember the “Black Hawk Down” fiasco?) Almost 30 years later, at a time when the U.N. secretary-general, supported by dozens of countries, has reasonably enough called for a global ceasefire so that humanity can refocus on “the true fight of our lives,” bringing Covid-19 under control, the US is still at war there. At a time when American naval vessels are turning into pandemic hot zones and the man in the White House has repeatedly denounced this country’s “ridiculous endless wars,” the Pentagon’s war in Somalia against an insurgent terror group by the name of al-Shabaab is actually escalating. No kidding.
Of course, if you were only attending to the mainstream media, filled with little but coronaviral news (and even more viral news about our president), you wouldn’t know it. You might hardly know that the US military was involved in Somalia at all. You would have to read TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse’s recent investigative piece at the Intercept to discover that US air strikes in that country have risen radically in recent times. In the Obama years, from 2009-2017, the US carried out a total of 36 such strikes in Somalia. According to US Africa Command, by early April 2020, only four months into this devastating year, 39 such strikes had already been launched, essentially ensuring that the annual bounty of destruction there will top last year’s record 63 strikes. And mind you, at this moment, Covid-19 is beginning to tear a path of death through that country’s capital, Mogadishu.
Spend a few moments remembering those brave souls that went to war and never returned……
May we see an end to the violence and the obscenity that is WAR.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”