"People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal 'families' — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob." ~ Jaron Lanier
A Memorial Day Gift of Reality
Watching the news yesterday and hearing from the politicians, veterans, and the person on the street that Memorial Day is to show thanks to all the US service men and women who gave their lives so we can be free, I wondered how they can actually believe that. And I wonder how many of the fallen believed they were fighting so Americans can be free.
I'm sure many young people who go off to war do so because they're still reeling from the waves of media and government hype that promotes war. Coming from a very 'patriotic' family, my father was in the USMC for WW II and Korea, and his father was in the US Army in WW I and won the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery under fire. I joined the USMC when I was 17, just months after they stopped sending new troops to Vietnam in 1973. I was so brainwashed, I sincerely believed we were in Vietnam to keep us free, and I was hoping that things would change and I'd get a chance to demonstrate my patriotism in combat.
As close as I got was Okinawa. Talking to Marines who had recently been in Vietnam, I soon realized my ideas were all wrong. They told me it was a bad joke. The grunt with his ass in the grass didn't care about fighting Communism any more than Nixon cares about honesty. All he wanted to do was get himself and his buddies home in one piece. They said Vietnam was great for the career officers because it allowed them to 'get their cards punched' with combat time, which helps them advance their careers. And some officers didn't even see combat, but they still got their card punched for being in country.
Many military people do believe what the politicians tell them, that they're fighting for freedom. But are they?
Currently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are not. The reason we're in Afghanistan is because for the last two decades plus, the US politicians/government have been sending billions and billions of dollars worth of powerful, deadly weapons to Israel. Israel has been using these weapons to slaughter Muslim men, women and children. After two decades of this, the Muslims have struck us back. The Islamic group that attacked us twice at the World Trade Center and once at the Pentagon, Al Qaeda, was based in Afghanistan. To strike back at Al Qaeda, we invaded Afghanistan. BUT, if we had not been blindly supplying Israel with all of those deadly weapons, we would not have been attacked by Al Qaeda. Balance is vital in all things. Remember when Dean was attacked for saying he wanted a balanced Middle East foreign policy for the US? When it comes to Israel, reason is thrown out the door!
In James Bamford's excellent book, A Pretext for War, it's revealed that the demands of the Islamic bombers who tried to blow up the World Trade Center the first time included 'Stop all military, economical, and political aid to Israel.' Almost a decade later, that key demand was still key to Osama bin Laden's demands in his declaration of a DEFENSIVE Jihad against the US. And both were and are virtually suppressed by the mainstream media and the government.
The war in Iraq has strong ties to our assistance to Israel in their killing of Islamic people in the Middle East. It has the added features of being started, not for freedom, but to help George W. Bush win reelection and for Israel's security. With the presidential race being so close, he wanted to win over every group of people he possibly could, no matter how small that group was. By starting the war in Iraq, which makes Israel much more secure, he was winning Jewish votes for his reelection.
We owe it to US military people, and to young people who may be thinking of joining the military, not to let them down. We need to let them know why the US is in this mess and why many very good people are dying in these UNNECESSARY wars. Freedom has nothing at all to do with it.