The Blinding Fog of War

Exclusive to STR

June 1, 2009

The lies continue. After the fog of another Memorial Day has cleared, when death, destruction and suffering is glorified and rationalized, two supreme lies remain in the public sphere:

Lie #1: The dead men and women, whose graves you stand over, died for your freedom.

These folks did not die for your freedom--they died to maintain the power of the US government over its subjects and to project its power towards other governments that don't follow its hegemonic direction. No one now in the gun sights of the US military is any direct threat to you or me. They are merely individuals brave enough to stand up against a rogue, power-mad government intent on world domination. They are conveniently created 'enemies' to keep the native populace alarmed and motivated. They are manufactured diversions to distract you from the reality that the US government, itself, is the true, genuine threat to your freedom.

Lie #2: War is sometimes necessary to defend those freedoms and we should feel fortunate that these men and women were willing to die for them.

War is the ultimate human failure. War (particularly aggressive war) means all reason, composure, diplomacy and common sense have been rejected on the bet that killing and destruction will create the desired result.

The fact is that war cannot occur without willing participants. As I have often said, tyrants without armies are impotent. And each war results in less freedom, not more or the same. Only when individuals give up their humanity and principles to kill for the king can the obscene drama of war begin. Only when the state witnesses the fact that individuals are willing to surrender their benevolence and decency to fight, kill and die whenever ordered can the state feel confident to attack still more liberties that individuals hold dear.

I have no problem with people taking a day to remember family and friends slaughtered by the beast of war. What bothers me is the patriotic adornment, state glorification and celebration that accompanies a day better spent in quiet reflection, grieving and repentance. Do not extol their deaths as brave sacrifices but rather ponder the lessons learned from their tragic mistakes. Do not preach the bloody, slavish, civic religion of Capitol Hill but rather meditate on the timeless, always-relevant wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount.

Feeding the empire with your life and surrendered freedom will only bring tyranny; a tyranny that may be impossible to overcome.


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Columns on STR: 22

Roger Young is a freelance photographer in Texas and has a blog.