War: Who"s to Blame?

On the surface, war appears to be caused by evil tyrants who want to "take over the world." Adolf Hitler was placed in this category. Then we had the Red threat, which was credited with wanting to turn the world into a Communist gulag. Now, we're told, the reason for the current war in Iraq is to defeat the "terrorists" who hate us because they're jealous of our jeans, our wealth, and our "freedom."

Looking under the surface, we see the lies involved in all the excuses for war. Regarding the Red threat, the conflicts and wars we conducted against the Communists were, in reality, just money-making exercises on both sides of the capitalist/communist coin. Not only did they produce profits for the upper echelons of their respective societies, they also served to entrench the idea of dependence on the government in the minds of individuals.

Regarding the current war in Iraq, we were told by Bush and gang that the war had to be started and won because Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but Iraq was also working closely with terrorist groups like al Qaeda. President Bush talked of "mushroom clouds" and other ominous images. It's now common knowledge that these statements were lies. Iraq had no WMD and no ties to terrorist groups. This would make it seem that Bush is to blame for the war.

Recently, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission and advisor to George W. Bush, said the war in Iraq was started for Israel's security. Should we then blame Israel or its powerful lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and/or the politicians they control in Washington for the current war?

In my opinion, the blame rests with those who do the actual fighting of the war. The truth of the old anti-war slogan of the '60s and '70s, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?", is as real as politicians are corrupt. A common belief that shows itself throughout society is, even if you think the war is wrong, you must show support for those fighting it. Why??? Where's the reason in this belief? What would happen if all the military personnel in Iraq mutinied? The war would be over! What if they collectively said, "I don't want to kill other people, instead, I want to be at home taking care of my family, getting an education, fishing, hunting, reading, writing, being creative and having fun!"

I know from experience that it's possible to rebel against military authority. When I was 17, in 1973, I joined the US Marine Corps. I was in the infantry and stationed on Okinawa. The injustice of military life soon became very evident. In response, I began to refuse to follow orders. One time we were standing at parade rest at a baseball diamond waiting for a colonel to arrive by helicopter. It started to pour rain. The officers and some of the NCOs took shelter in one of the dugouts. They stood in their dry, comfortable surroundings just looking at us standing at parade rest in the heavy rain. Angry at the lack of leadership this displayed, I broke ranks and went into the other dugout, followed by about 15 or 20 other Marines.

The injustice in the military today in Iraq is outlandish. Not only do the politicians and military brass send Americans into harms way, they lie to them about how long they'll be in combat! The greedy and incompetent morons who started the war and who are seeing it carried out continually move back the date that thousands of soldiers and Marines are to come home. It means nothing to them. In fact, the politicians and government bureaucrats hold the common soldier and Marine in such low regard, despite their empty praises to the contrary, that neocon and war pig Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz doesn't even know the number of dead Americans!

If military personnel would break ranks today, the war would be over. Personal responsibility is what life is based on. We need to break the chain of herd instinct that the government and religion continually reinforces. It's up to each of us as individuals to do this.

The soldiers and Marines in Iraq have a natural duty, as all of us do, to do what is right. Now that it has been proven that the war was started based on lies and misinformation, it's the duty of each and every one of the soldiers and Marines to openly refuse to follow orders in the execution of the war. Out of self-respect, the individual Marine and soldier needs to stop being played for a fool by the politicians. Both Bush and Cheney evaded the war in Vietnam, so why should Americans blindly follow these shirkers into a war they would never fight in themselves?

Military mutinies have been successful in the past. One such successful mutiny took place towards the end of WWI in Germany. The Navy high command wanted to have one last giant sea battle with the British. Unfortunately, for the egotists in the navy command structure, the individual sailors refused to perform their assigned tasks. They mutinied. The ships did not move out of Kiel harbor and the battle did not take place. By refusing to follow orders, they saved the lives of their children's fathers, their parents' sons, and their wives' husbands!

The fact that the politicians and bureaucrats never cease praising the forces on the ground, who are doing their dirty work, demonstrates they recognize they wouldn't be able to play their deadly game without the grunts. The question for the grunts is, do I want to play this deadly game based on the lies and deception of the politicians and their ilk? Is it worth it to myself and to my family, and is it the right thing to do? Of course, the answer to all three questions is a resounding no!

A sign of maturity is to admit when you are wrong and to change course. Following proven liars into battle is wrong. No one makes the individual do it. The alternative to doing what is wrong is to do what is right. In the case of the military, if you refuse to do the wrong thing, they will do their utmost to make you pay a price. But the peace of mind of doing what is right is worth it.

An example of someone standing up to the government for what they thought was right is found in the three-time world heavyweight champion Cassius Clay, now known as Mohammed Ali. He thought the war in Vietnam was wrong. When his number came up in the draft, he refused to go. The government then put him in jail. But he did the right thing. He took the moral responsibility as an individual and did what was right. What would have happened if all the people in the military had done the same? There would be over a million Vietnamese and over 50,000 Americans who would still be alive, who were instead wasted in that unnecessary war. Also, the tens of thousands of physically and emotionally wounded would not have suffered their unnecessary pain and problems. And just think of all the children those who died unnecessarily would have had, and all the good those children could potentially have contributed to the world!

If enough military people refuse to do what is wrong, the politicians, the great overwhelming majority of which lack the courage to face combat themselves, but who never tire of sending others into combat, would also lack the manpower to enforce the punishment of those people who disobey their orders. The war would be over.

As the number of dead Americans continues to climb above 750 in the unnecessary war in Iraq, individuals must ask themselves what is the right thing to do, and then act accordingly.

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Robert L. Johnson's picture
Columns on STR: 92

Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com.  He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  He wrote the introduction to The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and also writes for Examiner.com.