How can we best honor the dead veterans on Memorial Day?
Memorial Day under its current incarnation was established by federal law in 1967 and set to be observed on the last Monday in May.
It’s the day the feds designated to honor our war dead, though most Americans think of it mostly as the traditional beginning of summer and a day to spend at the beach, the lake or the park barbecuing and relaxing. I suspect few people spend more than a minute or two reflecting on the war dead, and those who do probably lost a loved one in the last several years. It’s understandable that the day would have a deeper meaning for them because their loss is still a raw and open wound.
Few people stop to consider that very few of America’s years since its founding have been spent free of war. By some accounts, America has been at war 93 percent of its existence, and only 21 calendar years have been spent free of conflict. The longest stretch without war was the period 1935 through 1940.
Yet in all those 220 years that America has been at war, none of the wars were started because America was attacked or under threat of attack.
“But Bob,” you say, “what about Pearl Harbor and 9/11?”
I realize that conventional wisdom holds that Pearl Harbor was an unprovoked and surprise attack by the Japanese on our military bases in Hawaii, and that 9/11 was a surprise attack by al-Qaida operatives from plans devised by Osama bin Ladin and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but most of what you’ve been told about that is untrue. (For more on that read, “The Pearl Harbor story is fake news, and so is much of the news about U.S. wars,” and, “9/11 questions (almost) nobody’s asking.”)
Modern wars are rarely begun in response to existential threats, regardless of what the politicians and the media tell you. And America’s wars are no exception. I want to candidly remind you here that governments — all governments — need crisis, no matter how much lip service they give to the idea of “peace.” Crisis is a well-known Machiavellian strategy to gain and solidify political power and persuade public opinion.
Crisis provides the stage where governments can control all sides. At least they can arrange events to “naturally” unfold. Governments must have scapegoats and phony enemies. The people must have perceived threats to their security, and so naturally government is there to “protect.”
Governments must have enemies to the extent that they finance them. There can be no military budgets without perceived enemies.
The U.S. has been making war in the Middle East continuously for nigh on 27 years. In addition to the lives lost and maimed, it’s cost trillions of dollars and led to a host of liberty-stealing laws.
A whole generation of Americans has been raised to adulthood and beyond who have not seen peace in their lifetimes. And despite these constant wars, we are no closer to peace now than we were when George H.W. Bush made open war on Saddam Hussein. In fact, peace is, if anything, farther away. No longer do we have military people (and/or military contractors) fighting and dying just in Afghanistan (which has gone on for 16 years) and Iraq (14 years), they are – or have recently been – in Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Algeria. And there’s saber rattling about war with North Korea and Russia. On Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelley said the terror threat is so bad that some people “would never leave the house” if they knew the truth.
There was no threat of Islamists attacking the U.S. prior to the American buildup for Bush Sr.’s Iraq war, nor was the FBI creating terrorists then as they are now. So these wars that have led to thousands of dead American service people, and countless more maimed physically and emotionally, have at the same time have led to a less-safe, not more, safe America.
Until we understand that U.S. wars are not fought for defense of America or to protect our liberties but are fought to enrich the globalists, the banksters and the military industrial complex, we will continue to see our freedoms eroded and our wealth stolen from us and our soldier-children killed or maimed.
So let’s honor our war dead by making sure we don’t make any more of them in wars of empire or wars of aggression. And let’s honor them further by bringing our military people home and closing down our 600+ bases around the world.