Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Gratitude: False and Real

 As per U.S. custom, we are today inundated in mindless speeches and inane editorials praising U.S. soldiers who allegedly died "to preserve U.S. liberty" at home.  Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

To begin with, the U.S. slaughters in Iraq and Afghanistan have done nothing to protect U.S. liberty.   In fact, quite the contrary.  The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are directly related to the destruction of U.S. civil liberties via the Patriot Act, the use of military commissions instead of civilian courts, institutionalized torture, preventive detention, the jailing of whistle-blowers, and Obama's incredible insistence that he has the right to murder U.S. citizens anywhere in the world on his say-so alone.  

We should stop mouthing idiotic slogans romanticizing war. Congress has sole authority to declare war, a power it has not exercised since WWII. None of the dozens of U.S. wars and CIA interventions since then have had any legitimacy, and all of them represent a deliberately engineered decline of  American liberty. So the premise of establishment editorials ostensibly praising the troops is radically false.

In fact, it should be obvious by now that those who send young people to fight illegal wars don't "support the troops" in any meaningful sense at all.  What kind of "support" is it to force soldiers to illegally invade other countries, placing them in direct opposition to occupied populations that far outnumber them, and have every reason to loathe their presence?  The young men and women put in that position do not realize until far too late that they are being treated with cynical contempt by the very men and women who incessantly praise them as "heroes."  If they kill innocent people, as they almost inevitably must, they must kill conscience as well, or else suffer the grotesque realization that all the platitudes about martial virtue are simply an elaborate rationalization of mass murder.  On the other hand, if they  recognize the claims of innocence, they place their own lives and the lives of their fellow soldiers in extreme danger, as an occupied population is legally and morally justified in using violence to expel invaders.  So in both cases innocents die - occupied civilians or soldiers conscripted by poverty -  only the proportion dead from each group varies.  Is it any wonder that U.S. military suicides have hit an all-time high?

If establishment elites want to express gratitude to the troops, let them pay what honest gratitude demands: (1) A lifetime income for the many soldiers who return unable to function normally ever again (2) Unlimited free medical and psychological treatment for the physically wounded and emotionally traumatized (3) A permanent guaranteed job at a living wage for every returning soldier capable of fulfilling the demands of employment.

Surely, this would be but modest compensation for men and women who are routinely placed "in harm's way," and are often called upon to "make the ultimate sacrifice?"


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