Note: I mean no disrespect by posting this today. I had considered posting it tomorrow so as not to seem disrespectful as I did with The Day After Memorial Day two years ago, but I've decided it would have more impact today. I don't want to offend or disrespect anyone but I do want to shake people up and get them to examine their most deeply held notions about war and the military as I believe them to be, all too often, the product of the most profound propaganda and cultural conditioning. And I believe that this poisoning of our minds is killing us. Again, no disrespect intended.
What could be sadder than a general without a war? We have 42 four star generals or admirals in the US...and that's just the top dogs, the four stars. There are tons more of the lesser generals. How many of them do you suppose would care to serve their entire careers during peace time? None of them is my guess. So from within the ranks of the military itself there is significant pressure for going to war. Call it the 'when you have a hammer the whole world is a nail' principle.
When you add in the pressures from defense contractors and various war profiteers, the pressure becomes significant to the point that any excuse for war will do...and it's killing us. Congress just voted another $600 Billion to continue the two shameful and unnecessary wars we have going, at a time when much of America is in desperate need. All across the nation teachers are losing their jobs, people are losing their homes and millions go unemployed. Yet we can spend a trillion dollars on two crappy wars and are preparing to start a third in Pakistan. And Iran is probably not far behind. It's beyond disgusting, it's disgraceful.
Top Defense Contractors Spent $27 Million Lobbying At Time Of Afghan Surge Announcement
The ten largest defense contractors in the nation spent more than $27 million lobbying the federal government in the last quarter of 2009, according to a review of recently-filed lobbying records.
The massive amount of money used to influence the legislative process came as the White House announced it would ramp up military activity in Afghanistan and Congress considered appropriations bills to pay for that buildup. All told, these ten companies, the largest revenue earners in the industry, spent roughly $7.2 million more lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2009 (October through December) than in the three months prior.
Such an increase in lobbying expenditures is partly a reflection of just how profitable the business of waging war can be. Each of these companies earned billions of dollars in defense contracts this past year. As the U.S. ramps up its military activities overseas, and the army is stretched thin by other ventures, it stands to reason that the contracts won't dry up any time soon.
These war profiteers are stealing from the rest of us. Let us not be duped into cheering on this madness.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
I saw an old Vietnam veteran interviewed on a local newscast last night. He choked as a tear rolled down his face and he was barely able to say, "So many sacrificed for our freedoms. Freedom isn't free."
I know his heart was in the right place and his feelings were certainly real. What old soldier doesn't want to believe that his comrades died for a noble cause or that their own actions were righteous and honorable? But that doesn't change the fact that nobody's freedom was preserved or defended in that nightmare in Vietnam, no more than it has been in Iraq or Afghanistan. However noble the motives of the individual soldiers may or may not be, there is nothing noble about any of these wars. They are pure tragedy. Nothing more than senseless slaughter on a massive scale. That's all war is...murder and mayhem, a terrible waste of precious lives and precious resources.
It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood...War is hell.
General William Tecumseh Sherman
So now we are called upon to honor the sacrifices of fallen heroes. I submit that the real heroes too often go unsung, the conscientious objectors, the peace makers and so on. With all due respect, not all fallen soldiers are heroes. Some of them are just naive kids caught up in something evil and deadly that they don't begin to understand. That's not to take anything away from those who served or from the real heroes. They do exist...but they're rare.
So this Memorial Day as we remember our fallen soldiers, let us also remember the innocent bystanders, civilians, children and others who also pay the greatest sacrifice so that we may revel in 'victory.' Let us remember the widows, the orphans and those crippled for life or tortured to the point of madness. And let us remember the costs, spiritual and otherwise, of engaging in such enormous, unspeakable evil. There is, finally, nothing honorable about war at all.
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
A Warrior's Poem: "Murder--So Foul"
I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise,
The strangest thing happened to me
I began to cry.
He was so young, so very young
And Fear was in his eyes,
He had left his home in Germany
And came to Holland to die.
And what about his Family
were they not praying for him?
Thank God they couldn't see their son
And the man that had murdered him.
I knelt beside him
And held his hand--
I begged his forgiveness
Did he understand?
It was the War
And he was the enemy
If I hadn't shot him
He would have shot me.
I saw he was dying
And I called him "Brother"
But he gasped out one word
And that word was "Mother."
I shot a man yesterday
And much to [my] surprise
A part of me died with Him
When Death came to close
Sgt. James Lenihan, 104th Infantry Division, U.S. Army