The Myth of War Being Patriotic
“The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war”
Bob Dylan, God on our Side
May 28, 2018. Today is Memorial Day. Let us not forget the sacrifices made by soldiers and honor them by bringing an end to war so that no more blood sacrifices have to be made to the demonic gods of the military industrial complex.
Note: Most of this was written about a year ago. Since then, the US has bombed Syria again, this time with the help of France and the UK. Like the previous strike, this one was also symbolic and helped only the military industrial complex. On May 24, 2018, the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of passing HR 5515, a military spending bill that allocates 717 billion dollars for 2019. If this bill is passed by the Senate, it will set a new record high for defense spending. Most of this money will end up in the hands of the military industrial complex.
Every war we see the same propaganda. Essentially it boils down to if we don’t support the war, we are being un-American. The other side is evil and America is the “good guys.” Unfortunately, this is seldom the actual case.
Fighting to defend our freedoms is a myth. None of the current conflicts the United States is fighting have anything to do with defense. They have everything to do with making massive profits for the military industrial complex. The American citizens are paying taxes to fund these wars. This tax money could be used to help fix the many domestic issues that face the United States today – such as healthcare or education.
When Trump decided to carry out his tomahawk missile attack on Syria in 2017, the media took extra time to cover it. Trump said the following, ““We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world, we pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail. Good night, and God bless America and the entire world.” Observer This is the typical line – God, justice, and the American way. The way toward peace does not involve more bombs.
The media responded, Fareed Zakaria said on CNN when asked what changed with the attack, “I Think Donald Trump Became President Of The United States.” Elliot Abrams wrote in The Weekly Standard, “But that 75-day break-in period has just ended, and the Trump administration can truly be said to have started only now. The president has been chief executive since January 20, but this week he acted also as Commander in Chief. And more: He finally accepted the role of leader of the Free World. “ Weekly Standard Apparently nothing says leader of the free world like dropping bombs.
This attack had little to no actual impact on the conflict in Syria. It wasted a huge amount of money that went straight to Raytheon’s profit margin and was in essence simply a publicity stunt by the president. The media neglected to point this out – Brian Williams of MSNBC went so far as to say, “They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making a brief flight.” Washington Post There is nothing beautiful about war. Together with Comcast, General Electric owns NBC. As recently as July 19, 2017, General Electric was given a defense contract worth 409 million dollars. Reuters When taken in this light, Brian Williams’ remarks on the beauty of the tomahawk strikes make more sense. The mainstream media is about profit, not about unbiased reporting.
William Cohen, a former Defense Secretary, when interviewed on CNBC said, “I think the American people want him to act as he did last night.” This is the story that they want us to believe. They want to think that the Americans support such displays of military might. This attack on Syria was framed as a retaliation for an unproven chemical attack theoretically made by Assad against his own people. Yet in the United States, many are dying from lack of affordable healthcare. Thousands of United States veterans are homeless. Instead of helping solve this problems at home, nearly every day the United States is dropping bombs in multiple countries that are resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. These attacks are not publicized like the tomahawk strike in Syria because they do not fit the framework of avenging evil. If the United States does not come out as the good guys, the media is not nearly as interested in covering it. This is nothing new, the coverage of the Gulf War in the 90s was the same story. I recommend reading the entire article by Norman Solomon on this phenomenon where he notes that, “Less than 1 percent of the U.S. sources were anti-war on the CBS Evening News during the Iraq war’s first three weeks.” Norman Solomon
While the media was busy praising these strikes, a more appropriate response was given by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard,“This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to the death of more civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia. “ While there have been no more strikes on the scale of the tomahawk attack, the United States has continued with a high level of bombing. Since Trump took office, bombs have been dropped in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan. This is continuing America’s legacy of war. It doesn’t matter who is president, bombs are being continually dropped. Obama was dropping bombs on all of these same countries. Trump has just increased the number of bombs being dropped.
None of these bombings will make America safer. None of them will protect our freedoms. Every single one of them will make a profit for the military industrial complex. These wars are not patriotic fights for truth, justice, and the American way – although the American way is one of war, so perhaps one out of the three. The United States has a disturbing history of needless wars and it is long past time that they end. What Eisenhower said still rings true today, “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.” Presidency Project Sadly, peace will remain out of sight as long as the military industrial complex rules this country.
We still face the same problems that Major General Smedley Butler wrote about almost a century ago, “Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.” Archive.org Sadly, this democracy has not been well preserved. The interests of the corporate elite now run the country. It is no longer a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Innocent people are needlessly dying to bombs dropped by our country for no other purpose than corporate profit. In a sad testament to this, the US Senate approved an unprecedented 700 billion dollar defense budget in a vote of 89-9. This is not the will of the people but rather that of the military industrial complex. Even the name defense budget is a misnomer. Much of this money is being spent on aggressive actions, not on defending our soil. The United States maintains bases in over 70 countries. A total of 177 countries have US troops in them. These are not necessary for defense. This is imperialism on a global scale. The sun never sets on the American military industrial complex – it is time for that change for the better of the country and of the world.