Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

"Come, Let Us Celebrate Our Monsters

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ninety years ago today, on November 11, 1918, World War I finally ended.

Of course it wasn't called that at the time; it was called The Great War.

How could anyone have known it would the first of many?

Who could have guessed that barely twenty years would pass before the beginning of the next one?

The day when peace finally arrived was given the name Armistice Day. Thereafter, it was commemorated every year with solemn ceremonies and sacred vows of "Never Again".

In many English-speaking countries, November 11th is now called Remembrance Day, and it's still commemorated every year with solemn ceremonies and sacred vows.

But in the USA, November 11th is now called Veterans Day, and its primary function is to glorify the President, even though he's a deserter.

It's secondary function is to glorify the fools and killers who put more stock in shameless and transparent propaganda than in their own consciences, or who had no consciences to begin with; who cared more for obvious lies than they did for humanity, or who hid gleefully behind those lies to enjoy the thrill of killing, without any legal consequences; who claimed to be Christians but somehow managed to ignore all the most important Commandments, but still believed their Faith in Christ would see them though the pearly gates no matter how many innocent people they slaughtered; and who now suffer the inevitable consequences (though they suffer far less than their innocent victims).

In civilized countries on November 11th they mourn their dead. In America we worship hired killers.

What should be a day of somber reflection becomes an endurance test: Can you survive 24 hours of it without retching? I can't. I never could. And every year it gets worse and worse.

Just once in my life I would like to hear the following conversation:
Do you support the war?

No. I don't support the killing of innocent people for any reason at all.

Do you at least support the troops?

No. I condemn killers-for-hire no matter who hired them.
Just once!

But no! Instead people say "We don't support the war, but we do support the troops!" ... as if that made any sense at all.

You want to know why our government treats us like fools? Because we are, that's why.

We might as well say "I hate plumbing but I support the plumbers."

We might as well say "I hate torture but I support the torturers."

If we can't even obtain that much clarity in our own minds, how can we expect anything better for our children?

And speaking of our children ...

How many times have you heard a grieving mother say: "I gave them my sweet little boy and they turned him into a monster!"

Just once I would like to hear the response: "Well of course they did! What did you think you were doing, sending him off to finishing school?"

Officially, there are more than four thousand Americans dead from a nasty little war of choice, started by a nasty little president we didn't choose. Unofficially I keep hearing whispers that perhaps the total is more like twenty or thirty thousand.

Our government admits there are something like thirty thousand Iraqis dead from the same cause. But reliable reports indicate the number is much greater than a million.

This is just from one war, one war of choice, one war among many. All over the world, decade after decade, the USA has inflicted similar suffering in countless countries. In every case, the reasons we were told justified the war turned out to be false. So why were we fighting? Why were we killing and maiming innocent people?

For oil. For bananas. For cocaine. For aluminum. For coffee. For opium. For overseas bases. For international status. And for more oil ... always more, always more, always oil ...

In solemn remembrance of 1918, it's time to open our eyes to the simple fact that this has been America's most important "contribution" to world civilization: Death and destruction, murder and mayhem, and more grief than anyone can possibly endure -- or even imagine.

When will it end? When will our sweet little boys stop signing up to become monsters?

The song was wrong. It should have gone like this:

Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be soldiers.

[A slightly different version of this essay appeared in this space exactly one year ago. A slightly different version of that essay appeared in this space exactly two years ago. When will we ever learn?]

Democracy Now!: On Veterans Day, 15 Vets of Iraq and Afghanistan Face Trial for Antiwar Protest


Today is the day that we remember the victims of those who profit from war: Remembering that War is a Racket on Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom), also known as Poppy Day (Malta and South Africa) and Armistice Day (France, New Zealand, and many other Commonwealth countries; and the original name of the day internationally) "is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918.”

How unfortunate that we have a need for such a day, especially since “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” So stated Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, the most decorated Marine in US history.

Today, and every day, we should remember why we have sent our children to die, and to kill. We should remember that war is meant to consolidate assets for the oligarchy. We should also remember that the majority of casualties of every War have been civilians. That not only soldiers, but countless innocents have been caught in the line of fire between warring corporations to increase the wealth of the privileged few.

One of the best summations of war that I have ever found is given by Major General Butler in his book, WAR IS A RACKET:

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

The above book should be mandatory reading and part of every curriculum, in every school, in every country around the world.

Today we should remember that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in over 1.2 million civilian deaths as well as creating over 4 million refugees. We should remember that our present wars are expanding beyond the boundaries of containment.

We should also remember our recent history and the legacy of war, maybe then we can prevent it from repeating itself. The following websites contain images that will be a part of our history for future generations to come, after all what better way to remember history then with photos:

- Hiroshima, the pictures they didn't want us to see and why

- Photo journal of a German soldier on the Eastern Front

- The Iraq War as a Trophy Photo

- "War against Terrorism" in Afghanistan

- A Vietnam Photo Essay

- The War to End All Wars: World War I

And with all wars there is genocide, so we must also remember the end result of war:

- The Canadian Genocide of Aboriginal Peoples

- Native American Genocide in the United States

- Armenian Genocide

- Rwandan Genocide

- Genocide in progress: Darfur

The above is just a sample of our deeds and why it is important to have a ‘Remembrance Day’. But today should not be just about our children that we have turned into killers, it should also be about the innocent civilian victims created due to our ignorance as to the true cause and cost of war. We have sacrificed millions so that we can remain apathetic.

We should remember that war is neither about honor, duty, justice or peace. War is about money, greed, power, and death and destruction. It is about sacrificing our children to propagate fear.

We should also remember that we have the power to stop Preemptive Wars of Aggression that are being waged in our name and with our children’s innocence and blood - after all, there are over 6.7 billion of us... for now.

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

Cost of the War in Iraq

click to enlarge - source