Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

A Veteran’s Gaza Stream-of-Consciousness: Just What’ve I Been Fighting For?

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2018


It’s 5:55 AM and I wake up for one more of my last few days in the army – the end of middling soldier’s career – here at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The BBC (I refuse to watch mainstream American news in 2018) is ablaze with the latest reports from the Gaza Strip – some 60 more unarmed Palestinians massacred along the border. Ever so typically, not a single Israeli soldier or citizen was killed.

…The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) make a mockery of the broadly accepted jus in Bello strictures for justice in warfare: proportionality and discrimination. One must, to cohere with basic morals and international law, strive to kill only combatants and use only so much force as is necessary to remove a threat. One look at the video speaks for itself: Israeli troops think they’re above the law, any law. Guess who else has acted with such disdain for the principles of proportionality and discrimination: Hamas. The irony is lost on many Israelis…and Americans.

All the while, a U.S. president is silent, an American populace is implicated.

Washington, and the entire US machine will fall in line and back Israel. It always does.

Why not? We did this, we were accessories, and we were complicit

In this struggle the US blatantly took sides. We – the taxpayers – fed the Saudi and Israeli beasts. There has been funding and excuses aplenty for these two “partners.”

In the Saudis, we back an intolerant theocracy, one of the last absolute monarchies on earth. They’re murderous thugs, but they’re our murderous thugs. Yemeni civilians and Shia dissidents be damned!

Ironically, the US also empowers the far-right, ostensibly democratic, government of Israel. In its last dubious and deceitful move, our “beacon of freedom” recognized Jerusalem as the capitol of the Jews, and only the Jews. The move was one sided, probably illegal (UN resolutions call for a division and “final settlement” of Jerusalem’s status) and helped fuel the latest wave of hopeless Palestinian disenchantment…

And so it is: when the IDF shoots innocents they place US troops and civilians in the crosshairs. Our innocence is suspect…

What I do know is this: the United States of America – whether ruled by “liberal” Barack Obama or vaguely “conservative” Donald Trump – can no longer even pretend to be a fair arbiter for peace in the Holy Land. We, all of us, are complicit in the totality of America’s ill-fated, increasingly immoral crusade in the Mideast. We are the air wing of the Saudis’ unfolding genocidein Yemen; advisors and logisticians to an illegitimate, venal, corrupt government in Afghanistan; creators of a veritable monster who will now rule Iraq; and, of course, arms dealer and big brother shielding the sins of an apartheid regime in Israel…

17 long years have passed and my wars are finally in the rearview. What, besides ushering in a new set of decadent authoritarians and warlords, can I claim to have accomplished? Qui bono – for whose benefit did I serve and grieve and lose so much? Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the American military-industrial complex, that’s who. It’s a racket.

I’m a victim of a marked moral injury. And I’m not alone…

Be seeing you



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