MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘war’

No War With China – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2023

The bigger picture for all of this is, of course, the geopolitical great game which Washington sees as a zero-sum challenge. Strategists in Washington have made it abundantly clear that the American imperative for pursuing its ambitions for global power and dominance is to prevent the rise of Russia and China and a multipolar world order. . . It is therefore logical, if not execrable, that Washington appears to be accelerating on a collision course against Russia and China.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2023/02/lew-rockwell/no-war-with-china/

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

You might think that provoking nuclear war with Russia would be enough for brain-dead Biden and his gang of neocon controllers. But it isn’t. They want nuclear war with China too. The Chinese government regards Taiwan as part of China, but it hasn’t tried to take it over militarily. Biden decided this isn’t good enough. He warned the Chinese that if they use force against Taiwan, the US will use force against them. This risks nuclear war.

Michael D. Swaine, an authority of Chinese-American relations who has advised the State Department, explains what is going on in an article that was published in The Diplomat, January 23: “The past year has seen a significant escalation in tension between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, with many strategists warning that China seems poised to invade the island. In order to preserve U.S. interests, they argue, Washington must rely primarily, if not entirely, on military deterrence.

But this strategy would almost certainly backfire. Rather than preventing a war with China over Taiwan, a policy centered on military deterrence could spark one.

Those who advocate an approach based almost exclusively on deterrence believe China aspires to replace the United States as the dominant regional power in Asia through largely military means. Seizing Taiwan by force or intimidation, they say, is a necessary first step toward subjugating other Asian nations, including U.S. allies like Japan. They believe that once it has gained broader military access to the Pacific by controlling Taiwan and dominating other nearby powers, China could then go on to threaten Hawaii and the continental United States.

According to this analysis, the only option for the United States is to double down on its military presence in the region, push its allies to greatly increase their defense spending and support for the U.S. stance, and move closer to Taiwan both politically and militarily, making it a de facto security ally in Asia. The clear implication is that Taiwan, as a critical strategic location, must never be unified with China.

But this approach to the Taiwan situation is based on a very dubious analysis of both Taiwan’s purported strategic value and China’s regional intentions.

In fact, despite the views of some American and Chinese defense analysts today, historically, neither Washington nor Beijing have ever regarded Taiwan as a key strategic linchpin in the region. For China, reunification with Taiwan is above all else an issue of territorial integrity and national pride; as such, it is critical to the legitimacy of the Communist Party regime in the eyes of its people. For the United States, Taiwan is linked to Washington’s credibility as a loyal supporter of a democratic friend and an ally to others such as Japan and South Korea.

From a purely military perspective, it is highly problematic to assert that control over Taiwan would give Beijing decisive leverage over Japan, South Korea, or other Asian countries, much less the United States. And there is no clear evidence to show that China believes its security depends on militarily defeating or intimidating its Asian neighbors.

Moreover, while some Asian countries are certainly hedging against China’s growing military power and the danger of a Sino-American conflict by increasing their defense spending, the region as a whole is more worried about economic issues such as recovering from the pandemic, overcoming recession, and promoting sustainable growth through continued close economic ties with both the United States and China.

For the United States, a deterrence policy predicated on keeping Taiwan separate from China for strategic reasons is totally incompatible with its one China policy, whereby Washington opposes any unilateral move toward Taiwan independence, maintains strategic ambiguity regarding its defense of Taiwan, and remains open to the possibility of peaceful, uncoerced unification. This position remains the core of the understanding reached in 1972, which formed the basis of the normalization of Sino-American relations, in which the U.S. acknowledged the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China while Beijing stressed that peaceful unification would be a top priority of its cross-strait policy.

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NATO’s ‘war against Russia’ inches ‘closer to direct conflict’

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2023

After all, it is mainly Ukrainians paying the price of the “war against Russia” fueled from afar.

https://mate.substack.com/p/natos-war-against-russia-inches-closer

Aaron Maté

(US M1 Abrams tanks at a training site in Germany, 2018. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sharon Matthias / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Since the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has repeated a mantra on behalf of his NATO partners: “We are not at war with Russia.”

Nearly one year in, that notion has officially been dispelled.  

“We are fighting a war against Russia,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said this week.

Baerbock was trying to assuage NATO allies’ frustration over German reluctance to send Leopard 2 tanks into Ukraine. She can now claim vindication. In a reversal of its initial position, the German government has announced it that will deliver Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army.

To overcome German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s jitters, the White House engaged in an about-face of its own, approving the shipment of 31 US-made M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Scholz had insisted on conditioning any German tanks to a similar US commitment. Up until this week, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin was “dead set against providing” the M1s, and declared there to be “no linkage between providing M1s and providing Leopards.” Austin had argued that the M1s are too cumbersome for Ukraine, requiring costly jet fuel, heavy maintenance, and lengthy training.

Just last month, a senior US defense official declared that “even one M1 was out of the question,” according to the Washington Post. When used by US troops in Iraq, the M1s were “hard for us to sustain and maintain,” the official noted. For Ukraine, “it would be impossible.” Even last week, senior Pentagon official Colin Kahl dismissed the prospect of sending the “very complicated” M1, because “we should not be providing the Ukrainians systems they can’t repair, they can’t sustain, and that they, over the long term, can’t afford.”

As Gen. Mark Milley learned when he came out in favor of diplomacy with Russia to end the fighting, the Pentagon’s outlook is no match for Washington’s proxy war fever. The White House reversed course, Politico notes, after “a parade of Democrats and Republicans” in Congress “pressured the Biden administration to grant Berlin’s request to send U.S. tanks first.” What the Pentagon “was not taking into enough account,” the New York Times reports, citing a US official, “was the intense fear among European governments of doing anything to provoke Russia without having the cover of the United States doing the same thing first.” When it comes to provoking Russia, the US is undoubtedly first.

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 This article is more than 8 years old – It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war

Posted by M. C. on January 28, 2023

So you don’t hear much about the Ukrainian government’s veneration of wartime Nazi collaborators and pogromists, or the arson attacks on the homes and offices of elected communist leaders, or the integration of the extreme Right Sector into the national guard, while the anti-semitism and white supremacism of the government’s ultra-nationalists is assiduously played down, and false identifications of Russian special forces are relayed as fact.

Seumas Milne

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/30/russia-ukraine-war-kiev-conflict

The attempt to lever Kiev into the western camp by ousting an elected leader made conflict certain. It could be a threat to us all

Illustration by Matt Kenyon
‘The reality is that after two decades of Nato expansion, this crisis was triggered by the west’s attempt to pull Ukraine decisively into its orbit … ‘ Illustration: Matt Kenyon

Wed 30 Apr 2014 16.01 EDT

3,230

The threat of war in Ukraine is growing. As the unelected government in Kiev declares itself unable to control the rebellion in the country’s east, John Kerry brands Russia a rogue state. The US and the European Union step up sanctions against the Kremlin, accusing it of destabilising Ukraine. The White House is reported to be set on a new cold war policy with the aim of turning Russia into a “pariah state”.

That might be more explicable if what is going on in eastern Ukraine now were not the mirror image of what took place in Kiev a couple of months ago. Then, it was armed protesters in Maidan Square seizing government buildings and demanding a change of government and constitution. US and European leaders championed the “masked militants” and denounced the elected government for its crackdown, just as they now back the unelected government’s use of force against rebels occupying police stations and town halls in cities such as Slavyansk and Donetsk.

“America is with you,” Senator John McCain told demonstrators then, standing shoulder to shoulder with the leader of the far-right Svoboda party as the US ambassador haggled with the state department over who would make up the new Ukrainian government.

When the Ukrainian president was replaced by a US-selected administration, in an entirely unconstitutional takeover, politicians such as William Hague brazenly misled parliament about the legality of what had taken place: the imposition of a pro-western government on Russia’s most neuralgic and politically divided neighbour.

Putin bit back, taking a leaf out of the US street-protest playbook – even though, as in Kiev, the protests that spread from Crimea to eastern Ukraine evidently have mass support. But what had been a glorious cry for freedom in Kiev became infiltration and insatiable aggression in Sevastopol and Luhansk.

After Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, the bulk of the western media abandoned any hint of even-handed coverage. So Putin is now routinely compared to Hitler, while the role of the fascistic right on the streets and in the new Ukrainian regime has been airbrushed out of most reporting as Putinist propaganda.

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The War in Ukraine has Underscored the Necessity of America Exiting NATO – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2023

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2023/01/the_war_in_ukraine_has_underscored_the_necessity_of_america_exiting_nato_.html

By Steve McCann

With the passage of the ludicrous omnibus bill the total amount spent and committed to be spent by the United States in Ukraine since the Russian invasion is in excess of $110 Billion.  That amount exceeds the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 130 nations. Further, only America and its chief adversaries China ($239 Billion) and Russia ($154 Billion) spend more per year on their defense budgets.

During this same period of time the 27 nations of the European Union plus Great Britain have spent or committed to spend $36 Billion in Ukraine or half of what the taxpayers in the United States have been obligated to contribute.   

Meanwhile the U.S. national debt is now $31.5 Trillion and will, due to unconstrained spending, increase at least another $15+ Trillion in less than ten years, thereby abetting uncontrolled inflation and potential insolvency.   (It took this nation 224 years to accumulate the first $15 Trillion, 13 years for the second $15 Trillion and less than 10 years for the third $15 Trillion.) The United States with less than 5% of the world’s population is responsible for 45% of global national debt.   

By comparison, the national debt of the 27 countries in the European Union plus Great Britain is currently $18 Trillion, and their debt is equivalent to 90% of their annual GDP ($20.4 Trillion). The national debt of the United States is equivalent to 137% of its annual GDP ($23.3 Trillion) as America’s national debt far exceeds its annual economic output. 

Why is the United States, experiencing runaway inflation and unfathomable debt growth, footing the vast majority of the cost and not the nations of Europe who can afford it and are most directly impacted and threatened by the Ukrainian invasion?   Why, despite America’s unparalleled level of spending, is Volodymyr Zelensky unabashedly browbeating the United States to commit to unlimited as well as unaudited billions more?  Why, in response to this browbeating, is the feckless Joe Biden and members of both parties in Congress committed to spending American taxpayer money in Ukraine for an undefined “as long as it takes”. 

The answer lies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, an alliance in which America took upon itself the role of the military protector of Western Europe.  The ruling class in the United States, regardless of changing circumstances in Europe and incapable of restraining their lust for spending, fervently believes that it is their calling to protect the ancestral home of socialism and modern day globalism.    

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Of Two Minds – Misunderstanding War, Money and Prosperity

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2023

But if we set aside all the expertise delegitimized by self-interest, we’re left with profound misunderstandings of how the world actually works.

https://oftwominds.cloudhostedresources.com/?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lewrockwell.com%2F&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oftwominds.com%2Fblogjan23%2Fmisunderstanding1-23.html

If the consensus of experts misunderstand money, credit and prosperity, how are we going to advance?
Describing all the ways experts got it wrong is a thriving cottage industry. Expertise is itself contentious, as conventional expertise legitimized by credentials, prestigious institutional positions, scholarship, prizes, etc. can be wielded to promote the interests of the expert or whomever is funding the expert.
Another segment of experts are self-proclaimed, essentially substituting an air of confidence in their own projections for actual expertise.
Yet another segment of experts are lightweights with a misleading veneer of legitimacy to cloak their real identity as paid shills for corporations or other self-interested parties. PhD, anyone? Just put that PhD after your name and then pontificate about subjects completely outside your field.
Then there’s the data, easily manipulated statistically to prove whatever is profitable to interested parties. Ibogaine improves sex, reverses aging and correlates to rising wealth–amazing! Buried on page 19 of the report: Research funded by the Ibogaine Industry. Nicely played, Ibogaine Industry.
But if we set aside all the expertise delegitimized by self-interest, we’re left with profound misunderstandings of how the world actually works. Consider the big issues of war, money and prosperity.
Looking back on 2022, it’s impossible to overlook the consensus of experts that expected Russia’s quantitative superiority in tanks, aircraft and personnel to be decisive in its invasion of Ukraine. Nearly a year later, it’s clear the rapid victory the vast majority of military experts anticipated did not play out. The vast majority got it wrong, and not because Russian forces were defeated as much as Russian forces failed to execute the complex coordinated attack as intended.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Omnibus shows Congress’s Priorities: Authoritarianism and War

Posted by M. C. on December 29, 2022

Similarly, every Republican President in recent years—including two who had a Republican-controlled Congress for at least part of their term—supported huge increases in welfare state spending. Most Democrats only pretend to oppose warfare and most Republicans only pretend to oppose welfare to appease their parties’ respective bases.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2022/december/26/omnibus-shows-congress-s-priorities-authoritarianism-and-war/?mc_cid=b0f98b3294&mc_eid=4e0de347c8

written by ron paul

Those hoping for a Christmastime government shutdown were once again disappointed when Congress passed a 4,000-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that few, if any, Representatives and Senators read before voting on. The Republican leadership celebrated this bloated monstrosity because it spends $858 billion on warfare while “only” spending $772.5 billion on welfare.

No one should think Republican insistence on more warfare than welfare spending means Democrats oppose the warfare state. Under President Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress, “defense” spending has increased by 4.3 percent over the last two years. Similarly, every Republican President in recent years—including two who had a Republican-controlled Congress for at least part of their term—supported huge increases in welfare state spending. Most Democrats only pretend to oppose warfare and most Republicans only pretend to oppose welfare to appease their parties’ respective bases.

The Omnibus appropriates a $44.5 billion giveaway to Ukraine. This brings the total US spending on Ukraine’s military to over $100 billion – approximately 50 percent more than Russia’s entire military budget! This money is spent in a conflict that does not affect US security, yet one that would likely have not occurred were it not for prior US meddling in the region.

The Omnibus bill provides $11.3 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a $569.6 million increase and $524 billion above the President’s request. According to the Democratic leadership, the funding increase is so the FBI can better fight “extremist violence and domestic terrorists.”

The public recently learned what the FBI considers an appropriate way to fight “extremism,” with the release of emails between Twitter officials and the FBI. These memos show the Bureau was working with Twitter—and almost certainly other social media companies—to suppress certain stories, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, and points of view, such as skepticism regarding masks, lockdowns, and vaccine mandates. The bureau even used taxpayer funds to reimburse Twitter for the costs of implementing these “requests.” Government officials working with private companies to silence American citizens is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

This is hardly the first time the FBI has violated the constitutional rights of American citizens. In fact, since its founding the Bureau has targeted political activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King, whose agenda was considered “extreme” or “dangerous” by the Bureau’s corrupt leadership. The idea of a national police force with the power to target Americans because of their political beliefs would have horrified the drafters of the Constitution. The federal government has no constitutional authority over criminal law except for cases of piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. Libertarians, constitutional conservatives, and progressives who still care about civil liberties should join together to defund the FBI.

The fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill expands government, reduces liberty, and increases government debt, forcing the Federal Reserve to monetize more debt leading to more price inflation. Our political elites prioritize militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home over addressing the problems facing the American people like the Federal Reserve’s destructive monetary policy. This will fuel growing discontent with the political system. As the economy continues to worsen and the attempt to run the world continues to result in failures, the discontent will grow until the welfare warfare system collapses and, hopefully, a new error of liberty peace and prosperity dawns.


Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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War Is Over (If You Want It)

Posted by M. C. on December 27, 2022

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/war-is-over-if-you-want-it?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Caitlin Johnstone

War is over
If you want it

War is over
If you want the health of your people more than global domination,
War is over
If you want everyone’s prosperity
more than you want to be richer than others,
War is over
If you want peace more than the illusion of security,
War is over

War is over
If you want to move forward more than you want your team to triumph,
War is over
If you want to get the things you want more than you want the glory,
War is over
If you want things to be right more than you want the story of being wronged,
War is over

War is over
If you want happiness more than you want to win,
War is over
If you want connection more than you want ambitious achievements,
War is over
If you want this moment more than you want your future fantasies (that will always fail to satisfy even if they do come true),
War is over

War is over
If you want to relax and repair more than you want to defend the story of yourself,
War is over
If you want to seek understanding more than you want to win the argument,
War is over
If you want to love more than you want to shield yourself from future grief,
War is over

War is over
If you want your sanity more than your reputation,
War is over
If you want to be loved more than you want to be alone,
War is over
If you want what’s in the highest interest
more than you want what’s in your self-interest
War is over
If you want to remove the blocks to health more than you want anything else,
War is over
If you want it
Now

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Opposing War Is The First Step Toward Moral Politics: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2022

This is brain poison. Can you think of a belief system more toxic for important critical thought than one which says you must forcefully attack any dissent against the most dangerous agendas of the most powerful people in your world? I can’t. It’s a great way to keep people stupid, quiet and obedient.

Caitlin Johnstone

https://open.substack.com/pub/caitlinjohnstone/p/opposing-war-is-the-first-step-toward?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android

Forcefully opposing the warmongering and imperialism of your rulers is the very first step toward political morality. It’s not the only step, but it is the first step, because if you haven’t taken that step then no other ostensibly moral politics you might espouse are meaningful. 

Your anti-capitalism is meaningless if you’re not aggressively opposing your government’s mass military murders for power and profit. Your anti-racism is meaningless if you’re not aggressively opposing your government’s butchery and exploitation of brown-skinned people overseas. If you’re not forcefully opposing your government’s warmongering and imperialism, then the rest of your politics are irrelevant, because they are false. A sincerely antiwar right-winger with all the wrong positions on all other issues is still a much better person than you are.

When I see a lefty voicing solid perspectives without also aggressively opposing the warmongering, militarism and imperialism of their rulers, I personally just ignore them, because their failure in that one area has made a lie of their successes in all the other areas.

If this seems strange or not obvious to you, it’s simply because you have not spent enough time sincerely contemplating the immense suffering and savagery that is inflicted upon our world by war and imperialism, or learned enough about who the worst offenders are on that front. Literally the only reason western warmongering isn’t met with a backlash of horror and outrage is because it’s been so normalized and propaganda-distorted for us. If we could see what our rulers are doing to people with fresh eyes, we would fall to our knees and scream with rage.

War is the single worst thing in the world. It’s the most insane thing humans do. The most ruinous. The most traumatizing. The least sustainable. And the US-centralized power alliance is its most egregious perpetrator, by a massive margin.

There’s no excuse for ignoring this.

Saying a US politician is bad on foreign policy but good on domestic policy is like saying a serial killer was nice to his family. It’s like, okay, who gives a fuck? They’re mass murderers and you should hate them.

It’s a bit nutty how the term “Old Left” gets used to describe lefties who oppose war and distrust the US intelligence cartel instead of simply acknowledging that the real left has been effectively stomped out by propaganda and psyops.

“You’re the Old Left. Those people over there cheering internet censorship and proxy warfare and nuclear brinkmanship, they’re the left now.”

Are you sure? Are you sure they’re not just a bunch of brainwashed dupes? Because they look an awful lot like brainwashed dupes.

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The Government Is Still Waging War on America’s Military Veterans – Global Research

Posted by M. C. on November 11, 2022

https://www.globalresearch.ca/government-still-waging-war-america-military-veterans/5798343

By John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

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***

For soldiers … coming home is more lethal than being in combat.” ― Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

The U.S. government is still waging war on America’s military veterans.

Especially veterans who exercise their First Amendment right to speak out against government wrongdoing.

Consider: we raise our young people on a steady diet of militarism and war, sell them on the idea that defending freedom abroad by serving in the military is their patriotic duty, then when they return home, bruised and battle-scarred and committed to defending their freedoms at home, we often treat them like criminals merely for exercising those rights they risked their lives to defend.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the government even has a name for its war on America’s veterans: Operation Vigilant Eagle.

This Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

Coupled with the DHS’ dual reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics bode ill for anyone seen as opposing the government.

Yet the government is not merely targeting individuals who are voicing their discontent so much as it is taking aim at individuals trained in military warfare.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the DHS has gone extremely quiet about Operation Vigilant Eagle.

Where there’s smoke, there’s bound to be fire.

And the government’s efforts to target military veterans whose views may be perceived as “anti-government” make clear that something is afoot.

In recent years, military servicemen and women have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights.

In light of the government’s efforts to lay the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data and predict who might pose a threat to public safety based on mental health sensor data (a convenient means by which to penalize certain “unacceptable” social behaviors), encounters with the police could get even more deadly, especially if those involved have a mental illness or disability coupled with a military background.

Incredibly, as part of a proposal introduced under the Trump Administration, a new government agency HARPA (a healthcare counterpart to the Pentagon’s research and development arm DARPA) will take the lead in identifying and targeting “signs” of mental illness or violent inclinations among the populace by using artificial intelligence to collect data from Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

These tactics are not really new.

Many times throughout history in totalitarian regimes, such governments have declared dissidents mentally ill and unfit for society as a means of rendering them disempowering them.

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What an American Addiction to War Means to Veterans – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on November 11, 2022

The resulting trauma from war’s inevitable dehumanization is not yours alone. War-culture in this country leaves us with a residual collective trauma that weighs us all down and is only made worse by a national blindness to it.

https://original.antiwar.com/Kelly_Denton-Borhaug/2022/11/10/what-an-american-addiction-to-war-means-to-veterans/

by Kelly Denton-Borhaug and Tom Engelhardt

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

I felt it then. I feel far more certain of it now. My dad, who died in 1983, was a member of what came to be known as the Greatest Generation, those who served in World War II. In fact, he volunteered the day after Pearl Harbor (though he was then old enough that he might not have been drafted) and ended up in the U.S. Army Air Corps — there was no separate Air Force in those days — with the First Air Commandos fighting the Japanese in Burma.

And here was the strange thing: though he had souvenirs of that war in his closet, including an old mess kit, a duffle bag filled with papers, his major’s hat, and various wartime badges, and as a boy I was fascinated, he would never really talk about his time at war. The only exceptions were those sudden outbursts of anger because my mother had shopped at a nearby grocery store whose owners, he claimed, had been war profiteers, or later because I had gone to a Japanese restaurant or bought a German car (a Volkswagen). Mind you, I thought I knew all there was to know about his war experience because he used to take me to the war movies of the 1950s where we both watched Americans ever triumphant, ever satisfied, ever glorious — and he never said a word about them, which seemed to validate everything I saw on screen.

Now, I suspect he had returned from that war with some version of post-traumatic stress disorder, some disturbance deep inside that came out in indirect but harsh ways in the tough years (for him) of the 1950s. But who talked about such things then? No one in my world, that’s for sure. And that was “the good war” (as Studs Terkel labeled it, quote marks included, in his famed oral history of World War II).

When it comes to America’s bad wars of the last century and this one, however, we know a good deal more about what they’ve done to this country’s “warriors,” as TomDispatch regular, religion scholar, and author of And Then Your Soul is Gone: Moral Injury and U.S. War-Culture Kelly Denton-Borhaug makes all too clear today. Yes, in these years, Americans were in a rush to “thank” those who fought our distant wars, while life here went on almost as if they weren’t happening. But now we know that the price paid for the disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere was far, far too high (even if you ignore the costs borne by Afghans, Iraqis, and so many others). With that in mind, as Veterans Day comes around once more, take a moment with Denton-Borhaug to consider the price our vets have paid for the decision to fight the Global War on Terror across significant parts of this planet forever and a day~ Tom Engelhardt


The Intolerable Price You Pay

A Civilian Addresses American Veterans on Veterans Day

By Kelly Denton-Borhaug

[Denton-Borhaug will give a version of this talk virtually to Veterans for Peace Chapter 102 at a Reclaim Armistice Day meeting at the Milwaukee City Hall Rotunda this Veteran’s Day.]

Dear Veterans,

I’m a civilian who, like many Americans, has strong ties to the U.S. Armed Forces. I never considered enlisting, but my father, uncles, cousins, and nephews did. As a child I baked cookies to send with letters to my cousin Steven who was serving in Vietnam. My family tree includes soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Some years before my father died, he shared with me his experience of being drafted during the Korean War and, while on leave, traveling to Hiroshima, Japan. There, just a few short years after an American atomic bomb had devastated that city as World War II ended, he was haunted by seeing the dark shadows of the dead cast onto concrete by the nuclear blast.

As Americans, all of us are, in some sense, linked to the violence of war. But most of us have very little understanding of what it means to be touched by war. Still, since the events of September 11, 2001, as a scholar of religion, I’ve been trying to understand what I’ve come to call “U.S. war-culture.” For it was in the months after those terrible attacks more than 20 years ago that I awoke to the depth of our culture of war and our society’s pervasive militarization. Eventually, I saw how important truths about our country were concealed when we made the violence of war into something sacred. And most important of all, while trying to come to grips with this dissonant reality, I started listening to you, the veterans of our recent wars, and simply couldn’t stop.

Dismantling the Lies About and Justifications for Our Wars

The only proper response to 9/11, our political leaders assured us then, was war and nothing but war — “a necessary sacrifice,” a phrase they endlessly repeated. In the years that followed, in speeches and public spectacles, one particular image surfaced again and again. The lives — and especially injuries and deaths — of American soldiers were incessantly linked to the injuries inflicted on Jesus of Nazareth, and to his death on the cross. President George W. Bush, for example, milked this imagery in 2008:

This weekend, families across America are coming together to celebrate Easter… During this special and holy time of year, millions of Americans pause to remember a sacrifice that transcended the grave and redeemed the world… On Easter we hold in our hearts those who will be spending this holiday far from home — our troops… I deeply appreciate the sacrifice that they and their families are making… On Easter, we especially remember those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom. These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13 ]

The abusive exploitation of religion to bless violence covered the reality of war’s hideous destructiveness with a sacred sheen. And this justification for what quickly became known as the Global War on Terror troubled me, leaving me with many questions. I wondered: Is it true that we demonstrate what we most value in life by dying for it?

What about living for what we value most?

See the rest here

Be seeing you

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