Fancy Uniforms and Medals for Peace
by James Glaser
It is never an easy subject for a former military man to assess the service they gave to their country. Career Military men usually cloak their career in duty, honor and patriotism. They have to. Other wise they will see what a crime their lives have been. I was in a war (Vietnam) where all of us filled with "duty and honor" killed over one million innocent civilians and we lost that war. Thirty years later, all those words by our government about how Vietnam was a risk to American freedom and threat to world peace have proven to be lies, but are the same words George Bush uses today to tell America why Iraq must be attacked.
I am going to start with a quote by General Smedley Butler. General Butler is one of the very few Americans that have been awarded two Congressional medals of Honor.
"I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."
"I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service."
I used this quote for two reasons, first to introduce the concept that those in the Armed forces of the United States are not working to defend America, but as General Butler explains, the Military is there to protect corporate interests. Second, I think it is valuable to understand those men and women that lead our armed forces, obey orders and after many years in this career, much like prisoners doing a long stretch, Senior Officers really don't have the ability to tell if what they are being asked to do is moral or not.
Now think about this. If you want to become a General or in the enlisted ranks want to become a Master Sergeant, then you must obey orders without question for years and years. You do not have the luxury of contemplating if those orders were moral or even if they were feasible. Your job is to follow those orders and only those men and women that can follow those orders without question are promoted.
Men and women that question authority or those that have a conscience and have doubts about the right and wrong of a particular order, get out. These people can't take blind allegiance to those of a higher rank.
You know you can't blame either type of person, some can kill women and children and feel like they are protecting America and others can't. You think that is harsh? Well that is what it boils down to. If war was two groups of willing warriors facing each other on a field of battle many of the moral choices would be taken away from the decision to fight or not. But that is not how modern wars are fought. Today in war, innocent people suffer way more than those that are fighting.
When any country resorts to attacking another country, they have already lost. Wars happen because politicians get mad, lose their patience, or want some sort of glory they think "victory" will bring them. All that is just a scam. Honor, duty, medals, fancy uniforms, they are all part of the game to get young men and now women, to fight for somebody's dollar. In the twelve years since the last Gulf War, America has made no attempt to have face to face talks with Iraq, all of our negotiations were made on the front pages of American newspapers and with the bombs we dropped in the no fly zones.
Just look at Afghanistan. Many would tell you that when America attacked that country, Afghanistan could very well have been the most pitiful nation on earth. You know what, we still managed to kill several thousand innocent women, children, and infants. America has the most advanced weapons on earth and still we kill thousands of innocent people.
Well there are many people that join our military and find they cannot stomach the slaughter of children, but that happens and the death of children and infants are the major cause of combat veterans leaving the military. Those in charge of our country will say those deaths are a cost of war, but that is a cost that is too high for many of us.
So when you see those television reports of some unit going off to war and they show all of the sorrow of loved ones going over seas, look at those in charge. Those Officers and veteran enlisted men know that all the hoopla of patriotism and defending America really is a sham.
America has not had to defend her border since Pearl Harbor and the last fifty years have been filled with America attacking other countries much like Japan attacked us. Can any of you tell me that Panama or Granada attacked us first? Were they in any way a threat? How about the Balkans, did they threaten America? Yes, and even though Iraq did invade Kuwait, would we have cared if oil was not involved?
It is hard for me to write about these things because I so much want America to be that "good" country I always thought it was, but I now no longer believe that and I think Terrorism made me admit that my nation isn't everything I want it to be. Having civilians commit mass suicide to kill Americans tells me that something is wrong. America and George Bush are thought of by most in this world as the biggest threat to peace.
Make no Mistake about it, I would defend our borders anytime and feel great about it. Now our government uses that desire every American has to defend our way of life and will tell us that every thing we do is in defense of America.
I think that it is the duty of every American to look at and question what Washington is telling us. We have troops stationed in over a hundred other nations. Right now we have troops fighting in Afghanistan (no that is not finished) Columbia, The Philippines, and yes we have special operation troops in Iraq soon to be joined by a quarter million other Americans.
Monday night President Bush kept talking about peace and war in the same sentence. America is going to war to bring peace. How many other Presidents and world leaders have said that same thing and we still do not have peace.
I believe General Smedley Butler was honest when he wrote about being "muscle" for big business and that today the American Military is a tool of International Corporations. Many of those corporations don't even pay American taxes, but do give large amounts of money to both political parties.
Our young men and women in the military today are being used for making money for a few very sick people. People that will kill innocent people the world over so that they can sell more weapons, people that will kill children so that they can secure their flow of cheap oil, and people that will kill others so that they can hold on to power.
These people can't be honest about their motives because they know that Americans need a noble cause to fight for, so we will continue to kill tens of thousands of people the world over so we can have Peace.
BACK to the Politics Columns.