Yeah, I’m old now, but I still think about things like I did when I was younger. I guess nothing has changed in the world enough for me to think things have gotten different.
I can remember going round and round with my dad about how horrible the war was when I got back from Vietnam. He still believed everything Washington told us. Even more than that belief was his belief in what the newspaper said about how we were trying to bring peace and democracy to the poor people of South Vietnam.
When it was just my dad and I talking, I would ask him about his wars, WWII and Korea. I would ask about dead kids and their dead mothers and the dead old people and the total destruction of cities and towns. He would get a strange look on his face and tell me that he just could not talk about those things… and I understood.
When you go to war, it really doesn’t take you long to realize that the stories the media tell us, and the stories the history books tell us, and the stories the government puts out really are not the truth. Heck, they are so far from the truth they would be better classified as works of fiction.
Smedley Butler was a Marine Corps General who won two Medals of Honor, and here is what he said about war.
“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. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
Therein lies the problem I believe we face today. Only a small group of Americans knows what war really is about. Most of the rest of the country has drunk the Kool Aid, and they believe the propaganda put out by the government and the media. Who owns that media? That is a good question, and I think General Butler answered it, “Only a small group knows what it is about.” Another General, Dwight Eisenhower put a name to them:
President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address. Eisenhower warned:“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
General Eisenhower had become President Eisenhower when he said these words, and he named or coined the phrase “military industrial complex” as a warning about future war and who we should watch out for.
Back to the talks with my dad. Dad and I would watch the news and the media were finally explaining to the people of America and the world about what was really going on in Vietnam and showing us that millions of Americans wanted that war to stop. Well, unfortunately, thousands and thousands more American troops were killed and wounded, and so were hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, before this knowledge given to the people eventually put a stop to the war.
So, the war was over, but it was not the end of that Military Industrial Complex, and those rich Americans and probably rich foreigners who own the Military Industrial Complex realized that they could no longer allow the media to give the American citizen the truth about why we start wars or how we conduct those wars…and it worked. Today, our media show just what those in power want us to see, and all the reporters allowed to cover our wars are now embedded with military units, and not much gets out unless somebody like Chelsie Manning blows the whistle or some foreign group puts our war out on social media for all to see.
So here we sit today. The veteran population is getting smaller with so many WWII and Korean war vets dying, and like my dad, most veterans would rather talk about anything other than what war is really like, and with no media help, we are right back to where we were before Vietnam.
Most young people trust the major media. Oh, for sure they will rant and rave about the right or left wing media depending on which side they are on, but they buy into whatever media will cater to their beliefs. It seems that all major media and long-time newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post are always to be believed. Heck, the Post broke Watergate, so you know they always tell the truth. Just so you know, the Watergate scandal was 45 years ago, and much has changed in our nation’s media. Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, owns the Washington Post, and Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim owns the New York Times. The old trusted and true American media is not the same media of a few decades ago, but most Americans still believe it is. Forbes Magazine tells us that 90% of our media is owned by 15 billionaires.
So, my father is dead and we can no longer talk about our wars and new wars. Now I talk to young people, and yes, it is like talking to my dad. They still believe what the government tells them—that is, if the Party in power is the Party they back. On top of that, they believe the media. No, not the media from the “otherside” but the media that tells them what they want to hear, and yes, the old guard media like the Times and the Post and ABC and CBS and NBC are to be believed, and they all seem to fall for whatever PBS or NPR have to say.
It saddens me. I don’t believe we will ever have a real antiwar movement again. The Military Industrial Complex learned their lesson from Vietnam, and when all the antiwar people were exhausted, and sitting back and feeling good about their war ending, that small group that makes the money from our wars, and who pay for the political campaigns of the politicians who start those wars, went to work and took over our media, and they are not about to let that control get away from them again.
Yes, talking to the younger people today is a lot like talking to my dad. They buy into whatever is told to them, because they trust the façade put up for them to see.
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