LAT: The Forever Wars

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John Bolton, who has been trying to spark a war with Iran for nearly twenty years, has never seen combat. He served 18 weeks of active duty in Louisiana after joining the Maryland Army National Guard in 1970. Since both Johnson and Nixon depended on the draft to prosecute the war in Vietnam, joining the National Guard was a way to avoid combat. Kind of like when George W. joined the Texas Air National Guard and Dan Quayle (remember him) joined the Indiana Army National Guard. Bolton wrote in his Yale reunion book, “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” He later explained that Democrats were to blame for his reluctance to serve. (I kid you not. Look it up.) But he has no qualms about the hundreds of thousands who died as a result of his disastrous manufactured war in Iraq, being one of the last I think three people on earth who don’t consider it a blunder of stupendous proportions. Nor does he apparently have any problem sending a new generation of Americans to sacrifice in a war in Iran which could easily make Iraq seem like a success. This Memorial Day the Christian satire site Babylon Bee headlined “In Honor Of Memorial Day, John Bolton Announces 7 New Wars.” It should be funny. But it isn’t. If Mr. Bolton and his cronies have their way there will be a whole new generation of casualties to memorialize.

The linked article below crystallizes my own perception of the war that has been going on continuously since right after 9/11. It was supposed to be a war against terror but it has morphed into terror. The United States is complicit in a humanitarian disaster in Yemen and in Syria. The jets the Saudis use to bomb civilians were sold to them by the United States. The United States pays for their fuel. It was an American bomb that killed 40 school children in a school bus. The President wants to pardon a soldier accused of killing an unarmed civilian Afghan girl.

The brutal reality of our military adventures is drowned by a cult-like litany of appreciation for the military. I don’t dispute that American service men and women are dedicated professionals who put their lives on the line to serve America. But the military policies of the United States are at best grossly incompetent, at worst criminal. We can swoon all we want about “heroes,” but as Sjursen astutely observes, “as politicians laud the sacrifice and heroism of the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country, they will hardly mention our engagement in a series of forever wars that continue to claim new lives — or the fact that we’re not winning any of them.”

That Americans memorialize the dead by shopping Memorial Day sales events and indulging in a hedonistic holiday is macabre. American youth continue to be sacrificed in senseless wars with no end in sight to serve as props in another display of over consumption and willful ignorance.

We wave our flags and intone after Big Brother “war is peace…” But if Americans really cared about the military they would be willing to sacrifice their own kids. Or else they would care enough to not let any more die for nothing.


 

The best way America can honor its fallen soldiers is to create fewer of them

These days, adulation for the U.S. military abounds. At professional sports events, the once-modest singing of the national anthem has been overshadowed by flyovers from fighter jets, field-sized flags and uniformed troops on parade. Airport loudspeakers blare expressions of gratitude for the troops, and flight attendants call attention to uniformed military members aboard planes.