Most nations throughout history have conquests and wars that support the ruling class and create a submissive response from both their own citizens and those of their current enemy of choice. In the past, one side of a war would win and get rewarded or punished by the other side, but the leadership on BOTH sides would meanwhile cement their hold on power through the use of this outside threat that was often bought off or defeated and held for tribute.
In the last 60 years, modern communication and education has changed this. No longer are violence and threats of violence gaining submission, particularly in the case of foreign invasions. So tiny North Korea (with help and great losses) fought the American invasion to a standstill, tiny Afghanistan (with great losses) defeated the mighty Soviet Union and the United States. And the small, agricultural country of Vietnam, after a couple of centuries of being dominated by the nations of China, France, Japan, and (again) France, finally (with horrendous losses and with the help of 100 Russian technicians and their anti-aircraft missiles) successfully defended themselves against the vastly stronger nations of the United States and Communist China.
The U.S. has spent massive amounts of time, men and materiel in a number of more recent quests of their own for that submission to our “might” and our “greatness,” while it continues to elude us. And I think at least a few of us voters are getting wise to this ongoing racket that murders, steals and destroys on the vacuous pretense of protecting us and “fighting for freedom.”
I fail to see the wisdom, honor, or efficacy of all this destruction, killing and dying except that it boosts profits and makes many voters immune to reason or rationality, many youth eager to join the mayhem, and the rest of us renewed in our sincerity and dedication when we pledge our allegiance to it all.
I ask you, my fellow voters and taxpayers, what do we get out of this? Is it worth what we’re paying? And why hasn’t minding our own business and just being a nation among nations ever appealed to us? Is it worth the lives and sanity of thousands of our citizen soldiers? Is it worth enduring 9/11/01 and the future attacks our renewed aggression will undoubtedly provoke? And if a nation calls us on our threat to destroy all civilization with all-out nuclear war, how do we “win” then? How will we call their bluff? What do we get out of any of this except anger, heartache, and greater debt, higher taxes or both?
Ever since World War II, U.S. taxpayers have been paying billions of dollars in tribute (using the older meaning) to our military and their leaders by supporting around 125,000 U.S. troops in the conquered territories of just Germany, Japan, and South Korea. All three have thriving economies, but the United States is still occupying these nations and has been for close to 70 years!! (see more current stats)
What do we get for our hard-earned tax dollars? And when we add the cost of pensions, lost productivity, VA hospitals, not to mention the families broken by violence and alienation, is this “greatness” a boon to the average citizen and taxpayer? Is it a wise and thoughtful use of the vast power and influence our society wields over the rest of the world? Or is it the selfish, self-serving result of bullying other people slightly different from ourselves? Is it the profit of stealing and murder; of atrocities against the original inhabitants of the vast territories we’ve gradually gained dominance over by violence and threats and spending the wealth and lives of our youth on bombs, land mines, weapons and a vast number of bullets which have killed and maimed others and cause others to kill and maim us across the width and breadth of our fragile planet?
What will “victory” look like if we ever start achieving it again? Would we then station armies there? Would we also dominate and control these newly conquered societies and force them to emulate us as well?
And what profit is sufficient for our 1%; our wealthy families and their faithful money managers? How many luxury yachts and luxury Lear jets will satisfy this pandemic of greed and grandiosity which now dominates the world and almost all of its modernized societies?
How long will we continue to lie to ourselves that we are “fighting for democracy”; that our troops in the conquered territories of Germany, Japan, Korea, American Samoa, Guantanamo Bay, and the Marshall Islands as well as disputed areas in Fallujah, Kabul, and Baghdad, and attack submarines prowling every ocean of the planet, armed with nuclear weapons (as well as conventional weapons) are a boon to us and our progeny? How many grieving Gold Star Mothers and Fathers will continue to lie to themselves and the rest of us about their children’s legacy of violence and intimidation?
If we’re really just trying to protect our citizens and their lives and liberty, why these ongoing, worldwide violent attacks? Nobody has invaded us since 1814 except the Japanese on December 7, 1941 (which was a preemptive strike on a nation that had forced their society into reentering this game of international war and commerce by invasion and intimidation between 1852 and 1854) and September 11, 2001 when a couple dozen active members of al Quida (which we originally supported in their fight against almost identical Soviet dominance) destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
It seems to me that we long for the “good old days” in our old movies and westerns that show the “good guys” winning and the “bad guys” dying or giving up and slinking away with their tails between their legs. Why has real life stopped being like that? Or have we just been lying to each other all along?
©David N. Dodson, Phoenix, AZ, 24 July 2019