(4PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
(Cross-posted at Wild Wild Left)
On Memorial Day, remember the fallen victims of every war. Remember America’s fallen soldiers, remember their names, remember their families, remember the loved ones they left behind. But above all else, remember how the blood, death, and fire of war are unleashed, remember why they are unleashed, remember who does the unleashing, who glorifies it, and who profits from it.
The process is always the same. It exploits human weakness, triggers the tribal instincts within us, incites anger, and forges it into hatred. The politicians claim a dangerous enemy is determined to destroy the homeland, they talk about patriotism, they talk about God, they talk about the greatness of their nation, the glory of their culture, the sanctity of their ideology or religion. They say the enemy is evil and deserves destruction. The flags are waved and the guns are loaded. The generals are summoned and given their orders. And then the killing begins.
When I was a young man I carried me pack,
And I lived the free life of the rover,
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback,
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It’s time to stop rambling, there’s work to be done,
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun,
And they sent me away to the war . . . . . .
There’s work to be done.
That’s what America’s young men were told. In 1950. In 1965. In 1989 and 1991 and 2001. There was work to be done at the 38th Parallel. There was work to be done in the Mekong Valley. There was work to be done in Panama. There was work to be done in Baghdad and Kabul and Kandahar. That’s what they were told.
Then the politicians gave them a tin hat, and gave them a gun.
And sent them away to the war.
The consequences have always been the same, the consequences always will be the same–the blood stains the sand and the water. The servants of the war machine collect the wounded, the crippled, the maimed, the armless, the legless, the blind and the insane, and ship them back home. And others are given a tin hat, and a gun, and are fed into the bonfire of blood, death and carnage.
The blood of soldiers, the blood of civilians, the blood of everyone caught in that Hell the politicians called Containment of Communism stained the sand and the water from Honduras to Iran in CIA coups, it stained the sand and the water of Southeast Asia in Pentagon wars. The blood of soldiers and civilians is still being spilled in that Hell called the War on Terror, and the vicious cycle of consequences keeps repeating itself because the politicians keep pulling the funding trigger, and keep pulling it, and keep pulling it. They have no problem pulling that funding trigger, they aren’t the ones doing the bleeding and the dying.
In 1953, we stopped to bury our slain. We buried ours and the Koreans buried theirs, then the killing started all over again. In 1973, we stopped to bury our slain. We buried ours and the Vietnamese buried theirs, then the killing started all over again. In 1991, we stopped to bury our slain. We buried ours, and the Iraqis buried theirs, then the killing started all over again . . .
Thanks to that grinning psychopath and his treachery, we’re still burying our slain. In Iraq, they’re still burying their slain. In Afghanistan, they’re still burying their slain. In Pakistan, they’re still burying their slain. Those still living just try to survive, in an endless nightmare of blood, death and fire, in the shadow of Predator drones, trapped between Islamic fundamentalist madness and the mindless stupidity of American generals.
On this latest Memorial Day, Obama, as you preside over that corporate war machine that spends more on weaponry than the next 40 countries combined, don’t talk to us about honorable sacrifices at the Altar of American Democracy. It’s not an altar, it’s a furnace, and millions of lives have been burned to ashes in the flames. It’s not a democracy, it’s a dying empire, crippled by corruption, paralyzed by propaganda, drowning in debt and lied to by leaders who fiddle while it burns.
The band still plays the Star Spangled Banner, and the young men still answer the call. But year after year, the numbers get fewer, someday no one will answer at all. There will be no more national anthems, there will be no more borders, there will be no more politicians, no more generals, no more soldiers, there will be no more blood, death and fire. We won’t live to see that day, but we can make it possible, we can bring it closer.
Give Peace a Chance.