War is our Destiny and Our History
Bush was at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier glorifying the role of war in America. But that is the role of every president on Memorial Day. Making those who sacrificed the most feel like it was indeed for something important. I have 2 nephews at Annapolis. I feel proud of them that they want to do something important and that they want to serve their country. On the other hand I feel like screaming at them. “Don’t you understand the game that’s being played. Don’t be stupid and die for oil“. I pray that the war will end but every day as I learn more and more about our history and how this country is actually governed the more I realize that war will never end. War is a fundamental part of the American experience and the American myth. War had a fundamental role in the development of our country and continues to be a crucial part of American policy.
So today we hear from the coward in chief:
President George W. Bush paid tribute Monday to America's troops — "a new generation of fallen leaders" — in a solemn Memorial Day visit to the national burial ground for war heroes.
Speaking under overcast skies after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and meeting privately at the White House with the families of some fallen servicemen and women, Mr. Bush called the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a part of the nation's destiny. He said they follow a rich tradition of similar American sacrifices throughout this country's history.
Yes war is and always will be part of America’s destiny simply because we have been led by people who use war to further their economic agenda and help their sponsors. Never has this been clearer than now. The remaking of the Middle East by destruction, shock and awe into a neo-liberal haven for the oil companies represents one of the most blatantly obvious examples. But thats not all that's going on. There is plenty on the plate of the American leaders.
So before talking about our history, lets take a brief trip to the chaos, oppression and wholesale slaughter currently happening around the globe either directly by our hand or by proxy. Obviously we have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then we have the war by proxy in Somalia whereby Ethiopian troops sponsored by the US have driven out the Islamic Court and replaced them with the same war lords we fought in the 1990’s. LINK The result has been the return of chaos and killing displacing the first relatively quiet period that Somalia had experienced. Then we have the covert actions within Iran directly approved by President Bush. Operation number four is the US along with Israel formenting a civil war in Palestine in an attempt to overthrow the government of Hamas. See Chris Floyd and this Chris-Floyd quotes this piece by Jonathan Schwartz
Few Americans are even aware of the Palestinian mini-civil war going on now in Gaza. Fewer still know this civil war is to a large degree the conscious creation of the Bush administration—and specifically of America's old friend Elliot Abrams. Here's an article with some details:
Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams — who Newsweek recently described as “the last neocon standing” — has had it about for some months now that the U.S. is not only not interested in dealing with Hamas, it is working to ensure its failure. In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas elections, last January, Abrams greeted a group of Palestinian businessmen in his White House office with talk of a “hard coup” against the newly-elected Hamas government — the violent overthrow of their leadership with arms supplied by the United States...
Over the last twelve months, the United States has supplied guns, ammunition and training to Palestinian Fatah activists to take on Hamas in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank.
You know, when prominent neoconservatives talk about "hard coups" to overturn Palestinian elections, or hint at their regret the military didn't stage a coup in Turkey, it almost makes me think their purported concern for democracy is complete bullshit.
Fortunately, we know that's not that case, because no one ever broaches this possibility in the US media.
And we would be remiss in not mentioning the role of the US in the recent fighting in the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The US decided that they would oppose Iran, Syria and the Shia even if it mean backing extremist Sunni organizations. With the backing of the US and the Saudis Lebanon supported Fatah al-Islam as a countermeasure to Hezbulloh. Well Fatah al-Islam became too important and the Saudis cut a side deal leaving Lebanon to fight their former clients with the US now shipping arms to Lebanon to bolster the Lebanese Army. As Chris Floyd notes:
"all these ideological and religious labels don't matter at all to the leaders of the Terror War; the only thing that matters are the temporary expedients of power." Fight al Qaeda in Iraq; fund al Qaeda in Lebanon; arm and train Shiite militias and death squads in Iraq, then fight Shiite militias and death squads in Iraq -- what's the difference, as long as the game goes on, the waters stay murky with blood, and the war profits keep rolling in? Who cares?
Read the entire article and articles referenced within.
Let’s take a brief look at our history. This is not comprehensive but reflects a couple of interesting pieces that have come out recently. First there is an interview with Stephen Kinzer author of
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
Here are some interesting portions of the introduction to the transcript of the interview.
In a BBC World News interview, Congressman Jack Murtha rallied for the position that troops should be called home immediately. He alluded first to the skewed intelligence the Bush administration used to justify the war and went on to declare that Iraq marks "the first time the U.S. has gone to war against a sovereign nation without provocation."
In Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change, Stephen Kinzer shows that the congressman is wrong. Overthrow traces the art of the preemptive war back to the end of the nineteenth century: Hawaii, Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq -- it's a long list. Though the justifications varied, archetypically, it was the same war again and again. A threat to U.S. corporate interests was disguised to the press (and then trumpeted to the public) as an act of humanitarian grace, paired with a move to protect American lives. The most important thread has been that, time and again, the imminent danger said to be facing the U.S. was simply a lie.
Kinzer also shows that in case after case yesterday's strategic ally is today's reviled enemy. Until they recognize this fact, Democrats like Murtha won’t be able to understand the enormity of the tragedy or its likelihood of happening again -- especially if, as Kinzer shows, American politicians continue to conflate American interests with the profiteering of American corporations.
The irreplaceable Chris Floyd has an interesting piece on U.S Grant. Floyd cites portions of Grant’s memoirs in which he discusses the reasons behind the war with Mexico.
"For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure [the annexation], and to this day regard the war which resulted as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."
Grant notes that the US had to provoke Mexico in order to justify a declaration of war.
Another tidbit from Grant’s memoirs
…….Before long, however, these same people -- who with permission of Mexico had colonized Texas, and afterwards set up slavery there, and then seceded as soon as they felt strong enough to do so -- offered themselves and the State to the United States, and in 1845, their offer was accepted. The occupation, separation and annexation were, from the inception of the movement to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which slave states might be formed for the American Union."
Read the entire Floyd article.
If you believe that the Iraq debacle is due entirely to a small group of Republicans and is not representative of American actions then you don’t understand and greatly underestimate the effort that its going to take to change the direction of the country. Although our best hope may be a Democrat it certainly isn’t one of the current front runners, Obama and Clinton, who are the typical centrist read corporate owned candidates.