Last weekend practically every sporting event was inundated with commemoration of the Veterans of US wars. As was the orginal intent of its original name Armistice Day, the day should motivate somber reflection and an honest assessment of just what US veterans of wars have been asked to do.
“Thank you for your service,” people say to the veterans of wars fought for almost anything but “our” that is working folks interests. While the impulse to honor and respect those who would lay down their lives for others is understandable. in this case it is nevertheless misguided.
Moreover US Service men and women are not in our employ but in the employ and service of US imperialism the ruling families, the Corporate heads, the Big Banks and to a lesser extent the military industrial complex and all who feed at the US military defense trough.
In the same vein, responses to the Colin Kaepernick anthem protest highlights the misconception that the veterans of US wars were “defending our freedoms.”
The sheer repetition and the general acceptance of this assertion does not make it true.
In fact it is far from the truth the last time soldiers have defended our freedom was when the Union responded when attacked by the Confederacy at Fort Sumter.
A quick glance at recent US Wars indicate they were not fought in defense of the country. In fact they were fought for the military industrial complex the pentagon, the corporations, the Big Banks in a word the ruling families. It accomplished lots of things like expanding new markets for US goods, acquired new materials and minerals for the market and finally it sends the message that US imperialism is not to be challenged, but it has little to do with our freedoms.
Consider that with the exception of World War II (which was also fought by working people on behalf of their respective Bourgeoisie) all US wars have been wars of aggression.
Was the US attacked or threatened by North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and to a lesser extent Pakistan? The answer is a resounding no!
Defense was not the motivation for the myriad of other lesser known or little remembered interventions in Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. They were little more than Imperialist interventions; gangsterism by means of the State.
Consequently, what makes this misconception that US troops are fighting in our defense so pernicious is that real people suffered in this imaginary defense.Lots of people were either killed maimed or displaced. Human beings were murdered, wounded and made refugees. US soldiers were not defending themselves against these peoples, but rather the peoples attacked were defending themselves against the US military, which had violated their sovereignty and invaded their country.
Those peoples who been victimized by US soldiers (supposedly defending our freedoms) surely have a different take on all this and may sometimes be tempted to wonder what kind of people are these that would let their young be so easily used to commit such unspeakable acts.
November 11 the original Armistice Day, was meant to be a day for reflection and remembrance of how savage, barbaric and ghastly war could be. It was set aside to glory in and admire peace.
Those who fought in WWI were simply sicced on one another, they had no previous grievances, all of the participants shared the same lot in life. They worked for a living and had all been either at the mercy of the earth, as they sought to tame it to feed themselves or were at the mercy of the industrialists, who also had to be softened to assure that workers could eat and enjoy a little of the produce of their sweat.
US president Woodrow Wilson said when pronouncing the holiday in the US in 1919, “in America the reflections of Armistice Day [is significant] because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The point of the observation was to renunciate war once and for all. Of course because of the ravenous appetite of global capitalism it was inevitable that the carnage be repeated in the form of World War Two and with a vengeance.
Soldiers from WWI have been recorded as saying they heard the voice of God when hostilities ceased.
Years ago those opposed to the Iraq War naively chanted at anti-war protests, “Peace is patriotic.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Peace and advocates of peace are not seen as patriotic but “problematic” by those who seek to tame and conquer the world for the sake of profit, by any means necessary.
Next Veterans Day we should honor those who have suffered and or served by doing all we can to bring about peace, even if that means ushering in a system designed to do just that, because this system is not designed for peace. And we should honor the holiday by telling the truth and cease offering up our young as cannon fodder to those who barely look out for their welfare at home.
justice then peace