“He knew what he signed up for,” is what President Trump told the widow and the family of deceased Marine Sgt LaDavid Johnson. But did he? Do others know that when they sign up for the US military they are not serving in the interest of their families and working class compatriots, but rather the interests of the .1 percent.; the interests of US empire?
Did Sgt Johnson sign up to have his family and his wife disrespected and his very service taken lightly? No doubt he did not.
Did Sergeant Johnson sign up to help the US government exploit the material and mineral resources of Africa and other foreign countries on behalf of the US ruling class? Probably not!
The US military has not defended the interests of the US working class since Pearl Harbor was bombed. And even that conflict was between the ruling classes, which the working classes were used as cannon fodder. Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, North Korea and to a lesser extent interventions in Grenada, Haiti, Panama, the bombing of Libya, drone warfare were all conducted for the sake of power, money and the forced acquisition of material resources like oil, gold, uranium, etc.
The vast majority of young people who sign up for military service, do so out of practical considerations, material advancement, vocational training, or simply to get out of poverty. Sgt Johnson appears to be no exception. The kid from Miami Gardens apparently was looking for a way to advance himself.
This phenomena used to be referred to as the “poverty draft.” The Poverty Draft: Recruiting The Working Class To The Frontlines http://nefac.net/node/313
It wasn’t uncommon years ago for parents of Black, Brown and Native young adults to encourage their young people to go into the “Service,” where they could possibly have a career and even retire with a military pension.
Surely Sgt. Johnson an African American descendent of slaves did not envision when he enlisted, going to Africa to either kill Africans or exploit African resources for the sake of the US ruling class. He certainly wasn’t defending “OUR freedoms,” in Africa!
Surely Sgt Johnson’s enslaved African ancestors, who were brought to this country in chains hundreds of years ago and forced to work as chattel, did not envision that their descendants would free themselves from slavery and neo slavery, so that they would turn around and serve again their European ruling class masters by exploiting the riches of the African continent itself and do so “voluntarily.”
The irony is overwhelming.
Sergeant Johnson lost his life in Niger, Africa which is rich in uranium and is the site of recent gold strikes. But the US is “officially” there building a drone base and attempting to halt the advance of ISIS. The US through AFRICOM has military bases all over sub-Saharan Africa thanks to former president Barack Obama.
What has been reported is that Sgt Johnson’s Green Beret unit was ambushed by a Saharan ISIS group. The soldiers were rescued by a French helicopter. (What are the French doing there?) But Sgt Johnson was not ferried out with the other US troops. He was left behind and apparently still alive, but was found two days later about a mile away from the ambush.
It is not clear why Johnson was left behind. Could it be that he was mis-identified as one of the Africans and not a US soldier? Imagine the irony.
Did the Sergeant sign up for this? It is indeed doubtful! He and others indeed deserve credit for fighting on behalf of a ruling class that has not being able to provide them and their families and their fellow countrymen with, equal pay (for women), affordable healthcare, quality public education (for everyone), living wages, economic fairness or racial justice.
Johnson comes from Miami Dade County where extrajudicial killing by the police is a problem, yet he served a government which has shown little interest in ending this injustice. And it appears a large percentage of his fellow Americans, who he is supposedly defending could care less as well.
Apparently, over a half million dollars have been raised to pay for his three children’s college education. Aspersions should not be cast on the good deed, but one can’t help but suspect because of the speed in which it was raised, that some folks kicked in because they see Sgt. Johnson as “our kind of guy” a “good Black” because he died in the service of the White power structure. Contrast his being hailed as a hero with the portrayal of those other awful ungrateful Negroes “taking a knee.”
Maybe Sgt Johnson didn’t know, maybe he did, but young people considering joining the US Armed Forces should know exactly what “they are signing up for.”
justice then peace