Sunday, March 25, 2012

America's Wars: Creating a Historical Legacy of Shame and Dishonor

by Michael Payne

Is there no end to these endless, misguided wars that are bringing shame and dishonor upon this nation? How much longer will this nation waste its wealth and resources on the proliferation of unjustifiable wars? The image that America now projects to the world is that of a warring nation, one that settles its differences with other nations, not by diplomacy, but by military force.

Those shameless war profiteers who dominate our nation's capitol are people who have no conscience and have, long ago, lost their moral foundations. Money and power are what drives them and if their sordid agenda results in the needless loss of lives of people in other nations and our troops, it bothers them not in the least. They live in their own world of wealth and privilege, with not the slightest concern for their fellow human beings.

World War II, in which America played the leading role, was essentially a defensive war in that it was initiated as a result of attacks on our European allies and on this nation at Pearl Harbor. Now our wars are no longer based on defensive measures but have been transformed into pre-emptive military actions that were instituted by the Bush/Cheney administration.

That Bush/Cheney tandem created a totally misguided doctrine that called for pre-emptive military attacks on any nation that was suspected of having the slightest intention to harm America in some way; this doctrine made it entirely justifiable to attack any such nation and occupy it. And, of course, in following this doctrine it was also of great benefit if the nation in question happened to be led by some sort of villain or dictator.

In recent times, our military went to war against these countries and the designated villains who led them; Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and the Taliban in Afghanistan. In years past it was Ho Chi Minh of North Vietnam. Question: which of these countries did, in fact, first launch a military attack on America? Answer: none of them, not one. Right now the villain of choice is Mahmoud Ahmadinejead, the president of Iran. Israel, possessing no concrete evidence that Iran is building a nuclear bomb, is trying hard to convince the U.S. to join it in launching a pre-emptive attack on that nation.

Sure there are enemies in the world that want to harm this nation and its people; there will always be threats of this kind but a nation as powerful as the U.S. can deal with any and all of them if it just uses logic and reason instead of a bull in the China shop mindset. By now the military leadership should have learned that the use of     massive armies to fight insurgents or hidden terrorists doesn't work; but that is still what they do because the profiteers absolutely need them in order to sustain the monumental profits that wars generate.

The War on Terror has caused a great deal of destruction in two distinctly different ways. On the one hand it has resulted in the deaths of many members of various designated enemies, together with hundreds of innocent civilians, and far too many of our troops. On the other hand it has also resulted in the destruction of many of the freedoms and rights of the American people -- it has spawned the Patriot Act, the recent presidential executive order where, under certain circumstances, an American under suspicion may be treated the same as a terrorist, and the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which, for all practical purposes, circumvents habeas corpus. And there are more restrictions on our civil liberties in the works.

The mainstream news is filled with articles about the U.S. Army sergeant who, allegedly, was responsible for the cruel, inhuman deaths of those 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children. As expected, we are hearing all sorts of possible justifiable excuses for what he is said to have done. This is standard procedure for the Army when an incident like this happens in order to try to minimize the damage to its own reputation. And, as we have seen many times in other cases, the trial or court martial often results in some kind of minimal punishment.

What some objective journalists are positing is that he was not alone in killing these innocent people and that up to 10 or 15 other U.S. troops were also involved. We don't know the details yet and this could be a huge cover up because of the fear that if there were actually that many of our troops involved, it could unleash a firestorm of revenge that could make the current highly volatile and unstable conditions in Afghanistan spin completely out of control. When the troop withdrawal from that nation proceeds and more and more of them leave, those troops that remain could be virtual sitting ducks for those who are waiting to exact violent revenge.

One thing is absolutely certain. If America still had a military draft, as it did during the Vietnam War, this war in Afghanistan would have been ended before now. I once had the experience of being drafted into the army but I certainly wouldn't want to see young Americans drafted and sent into needless, unjustifiable wars. My point is, that if a draft was in place today, parents and college students, just as they did in the Vietnam War, would be enraged at what was happening, and would be demanding that this war be ended.

And speaking of a military draft, in recent times I haven't heard any call for one coming from the government or the military and the reason is pretty clear. They don't need a draft because they have plenty of Americans who can't find any kind of work that pays a decent wage and the unemployed are easy targets for military recruitment. Secondly, the military leaders remember the protests over Vietnam and they have no intention of ever letting the American people rise up in such outrage against war.

Why is it that our government and our military never seem to learn important lessons from the disastrous results of wars and occupations such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Currently the news if full of reports that Israel is ready to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. President Obama is being pressured and intimidated by the Israeli government, its powerful American lobby, AIPAC, and war hawks in Congress. It is high time that he stands up to all of them and finally does something that has become foreign to this government; he needs to use reason, logic and rationality and immediately begin the process of using negotiations and diplomacy to bring this situation under control. War can no longer be the only answer and the first option.

The cowardly proliferators of war, while raking in their obscene blood tainted profits are also causing these tragedies; they are sending young Americans into these wars in which many of them end up killing innocent civilians; as a result they are recruiting many thousands of new enemies who are killing American troops in revenge; and they are causing thousands of our troops to become brain-damaged, gravely disabled or victims of suicide. They are in the business of exchanging lives for profits and they thrive on it.

Our Founding Fathers gave birth to our nation and built the foundations of our democracy; they established a lasting legacy for which we will ever be thankful and proud. Our current corrupted, dysfunctional politicians that are embedded in our nation's capitol are working hard to dismantle and destroy those foundations that many generations of Americans worked so hard to strengthen.

America has now made almost a 180 degree turn from what it stood for during those times when patriots such as Washington, Adams, Jefferson and others led our nation. Those who lead our nation today, individually and collectively, are cut out of a different cloth; most of them, with a few exceptions, are the antithesis of our Founding Fathers and the honor that they exemplified. When modern-day history is written it should reserve a special category for these facilitators of war in a volume entitled "Those Who Brought Great Shame and Dishonor Upon America."

War offers no solutions to problems, it only creates more; it is the answer to nothing, it leads to nothing but death, destruction on all sides and then brings shame and disgrace upon those who wage it -- and those who willingly condone it. America once had the potential to go down in history as the greatest of nations; one in which the term American Exceptionalism might have become a reality. But that is not to be as any hope of such a historical legacy is now in the process of being destroyed.

America is moving into an era of great danger as honor and integrity are being replaced by greed, corruption and a lust for profits; that is more than shameful and dishonorable, it is totally unconscionable.

Michael Payne

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