No Good Wars: Militarism Poisoned American Culture and Still A Global Threat | East Bay Express
War spits hell out in all directions. Just ask the guys at Talon Anvil, a secret American “strike cell” recently exposed by the New York Times as a unit notorious for ignoring rules of engagement and killing many civilians with drone strikes as it plays war with ISIS.
Part of the problem, a source told the Time, is that “the daily demands of strike after strike surveillance seemed to erode the operators’ perspective and unravel their humanity.”
In other words, participating in America’s never-ending war on terrorism has turned them into… terrorists. An example: Early one morning, as a Predator drone flew over the Syrian farming town of Karama, the operators focused on a particular building which they decided, with virtually no evidence, was an “enemy training center.” , and dropped a 500-pound machine. bomb through the roof.
“As the smoke cleared,” a former officer told the Time:
“… His team stared at their screens in dismay. Infrared cameras showed women and children staggering out of the partially collapsed building, some limbs missing, others dragging the dead.
“Intelligence analysts have started taking screenshots and counting casualties. They sent Talon Anvil an initial combat damage assessment: 23 dead or seriously injured, 30 slightly injured, most likely civilians. Talon Anvil paused just long enough to acknowledge the message, the former officer said, then walked over to the next target.
Oh, frayed humanity! Here’s what didn’t happen: The operators were looking at what they had just done from the perspective of the victims. It would have represented more than just “disarray”.
What I mean here is that war is a collective enterprise. Multiply that incident by the size of the US military budget – practically half of the country’s discretionary spending, about $ 1 trillion a year, in all. And the money is still there, ready and waiting for the security state to consume. The endless lie is that he protects us. Imagine, once again, “women and children staggering out of the partly collapsed building, some missing limbs, some dragging the dead,” and relish the security you have now.
William astore, considering the endless growth of the defense budget despite the collapse of our official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, three decades ago, asks:
“Why, then, is it that each year [National Defense Authorization Act] rising ever higher in the troposphere, blowing the wind and poisoning our culture of militarism? Because, to state the obvious, Congress would rather engage in spending on pork barrels than exercise any real oversight over the national security state. “
The key words could be these: poison our culture with militarism.
When we wage war, we dehumanize – then kill – a specific segment of humanity. In the process, we “unravel” our own humanity… we become less human ourselves, and therefore more in tune with the evil we claim to be erasing. This is what is happening to us right now. How is our culture poisoned?
One obvious way is the rate of veterinarian suicides: around 60,000 over the past decade. And of course, there is the alleged militarism of the Armed Lost Souls, which makes mass murder a recurring feature of the daily news flow. Add hate crimes. Add in the industrial prison complex:
“The prison industry in the United States is massive and growing,” according to the American Friends Service Committee:
“Since 1970, the number of people incarcerated in the United States has increased by 700%, to the point that the American prison population is the largest in the world, both per capita and in total number. In 2019, there were an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars and 4.5 million people on probation or parole. The estimated cost of America’s mass incarceration system is $ 182 billion a year, with hundreds of private companies competing for contracts with the government.
Our enemies are everywhere! They are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. They congregate at our southern border. And they are at home here, crammed into ghettos and areas of poverty. By waging war, we dehumanize the world, thus breaking its complex interdependence. It doesn’t make us any more secure.
Even the “good war” has not made us safer, although it is the trophy cup that defenders of militarism still wield today. Consider this observation of Paul Tritschler on one of our last WWII bombing campaigns:
He writes that in March 1945:
“… Seemingly endless waves of B-29s roared across Tokyo, dropping a million bombs containing 2,000 tons of incendiary devices. In less than three hours, more than 100,000 people died and a million were left homeless. The firebombing of 67 towns over the next five months resulted in the deaths of at least half a million people – a deliberate policy of eliminating civilians living in the poorest densely populated neighborhoods. Without remorse, US Air Force General Curtis LeMay openly said, “They were burned, boiled and cooked to death. While that didn’t dampen their excitement, the bomber crews said the stench of burnt flesh rose high in the air, forcing them to use oxygen masks to avoid vomiting. At the end of that five month period came atomic destruction.
It’s not about blaming. It is not about shame. It’s about change. We still have our finger on the nuclear trigger. Robert koehler ([email protected]), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is an award-winning Chicago journalist and editor. He is the author of “Courage grows with injury”.