Are you tired of dancing to the same old beat? You should be. That’s because, after the drums of war are beaten, you’re next.
We once followed the drumbeat to Iraq. First we had the now infamous WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then we had, “Saddam Hussein is a really mean guy who gassed his own people.” Then… of forget it. You know the story. There’s no point in repeating it here. But the war in Iraq, “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” cost the United States somewhere between one and two trillion dollars, depending on whose estimate you believe.
Then the drums told us that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in the mountains in Afghanistan… so we took the war machine there (while still knee deep in blood, theirs and ours, in Iraq), supposedly to bring Bin Laden to justice. This was the country that had whipped the Soviet Union after a ten year, brutal invasion. And remember… the Soviets were right across the border and didn’t have to ship their forces halfway around the world.
Bin Laden wasn’t there.
What did we learn? I mean, We, the people of the United States, not the war mongers. We learned that there is always a justification, and that justification will probably turn out to be false.
We are now being told that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and North Korea is improving their already-existing nuclear capability. These things might even be true. Hmmm… I remember a justification for the nuclear buildup of the Cold War that said something about, “mutually assured destruction.” Hmmm… It seems to me that the leaders of Iran and North Korea would have to know that the destruction would be about 99 to 1 in our favor.
But the military-industrial-congressional complex want us to be afraid. That way we will keep shoveling money into their pockets. This while the same people want to do away with social security, public education, the Affordable Care and Patient Protection act, etc. These things return value to the majority of the people, instead of enriching the super-minority.
We have gone light-years past “defense.” Remember when the Department of Defense was called the Department of War? That was a lot more honest. Now, the war-investors who profit from both killing and simply preparing to kill (W.E.B. DuBois said: “The cause of war is preparation for war.”) are drooling like Pavlov’s dogs. “Another war’s about to start! Maybe two! Yay!”
But we won’t hear any of that on TV, or in the papers. What we’ll hear is macho talk about America’s “strength,” and scary talk about how easy it could be for scary people out there to hurt us. Inconsistent you say? So what?
What we’ll hear is about how the leaders of these countries are “craaaaazy.” “Why, they’d lob a nuke our way even knowing they’ll lose! Just to make a point! Or even to martyr themselves! We have to get them before they get us!!!”
To question this line of BS will be “unpatriotic.” You have to be for a “stronger” America, otherwise you’re for a “weaker” America. When will we be strong enough? Silly question. It’s like asking a bodybuilder when he’ll have enough muscle. “Dude, if I can just build up my gastrocs a little bit more, I’ll be golden.”
So, the bugle call will sound, and the “patriots” among us will answer without question. But what I love about my country is exactly that: the ability and the will to question, and to learn. I have only one hope for our future…
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.