(Cross-posted at Wild Wild Left)
On Memorial Day, remember the fallen victims of every war. Remember America’s fallen soldiers, remember their names, remember their families, remember the loved ones they left behind. But above all else, remember how the blood, death, and fire of war are unleashed, remember why they are unleashed, remember who does the unleashing, who glorifies it, and who profits from it.
The process is always the same. It exploits human weakness, triggers the tribal instincts within us, incites anger, and forges it into hatred. The politicians claim a dangerous enemy is determined to destroy the homeland, they talk about patriotism, they talk about God, they talk about the greatness of their nation, the glory of their culture, the sanctity of their ideology or religion. They say the enemy is evil and deserves destruction. The flags are waved and the guns are loaded. The generals are summoned and given their orders. And then the killing begins.
When I was a young man I carried me pack,
And I lived the free life of the rover,
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback,
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It’s time to stop rambling, there’s work to be done,
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun,
And they sent me away to the war . . . . . .
There’s work to be done.
That’s what America’s young men were told. In 1950. In 1965. In 1989 and 1991 and 2001. There was work to be done at the 38th Parallel. There was work to be done in the Mekong Valley. There was work to be done in Panama. There was work to be done in Baghdad and Kabul and Kandahar. That’s what they were told.
Then the politicians gave them a tin hat, and gave them a gun.
And sent them away to the war.