Sunday, October 24, 2010

A perilous and egregious journey of wars without end

We began our nation’s proclaimed journey of freedom in Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775; it was also when America began its journey of wars without end. The American Revolution was a war fought to gain our independence from Great Britain, but it also projected our country into a mindset that war is the only tool that will protect our salvation and secure our freedom. Belligerence and war increasingly have been central to our Foreign Relations policy, creating an international and national identity that associates America with militarism and war.

Even our national anthem is not about exalting America’s beauty and its people; instead it pays tribute to war. “The Star Spangled Banner,” is actually an old British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The song was set with lyrics from “Defender of Fort McHenry," a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy during the War of 1812. Wouldn’t “America The Beautiful,” an American original, be more appropriate to the perspective of a beneficent America than a British barroom drinking song celebrating a victorious war?

Right from our nation’s outset, as proclaimed by Chris Hedges, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” Our journey of freedom has created “A World Made by War.” Today, as expressed by Tom Engelhardt, in “American Warscapes,” America is “in a state of eternal war as well as living in a permanent war state, that, to face a ragtag enemy of a few thousand stateless terrorists, the national security establishment in Washington would pump itself up to levels not faintly reached when facing the Soviet Union, a major power with thousands of nuclear weapons and an enormous military, that “homeland” -- a distinctly un-American word -- would land in our vocabulary never to leave, and that a second Defense Department dubbed the Department of Homeland Security would be set up not to be dismantled in my lifetime, that torture (excuse me, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’) would become as American as apple pie and that some of those “techniques” would actually be demonstrated to leading Bush administration officials inside the White House, that we would pour money into the Pentagon at ever escalating levels even after the economy crashed in 2008, that we would be fighting two potentially trillion-dollar-plus wars without end in two distant lands, that we would spend untold billions constructing hundreds of military bases in those same lands, that the CIA would be conducting the first drone air war in history over a country we were officially not at war with, that most of us would live in a remarkable state of detachment from all of this, …”

This journey, so far, has inculcated Americans with the preposterous illusion that we can have wars to end wars, wars for peace, and good wars, because somehow its God will, in which we attribute all evil to others, and to worship a God who saves us by killing others and that suffering is a road to all salvation. The journey has given us a country where peace means war, freedom means subjection, and congressional representation only means a new and modern form of tyranny.

It’s a journey that has brought us to a place where we react on emotion instead of on proactive rational thought. Instead of reacting to all previous indications of our peril proactively, September 11, 2001 stirred the drums of war and so America reacted. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not motivate the Greatest Generation because of the atrocities of Hitler; it took Pearl Harbor to call the Greatest Generation to take action against Japan and even then it took Germany’s declaration of war against America to bring us into the fray.

“You can make a difference by opening your mind to the ‘War Without End’ that rages daily around you, hidden in plain sight, disguised by media manipulation …,” – and disguised by government.

You can make a difference by promoting peace with an understanding that peace is a process and that war is not a path but a blockade to it. Our journey has not ended and over time we can change our journey’s direction.