"An empire is an immense egotism," said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
For the past 45 years, the United States, with 570,000 military personnel on 700 bases in 120 countries maintained (s) an empire around the world. America created the Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq Wars. Deaths mounted into the millions. Human suffering registered off the Richter scale of misery.
All of their deaths and our deaths amounted to nothing with a meaning of nothing. All could have been avoided with more intelligent minds at work for peaceful co-existence on this planet.
Fifteen years ago, Osama bin Laden demanded that America retreat from Muslim lands. We ignored him. The Muslim world did not want us in their lands. Bin Laden didn't want Western culture "polluting" Islamic law and culture. Muslims view America as the "Great Satan" of the Western world. Our women wear what they please. We celebrate in Las Vegas. We encourage women to vote, to speak, seek divorce, to teach, to be independent and run for political office. We accept all races, creeds and colors. We accept homosexuals. We do not allow honor killings, female genital mutilation, promote suicide bombings or arranged marriages.
We failed to leave. Osama bin Laden exacted his revenge. We may have killed him, but we are slowly and effectively killing our civilization. All empires decline from over-extension. Examples: Great Britain, Rome, France, Athens, Germany, Spain and others.
Empires, as Thucydides understood, are diseases. Thucydides said, "The tyranny that the Athenian empire imposed on others, it finally imposed on itself. The disease of empire, according to Thucydides, "Would finally kill Athenian democracy. And the disease of empire, the disease of nationalism " these of course are mirrored in the anarchic violence of these groups, but one that locks us in a kind of frightening death spiral."
As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges said, "I despair that we as a country, as Nietzsche understood, have become a monster that we are attempting to fight."
Nonetheless, the military industrial complex in America wins out in every battle against those who promote peace. Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, George Bush I and George Bush II started wars that did nothing but bring massive deaths and casualties to other human beings and Americans. They accomplished nothing whatsoever for freedom or human life.
Goering at the Nuremberg Trials said, "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."
Is any American looking at what our own government does to us every decade? What exactly are we fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan? Answer: money, power and greed! None of those wars has anything to do with freedom or terror or rational thinking.
"Nothing is actually resolved, nothing concluded, and nothing to be celebrated in taking away life," said journalist David Swanson in "War is a Crime." "If we want something to celebrate here, we should celebrate the end of one of the pieces of war propaganda that has driven the past decade of brutality and death. But I'm not going to celebrate that until appropriate actions follow. Nothing makes for peace like ceasing to wage war. Now would be an ideal time to give that a try. Our senseless wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya must be ended. Keeping bin Laden alive and threatening, assisted in keeping the war machine churning its bloody way through cities and flesh for years. No wonder President Bush was not interested in tracking bin Laden down."
At what point will Americans sicken of their perpetrating war on other countries, on millions of other people and the contamination of our world with bombs, poisons, anger and revenge? How can we call it good when we killed over 100,000 and up to 200,000 Iraqis? How about the 2.0 million we killed in Vietnam in 10 years. How about the 100,000 or so in Korea? How about the 175,000 documented suicides by U.S. combat troops after having left Vietnam? How about the projected 100,000 U.S. combat troop suicides projected from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? What exactly was the point, purpose and reason?
How can the American people be so easily duped, led over a cliff and jingoistically convinced that they are the chosen ones to go about killing so many other people in self-righteous egoism?
When the American military industrial complex cooks up the next war, and Obama or name-your-president decides to blow up another civilization, what will you say and what will you do? If the past is any indication of the present, you will probably remain a sheep like the rest of America. You will send young men to die in war for nothing.