It' highly debatable if wars are winnable and what constitutes real victory. That's because wars by their very nature are violent, brutal, and inhumane undertakings with one sole objective -- which side can kill the most people bearing arms and force an end to the senseless shooting match. Trouble is BOTH winners and losers, in the strict sense of the words, lose since the scope of the killings by the victor when compared to those of loser is only in the morbid numbers (casualties we call them).
Wars are also traumatic events since they are almost always fought by poor and working people and instigated and egged on by a tiny group of people that profit immensely from their prosecution. Sure, there is the jingoistic, "we have bigger and better guns than you," our nation is exceptional and we're on the side of righteousness moral justification arguments. But it's simple to understand wars and their use in human society.
First, we must strip away the notion that that only cause is that human beings are an inherently violently species of animal -- factual though that is. Second, we need to understand that in the context of war there are groups of people who will do the killing and dying and a tiny, privileged group that will direct the carnage and whose children will never face down an enemy's AK-47. And thirdly, and most importantly, all of the foregoing begs the crucial questions: who benefits from war and do wars serve any real meaning and progressive purpose?
Let us look at a bit of forgotten American history on this Memorial Day. The Vietnam War lasted 25 years, and today the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been ongoing for 27 years with no perceivable end in sight. The Trump administration is wrapping our endless war in Afghanistan in secrecy and in the process shattering the lives of millions of Americans and Afghans in what was and still is a fool's errand. That's good to remember on Memorial Day when the president and America's ruling class wax hypocritical about "dead (fallen) soldiers giving their lives for our freedom."
What a load of unadulterated hypocrisy, arrogance, and crass cynicism!
The truth, obfuscated by years of slick public relations and messaging, is far more mundane and unflattering. Ask yourself this: Who threatens American freedom at home? The Taliban? ISIS? Al-Qaeda? NONE of these organizations have a navy, air force or a B-52 bomber or an aircraft carrier from which to fire cruise missiles. None have nuclear bombs. None even have standing armies or Special Forces or the money to prosecute a successful war against a superpower armed to the teeth and about with American presidents boast about "the finest and most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen."
So pardon me, I fail to see the threat to "our freedom and way of life." Yes, America has enemies, and to be sure, acts and threats of terrorism are real -- many created precisely by American actions and biased foreign policy. But NONE of these players can undermine or threaten American freedom. That's just a propaganda myth, pure spin and conjecture packaged and sold to a gullible audience by warmongers and profiteers.
In fact, it took decades for America to come to grips with the folly and idiocy that was the Vietnam war, but, after all was said and done, it was abundantly clear that Iraq and Afghanistan were also a disastrous fool's errand before the shooting even began. Yet we invaded both countries anyway, and still, we remain hated occupiers so many years later, because war is what America does.
On this Memorial Day, I submit that war is one of America's major exports, a vital economic engine, the hub to which all the spokes of our national wheel are attached, and it is visibly cracking. You can't just steal $6 trillion from a country in just over 20 years and fail to have a brutal negative impact on every fabric of society. Still, that $6 trillion is just loose change compared to what American overseas military adventures have squandered on permanent, endless wars since 1947.
You see, every bomb dropped, every missile launched, every bullet fired, everybody bag filled, represents money that once belonged to the American taxpayer but is transferred to a small group of wealthy war profiteers insulated from the very wars they prosecute and egg on with such alacrity and reckless abandon. Indeed, the theft is generational in scope and affects everything from the poor quality of care for the broken and bruised veterans that have been discarded as so much junk. It's reflected in the callous disregard for the senseless slaughter and cheapening of human life in the rabid pursuit of profit. And it's reflected in the crocodile tears and highfalutin, lofty pseudo-kudos that will be regurgitated by the mainstream media over and over on this Memorial Day.
So today all over America some families will remember their loved ones killed in America's many wars. There will be people making money on the thousands of flags that will be flown to reinforce the notion of individual patriotism. Oh yes. And barbeques will be organized all over the place as if charred meat, hot dogs, and hamburgers are somehow what will appease the military dead. The president and the military brass will lay wreaths, speak eloquently about the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and then go about their merry ways secure in the fact that making others do the fighting for them while they rake in more and more money, and that the American people will continue to support these endless wars.
Yeah. Afghanistan and Iraq. America's endless wars undergird the same profit motive and are shrouded and packaged in the same set of worn out, vapid and empty promises.