By Dave Lindorff
US Southcom troops propping up the empire in South America
(Image by Department of Defense) Permission Details DMCA
I was in the grocery store a while back when, after my items were tabulated, the checkout clerk asked, "Would you like to contribute to the Wounded Warriors fund?"
I glanced at the line of people to my left -- a little cross-section of America -- and feeling a little skeptical about how they'd respond, I said, "No I don't think so. I'd rather put my money towards some anti-war organization working to try and make sure that there are no more wounded soldiers, and to relief organizations that are supporting the hundreds of thousands of victims of America's illegal wars abroad."
The clerk looked a little taken aback and muttered "okay," but to my surprise nobody spoke up in the line. I was expecting at least one person to call me out as a "terrorist supporter" or a "commie" or who knows what, but instead there was just silence.
Maybe people were thinking about it. Maybe they just didn't know how to react.
But in any case I think it's past time that we on the anti-war left started making it clear that this glorification of American wars, the thanking of people in uniform for their "service," and the blind acceptance of the prevailing argument that everyone in the military is "defending our freedom," has to be challenged at every opportunity.
Look at the map of the globe. According to Nick Turse, writing in the Nation magazine and quoting information from Ken McGraw, a spokesman for troops are fighting in the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, US Special Forces are stationed in 177 countries, and on any given day are conducting missions -- actual or training missions -- in 80-90 of them. As we saw recently with the deaths of several Green Berets in Niger, even members of Congress with a need-to-know responsibility, like those on the Intelligence Committees and Armed Services Committees of the House and Senate, don't know (or claim they don't know) where all those operations and those Special Forces are.
As well, US troops are fighting hot wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria, most of them completely illegal, like most of the Special Operations actions, and the drone wars in a host of other countries from Pakistan and Yemen to Somalia, Sudan and, of course Syria again.