Here I am, once again, trapped between Memorial Day and the 4th of July, holidays that might be used for honest public education and never are.
Once a U.S. Army psychologist fresh out of graduate school during the Vietnam War, let me now offer a reflection on two holidays that sadly reinforce our national misdirection. I propose instead sober, fearless examinations the other 363 days each year on our endless imperial wars, with these two days reserved for two days off to imagine what life might feel like without them.
I deplore exclusive focus on America's war dead rather than the far, far greater numbers America has killed in our nearly continuous wars of choice. The aggregate death toll in Southeast Asia in the 1970s inflicted by direct, indirect and proxy US aggression and political destabilization in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia was approximately 7,650,000. U.S. deaths in Indochina were 58,220. In our gratuitously justified "War on Terror," Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated 1.3 million Muslims killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan while some 6,800 Americans died.
That estimate excluded our destruction of Libya and long proxy war on Syria. In 2018 Seymour Hersch stated that we were "conducting war in 76 countries." Our victims deserve at least six to ten months of continuous memorial days to one day of ours, and our appropriate national mood should be not only grief but profound remorse.
We enact an endlessly repeated pathological cultural script, not a moral growth curve, not cultural maturation. In a 1933 speech, the once most decorated Marine in US history, Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, recounted, "I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
In his 1935 book, War is a Racket, Butler continued "A few profit - and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war."
We don't vote for these wars. Why? Our system, explained Princeton political theorist Sheldon Wolin, is not democracy but "inverted totalitarianism" where industrial capitalism controls the state rather than old-fashioned fascism where the state dictated industrial agendas. Humanity faces great challenges, and the solutions cannot be found through its dissolution into the technocratic nightmare envisioned by globalists. To mature as complex, diverse human cultures we must dismantle the propaganda machine propelling our common resources into self-degrading international violence.
Less innocent than they appear, holidays serve mythic agendas. Heroic tales supplant essential facts. America's relentless imperial militarism is never examined. This complacency-disturbing knowledge must be incorporated into all American History curricula, just as all German students now study the Holocaust.
The honorable way to honor veterans and battles won is to stop producing the former and provoking the latter, to discontinue the PTSD-evoking explosive holiday displays, and to dishonor our many wars - overt, covert, siege and proxy - for the political domination and resource control of other peoples decried by General Butler almost 90 years ago.