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How do you keep your son from being brainwashed by the war racket?

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"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.... It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.... It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many."

What general said that? Major Gen. Smedley Butler, a decorated WWI general, did so in 1935. His entire essay is here.

I just learned of Gen. Butler's beliefs from an essay by Cindy Sheehan here. She also discusses something close to home, about how boys learn some positive skills in the Boy Scouts, but they are also groomed for the military.

Like Cindy's son, Casey, I was an Eagle Scout and often refer to Boy Scouts as the junior military. We were organized in patrols with troop leaders and taught to stand at attention, salute those in higher positions, and not to question authority. Sure, we did some good community service projects, such as clean up creeks and abandoned cemeteries.

But we also had it drummed into us to be loyal to the USA and carry out whatever mission we were handed without question. We sung songs that referred to homeless people as "bums." We wrote letters to then-President Nixon supporting his escalation of the war on Vietnam, although we were not told the truth about Nixon's escalation of that war.

The brainwashing was such that by age 18 I thought I had to volunteer for the marines to carry out my duties as a good citizen. I went through the recruiting process, aced the tests, and took the physical. But something made me stop at that point and enroll in a college. And that's when my real education began, after I wrote a story on someone who questioned the government's version of who killed JFK.

My son is 6, and I'm not sure I want him to join the Cub Scouts. I want him to serve not just this nation, but the world, and I'm not sure the Cub/Boy Scouts organization furthers that. I'd like him to get involved in international organizations, ones that try to get beyond the walls of nationalism, that question authority figures and
work against power-mad empire supporters. I'm not sure the UN even does that these days.

I want him to be strong, to stand up for his beliefs, and know that in doing that, strength doesn't have to be measured in terms of who has the biggest weapons. It often takes more courage to buck the tide and choose not to fight in an offensive, empire-driven war than to go
along with your peers.

Where do you learn that? Maybe through reading essays like Gen. Butler's and Cindy Sheehan's.
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Jackson Thoreau is the pen name of a Washington, D.C.-area journalist/writer. Books include Not Our President: The Movement for Democracy and Against GOP Fascism [updated in 2022], The King of the Internet [2019], and Born to (more...)

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