Behind the fear-mongering, flag-waving and lies of George W. Bush and the blandishments of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama lies the ugly reality that our leaders have been seduced by political ambition, delusions of military superiority, and the promise of secrecy and impunity. This enables them to commit otherwise unthinkable war crimes, all on the basis of lies.
As Chris Hedges points out in his latest article, on average one child every day dies in war-related violence in Afghanistan. Children die in roadside explosions. They die in airstrikes. They die after militants lure them to carry suicide bombs, usually without their knowledge. They die in firefights. They are executed by the Taliban after being accused, sometimes correctly, of spying for the Afghan National Army. They are tiny pawns in a futile and endless war. They are robbed of their childhood. Because of the decisions made by our politicians, they live in fear and surrounded by the terror of indiscriminate violence. The United Nations, whose most recent report on children in Afghanistan covered a two-year period from Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 30, 2010, estimates that in the first half of last year at least 176 children were killed and 389 more wounded. But the real number is probably much, much higher. There are big parts of the country where research can no longer be carried out. Meanwhile, the president of the country is making backroom deals with our enemy, the Taliban.
We will not stop the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we will not end this slaughter of innocents, unless we are willing to rise up as have state workers in Wisconsin and citizens on the streets of Arab capitals. Repeated and sustained acts of civil disobedience are the only weapons that remain to us. Our political system is as broken and dysfunctional as that once presided over in Egypt by Hosni Mubarak. We must be willing to accept personal discomfort, to put our bodies in the way of the machine, if we hope to expose the lies of war and blunt the abuse by corporate profiteers. To do nothing, to refuse to act, to be passive, is, as Chris points out, and as Martin King pointed out, to be an agent of injustice and to be complicit in murder. The U.N. report estimates that during the two-year period it studied, almost 1,800 children were killed or injured in conflict-related violence, but numbers can never begin to transmit the full horror and tragedy of such suffering and loss.
In unison with Chris Hedges, David Swanson's devastatingly truthful new book, War is a Lie, very effectively exposes the pack of the lies always at the heart of making a war. Amazingly well documented. Plenty of examples. Highly praised. Very convincing.
By way of the table of contents, the main points of this remarkable book:
- Wars Are Not Fought Against Evil
- Wars Are Not Usually Launched in Defense
- Wars Are Not Waged Out of Generosity to Countries Needing Protection from Dictators or Fascism
- Wars Are Not Unavoidable
- Warriors Are Not Heroes, They Are Dupes and Pawns
- War Makers Never Have Noble Motives
- Wars Are Not Prolonged for the Good of Soldiers
- A Good Part of Wars Are Not Fought on Battlefields
- Wars Are Not Won, and Are Not Ended, By Enlarging Them
- War News Does Not Come From Disinterested Observers
- War Does Not Bring Security and Is Not Sustainable
- Wars Are Not Legal
- Wars Cannot Be Both Planned . . and Avoided
- War Is Over If We Want It to Be Over
Closely related to David's book and Chris's article: The most informative and educational anti-AmericanWarMaking video I've ever seen. In eight parts: WAR MADE EASIER
The subtitle of the video tells what it's about: "Government Deception and Media Spin -- How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us, Literally, to Death." It comes in eight enlightening segments. After each segment of this very revealing Youtube video, just click on the next segment in the big rectangular box on the upper right hand corner of the display, to watch the next segment of the video.
If only our government officials and mainstream media reporters would familiarize themselves with the story of the retired General Smedley Butler, once upon a time the most beloved and respected officer with service in the U.S. Army. Butler had been secretly invited by a cabal of corporate right-wingers to replace FDR in a coup d'etat they were planning. Problem was, they evidently knew far too little about Butler's thinking, values and integrity. So, in their ignorance about this side of Butler, these deluded corporadoes reasoned that he could easily mobilize all the former soldiers that might be needed for the coup, and that the active-duty US military would fall in line and not dare oppose him. However, they should have read some of Butler's writings, like this paragraph for instance:
"I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar, and the soldiers follow the flag."
Or this one:
"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 international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people: Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many virtually admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows."
(Click here to watch the Youtube video of this speech.)
After he had gotten all the information he could get about the scurrilous members of the cabal, Butler reported their plan to the FBI.
Next, let me refer you to a great article, War Uber Alles, by Paul Craig Roberts, who says: