Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our Little War

People have been posting sappy pictures with messages about the death of our troops on Facebook. Here's one, "R.I.P. To the 31 US Troops who were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. I bet no one cares enough to repost this to show some respect. This is the real reason for flags at half-staff! I have only seen this posted one time; if it was [sic] a celebrity[,] it would be plastered all over Facebook. What a shame! I reposted out of respect to the fallen heros. God Bless Our Troops." What a piece of blubbering idiocy! I appreciate the sentiment: troops are dying overseas fighting a useless war. Sad. They are the property of the government, but that doesn't mean they should be treated like pawns in the government's game of chess... oh wait, checkers. Honestly, if the government did not send troops to the hostile ass of the world, there would be no fallen troops. What are we fighting for over there? Our freedom? Equality? The end of oppression or tyranny? The assurance of our way of life? None of these the last time I checked. Someone, please, explain to me why we are there. It seems to me that the only reason why the United States decided to start this military operation was to save face. Were we really afraid that the Afghani were going to be a consistent threat?

Ah, but we were attacked: on September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center was taken down by terrorists. What was 911? It was an isolated act of violence against, not a country, but a random group of people (by the way, I worked at WTC when it happened). It did not promise any sustained threats. It was orchestrated to piss Americans off, to force a retaliation. And that's exactly what it did: we got sucked into it like a moth to a flame. We're not even sure whether this attack was foreign or domestic. I wouldn't be surprised if our government did not dip its greedy, corrupt fingers into it.

Was a military response really the best, most reasonable one? It wasn't reasonable because there was no good cause to start a war and because it was not economically sound in our failing economy. Karl Marx labels war the ulti­mate exam­ple of unpro­duc­tive eco­nomic activ­ity and calls it “the direct equiv­a­lent of a nation throw­ing a part of its cap­i­tal into the water.” We consider ourselves an advanced, civilized society, right? And the Afghani are not exactly on the same socio-evolutionary level: their governance system is rather primitive in comparison to ours. Why not respond with reason: open communication to try and understand why they bear this grudge? Wouldn't it be more civil?

Of course, it was a shame that the towers were taken down and that 3,000 people had to die. Any form of terrorism is a shame and should not be permitted. But it is terrorism, and by definition it aims to create fear. And remember what Yoda said? "There's much fear in you" Fear leads to the Dark Side, it leads to evil. Our response only showed that we were no better than them. Are all the Afghani people guilty of ill will towards Americans? No! An isolated, pompous group of extremists. Then why are we terrorizing the entire nation? And why is it that our elite military force we boast of cannot get rid of a relatively small, targeted, primitive group of hostiles? Am I the only one who sees some serious ideological flaws in our government's actions? So no! I don't support this war because I don't understand the cause for it. And no! I am not happy that my tax money goes into paying for it, for widowing women, for making orphans out of innocent children, whose lives wouldn't be any different if their fathers did not die! And yes! it makes me angry to think we're losing innocent lives for nothing.

I do believe that there are wars that are justified. World War II would be one of them. Let's compare! Let's look at the casualties. Let's look at the causes, the countries involved, and the freedom threatened of many, many European nations. 60 million people died in WW2: that's 2.5% of all population. The reason World War II broke out because one nation led by one bloke, Adolf Hitler, decided to successively acquire neighboring countries: he started with Austria, then Czechoslovakia, and then he decided to help himself to Poland. Meanwhile, in Britain, the conservative Mr. Chamberlain continued his appeasement policy: "Let's just give these insignificant East European countries to Hitler. Perhaps he won't bother us." Finally, when Poland stood up for itself and declared war, with Hitler's troops knocking on its own door, Britain finally considered Hitler a threat to all of Europe. There were at least 30 countries directly involved in the conflict. Let me make this perfectly clear: Germany threatened the freedom of the citizens of Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Britain, among others. How was their freedom threatened? Well, he physically walked his troops into those nations and started killing people--soldiers, civilians, people of power, members of the intelligence, clergy, Jews, cripples, people who looked funny to him.... There were battles; there were tanks; there were planes; there were submarines; and ships. It was a full-blown military operation. If the operation were successful, most of Europe would be German! WW2 vs. one, half-assed, isolated act of violence by a couple of suicide (read: desperate) extremists against a country defensively positioned to prevent armed land attacks (with two oceans guarding most of its borders) where 3,000 innocent people were targeted by one angry loony at the head of one terrorist organization who had no means to threaten either the United States or any other nation any more than he already did. Hmm... you decide which one is more justified.

Ah, yes... But we need to look at OUR OWN involvement in WW2. The United States entered the war because Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (otherwise, the US just sat there and watched how the war enfolded... in fact, I don't believe the US sent any troops to help out the allies in Europe until 1944... that's one year before the war ended and 5 years into it). We declared war on December 8, 1941 and fought bravely naval battles with, predominantly, Japan. Hitler was really never a threat to America, but Japan had the military means and the best geographical location to threaten our freedom. Again, Pearl Harbor: 361 Japanese warplanes attack American airfields and shipyards, disabling 19 ships, destroying 200 planes, and killing over 2300 men. Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Malaya, Philippines soon fall to Japan... that means a bigger threat. We responded to an organized military operation that potentially endangered all of our West Coast and revealed a weakness in our defensive position, possible gate through which the enemy could enter the land. Let me add a post scriptum: Germany capitulates on May 7, 1945; the US bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. Do you detect a slight anachronism here? Not only was Hitler dead and Germany not a threat anymore, but Japan was very much powerless at the time (sans an official surrender). Yet another questionable decision of our government.

Neither Saddam Hussein nor Osama bin Laden have ever had the military means to cause serious damage to any people but their own. The question is, "Is it really our business, if we are not in any way involved?" If you are suggesting that we should enter Afghanistan and Iraq on a humanitarian mission to help the oppressed citizens of those countries, then why didn't we help out the allies in Europe during WW2? Why didn't we help out Rwanda in 1994 to prevent the genocide, when our military help would've saved lives, would've made a difference?

We would all want to believe, especially our soldiers, that our troops are fighting for our freedom. Freedom is not free, you say. Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote" "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." No freedom is not free... not in the United States, and most likely nowhere else: I pay taxes for mine. Albeit, it should be free. It's our fundamental right as human beings. If we are not enslaved by kings and monarchs, masters and oppressors, and our measly employers in this fine capitalistic society, we enslave ourselves by our narrow thinking. It's true! But what I'm saying is that our freedom was never threatened on 911. How was it threatened? Again, it was an isolated act of violence... it's like saying that the shooting at the movie theater was an act of war, that the school shooting in Connecticut was a threat to our freedom, or that the Boston Marathon bombing was a military operation. Hell no! Did the people die in vain? Yes, they did. That's what happens when nut jobs have their way. What do you think the victims would say if you told them, "Hey, we're going to go and start a war to avenge your lives"? They'd say, "I'm dead! You can't bring me back. Why spill more blood? What's done is done. You're out of your mind. And put away that medieval thinking!"

What can we do, you ask? First of all, how about we let our government know how we feel. The Dalai Lama says, "If you think you're too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room." The very basis for a democracy is that individual people CAN do something about it because WE control the government. I don't think I have the power to do it by myself. All I can do is create awareness that something is rotten in the state of Denmark and that I disagree with the government's decisions. Would it be better we pulled our troops now? Hmm.... Is it better we remain there and keep losing and taking lives for no good reason? This is why we pay those foreign ministers and advisors, who are (or supposed to be) well-trained in foreign policy: to solve these riddles for us. They got us into this mess; let them take us out. But first we need to make sure the government we support knows that we do not support this expensive, rather futile operation.