27 June 2012

A Strange Sense of Service Part 1


Some will take this the wrong way, but I want to make a few observations regarding one of the top headlines from the past twelve months. I wrote this at the time but never published it. Almost a year later and with the 4th of July approaching...it's worth revisiting.
Apparently on 6 August 2011 some thirty American soldiers and eight Afghan soldiers were killed when their helicopter was shot down. This was one of the worst single-incident losses of life for American troops during the Afghan War and the media gave this event a massive amount of attention.
Of course the sheer numbers makes it newsworthy, in addition to the fact that most or all of these Americans were members of the Special Forces.
This single event provides a great example to demonstrate several things.


First, the media, the excoriated 'liberal' media doesn't look very liberal at all when it comes to covering America's wars. American deaths are profiled and fawned over while the thousands and tens of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi deaths are largely ignored...let alone the additional multitudes that have died as an indirect result of American policies...i.e. the destabilization of these respected countries and region.
These people receive no sympathy, they are not to be objects of empathy, and the media acting in the role of establishment gatekeeper makes sure the wars are covered in a way that always encourages American support if not for the war itself, at least for the soldiers participating in them.
Christian commentators are no different. With Obama's announcement of the Iraq withdrawal (now quickly becoming a distant memory) considerable analysis was provided by the media, and from 'Christian' circles...critique. A time for reflection we're told after nearly nine years of warfare. We're told to consider the 4500 American deaths, the tremendous costs, and so forth. We're told to think about this all from a Biblical Worldview. Again, no mention of the tens of thousands of civilian deaths. No, according to Southern Baptist Leader Albert Mohler the Biblical Worldview is that we're to be thankful that an evil dictator is gone and that there are no longer any capabilities for him to produce Weapons of Mass Destruction. No mention of civilian deaths. No mention of the lies and deceit. No mention of the waste of life, money, and destruction.
Second, it attaches emotionalism to the issue and refuses to raise the salient questions... and this subjective analysis trickles down into the public consciousness....why? Why are these Americans there? No one asks, at least not in the media.
We are constantly fed by both Secular and Christian media the same Orwellian lines...they're protecting and defending our freedom.
Right after this event (the helicopter being shot down) occurred, Al Mohler in his daily commentary expressed as much as well as our local Christian radio station the wrongly named Family Life Network.
Mohler employed the often repeated line about how he wouldn't be able to have his radio programme if it were not for the sacrifices of our brave armed forces?
Really? So...in countries where they don't have militaries engaged all around the world and spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year...they don't have radio shows? Too bad for them I guess.
I didn't realize countries like Paraguay, Ethiopia, Canada, Ireland, and Thailand didn't have radio programmes. I guess if they do...they need to thank the United States military right?
These kinds of statements are repeated so often no one stops and thinks about how absurd they are.
Am I defending the Taliban? Of course not. They're a wretched evil lot just like the American regime that went to war with them. The rationale for this war though is pretty astounding.
Did the Taliban attack the United States on 11 September? No.
Were any of the hijackers Afghan citizens? No.
But the Taliban were harbouring an enemy of the United States.
I think this argument heads in a direction most people don't want to go.
For example consider things from the Iranian standpoint for a moment.
In 1953, The Shah was installed by the United States after Mossaddegh was forced from office. He proceeded to brutalize the Iranian people for the next twenty-five years. His secret police tortured and killed people and in time became viewed as an enemy to his own people.
When the Ayatollah 'liberated' Iran...yes, they can use the politico-speak as well...the Shah fled and eventually ended up in the United States.
So from the Iranian standpoint the United States was harbouring this brutal killer, a terrorist?...and for that matter has harboured many dictators over the years. Using the same kind of argument, then Iran would be justified in attacking the United States, because like the Taliban, the United States was harbouring a mass-killer.
This of course is absurd. No one here or in the international community would buy the argument.
But the Taliban are bad people and do evil things, so the United States is permitted to use these types of arguments.
The United States has committed numerous crimes and has killed more people than the Taliban, Bin Laden, and the Iranian regime combined, so reasoning this way doesn't really help, at least in terms of morality... unless your concept of morality is tied to violence, force or to some kind of blind allegiance to state power.
The American narrative is biased and refuses to be objective or honest. This is normal. Most countries do this with regard to current events and certainly with regard to history.
But why are the Christians in the United States the most gullible when it comes to this? Why are they the most supportive?
We can't abandon Afghanistan because Al Qaeda could set up there once again.
This kind of argument is also fruitless because this leads to one thing...by necessity we're forced to dominate the world. Because if it's not Afghanistan, it's Somalia, or Sudan, or Yemen, or Venezuela, or Kosovo, or Syria, or Nigeria, or Mexico...it never ends.
I guess the United States just has to conquer the world.
That's the telos (the end result or culmination) of this kind of thinking. In order to be safe, we have to dominate the entire earth. And those who aid us in this domination...they're serving us and defending our liberty.
This kind of thinking is not just morally bankrupt, it is deranged.
How did directly and indirectly killing thousands of civilians liberate Iraq or Afghanistan?
How are American soldiers invading countries that have not attacked us nor have the capability to attack us....serving us?
How do we as individuals or as a society benefit from these actions?
We have to take the fight to them, many say. But if you listen to these people, the radicals and terrorists coming out of these countries, the reason they're fighting us is because....we've invaded their countries at present, we have in the past, and we have directly or indirectly manipulated affairs in their countries and regions leading to death and destruction. From their standpoint the United States is the aggressor. The 11 September attacks were a flea striking back at an elephant...a guerilla attack laden with symbolism to teach a lesson.
They don't understand the American public very well. It wasn't going to work.
Who benefits from these wars? Our society? At this point we are swamped with debt and obligations that have drained our society. Everyone  points a finger of blame...but few blame the cost of these wars, much of which has been hidden. Conservatives call for more military spending, though we on paper outspend the next 17 countries or so combined, and in reality when you take in the entire Military-State Department complex we spend more than the rest of the world combined. That's staggering and all the more when you think that there are so many who want to continue increasing our military budget. Calling it a 'defense' budget is as Orwellian as you could possibly be.
The Empire is literally breaking our society. People have got to start reading Roman history. The parallels are more than a little fascinating.
There is massive money in war, but not for you or me. War is like a massive subsidy for the wealthy in this country. Scores of companies and industries benefit from the death and destruction war brings. They and their shareholders have done very well over the past decade.
The American soldiers are serving these corporations and the political parasites who lust for power, and yet these people at the top are the least interested in the welfare of these pawns. Sadly, many in the military are people from depressed areas looking for a way out. I live in Rust Belt Appalachia and the recruiters are very active in this area. There are hordes of kids whose only future is either in drugs and petty crime, a minimum wage job, or the military. They're not heroes. In many cases, they're dupes.
But our army isn't evil and destructive, like that of other countries. We help people and do good things....
Ask the people of Vietnam, or the people of Iraq. Remember from 1991-2003 the United States regularly bombed that country. They and the people of the Balkans, and soon enough the people of Afghanistan are suffering not just the destruction of their water and electrical infrastructures, but the toxic effects of our weapons. Depleted Uranium will be causing cancers and birth defects for many years to come. Ask the Vietnamese. They didn't have to deal with Depleted Uranium, but they are still suffering the effects of Agent Orange, Napalm and other horrors the United States employs...all the while condemning other countries for using or even possessing like substances.
Go on YouTube and watch the videos of American soldiers demeaning Iraqis, mocking them, destroying things. War is war. It's always been this way. It brings out the most wicked aspects of fallen humanity. It's sick and evil, and any soldier who has seen it and reflected on it even a little will affirm as much.
So no Al Mohler, I will not pause to breath a prayer of thanksgiving for the brave men and women who serve our country that we can be free. I will not cater to such lies, nor the sick people who promote them.

Go to part 2

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