by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - March 28, 2005) The one activity in which the U.S. has consistently been involved is WAR. Every war has been extremely costly, but each was claimed at the time to be worth its cost.
As usual, the U.S. is in the midst of its customary wartime activities. With Afghanistan somewhat in the background, Iraq holding center stage, and Lebanon or Iran sharing media attention for the next act -- it has been, now is, and will be -- war, WAR, WAR.
To get involved in war, the warmongers must work aggressively to convince the public, who is usually instinctively opposed to it, of its necessity.
Having whipped up the public, it becomes difficult to analyze the situation and convince most people who, in the temper and emotionalism of the times, refuse to listen to what the consequences of that war will produce.
Accordingly, I decided to look back into history to see what has been the result of the major wars that the U.S. was involved in and what benefits flowed from them.
Number one of course is the Revolutionary War, a war that is just loaded with myths that have been foisted on every schoolboy and schoolgirl ever since.
What did the revolution really accomplish? It kicked out the boss, King George, and all of his favored and ungrateful beneficiaries took over the reigns of government. It was essentially a coup d'état.
For the ordinary Joes and Janes it made no difference. The guys who were running the show in the U.S. were essentially the same ones they had known before, except for those loyal and patriotic to the royal government, who had to scoot it out -- usually to Canada -- when they discovered they bet on the wrong horse.
The one thing the Joes and Janes did get was a Bill of Rights. Those entitled to vote demanded those rights if they were to ratify the Constitution. But as we now see and have seen in the past those rights aren't worth the parchment they're written on, when those who pull the strings so decide.
Question: What great benefits have resulted from the sacrifices of the Revolutionary War? Is a US citizen better off than a Canadian whose government remained loyal to the crown?
The next major war was the Civil War. Civil War? No phrase is more oxymoronic.
The catastrophic numbers of casualties and destruction for its day and age are hard for me to imagine. Yet you've got to hand it to old Abe. His bullshit was so spellbinding that he could get away with mass murder and destruction and it is so durable that he has been proclaimed the greatest president by our most esteemed historians.
Lincoln's definition of democracy, government of the people, by the people and for the people, is right on the money. So how does he react when the people of the South set out to form such a government? By denying it to them and embarking on a war supposedly to preserve the Union.
But his union was a nation with a strong, all-powerful central government and not the union that then existed -- a confederation of states who had granted the central government the limited authority set forth in the Constitution.
The slavery issue? Some more B.S.! Just read his Emancipation Proclamation. Those states that would remain in the union could keep their slaves. And isn't it strange that before the close of the nineteenth century without any other major war slavery disappeared throughout the entire western hemisphere where it was quite extensive?
World War I
Woodrow Wilson campaigned for his second term with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War." His pro-peace implication was another instance of bullshit for shortly after his new term commenced the US was a belligerent.
A better slogan soon took over, "The War to End All Wars." How do you like that one? Wars are now coming so fast, furious and in so many places that it's difficult to keep tabs on all of them.
World War II
FDR spouted his brand of bullshit rhetoric when he ran for his unprecedented third term. He repeatedly assured audiences of his hatred of war while scheming to get the country embroiled in it.
He and Churchill in their famed Atlantic Conference pledged that after the war was won the world would live "free from fear and free from want." As we look around the world today what is more worrisome than fear of torture, injury, death and destruction of property not only from criminal forces but by governments; and massive poverty and a continuing loss of livelihoods of others. Ironically their plight results from the globalization policies of FDR's and Churchill's governments.
Korea & Vietnam
Both of these wars were embarked upon to prevent the spread of communism. If the U.S. were to lose, countries in Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes to that unacceptable ideology; and those despicable Communists would establish beachheads in California.
The U.S. was not victorious against either country. Yet Southeast Asia did not succumb and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento faced no dire threats.
Now that the evil empire no longer exists have we arrived at a peaceful nirvana?
If the other wars were analyzed they would show more harm than benefit for the overwhelming majority.
The Indian wars produced genocide of the indigenous population. Although the injustice has been recognized their descendants still suffer at the bottom of the totem pole. The indigenous culture preserved their environment. Thanks to the victories of the Indian wars, pristine air, water, old-growth forests, etc. are memories.
The Mexican war was another land grab by the stronger Uncle Sam who was out to fulfill his desire for manifest destiny. Those Mexicans who chose to stay were also relegated to the lower status of the American caste system.
The above is very limited and sketchy, and is subjective. But I think it makes the point that in spite of all the hype there is no war, whether in Afghanistan or in Iraq, in which the aggressor can claim it was justified.