Monday, November 11, 2013

On Armistice Day I Do Not Thank Veterans For Their "Service"

It is Armistice Day again, 11/11, the ceasefire that ended the imperial war that ushered in the death and destruction of the 20th century. The seeds of violence, industrialized killing, and wars for peace (or to end all wars, or to save the innocents of Belgium, or of your country here____) were sown.
Wikipedia: The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, throughJordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel).
The activist Bernarda Shahn once told me that her mother returned home from a war resistance meeting in New York City prior to the outbreak of what would come to be known as World War I. As she hung up her coat her daughter heard her say, with furious tears springing from her eyes, "This whole thing is about nothing more than Mosul Oil."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
My own grandfather went to the war fresh out of high school. He was a popular, good-looking boy who looked forward to getting right back to Maine to help his family run their ice business. He was injured on the last day before the Armistice, catching shrapnel in his leg and then being gassed as he lay wounded on the field.

It took his family over a year to locate him in a hospital in New York; eventually he returned home, went to college, and married a registered nurse. His leg was saved by fusing the knee so that all his life he was unable to bend it. His lungs and heart were permanently affected too, and he died of heart failure when his only child, my father, was 19.

"Don't believe them when they say the next war is a good war," my father reported his father told him. "There is no such thing."
Source: "The Korean Atrocity: Forgotten US War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity"
Global Research May 18, 2013 by Yves Engler
My own father believed the gung-ho propaganda hyping the "Good War" of his youth -- World War II, which grew directly from the bloody roots of WWI. He believed the recruiters, who told him Korea was a good war, too -- the front line in stopping the march of China and Communism. Because his father begged him to go to college and not enlist, he didn't make it to Seoul until after his father had died and combat had been ended by a ceasefire that perpetuates the war to this day.

My father went to Korea as an occupier and was profoundly affected by the poverty and suffering observable in the wake of a war that had killed more than 4.5 million people.

My dad taught me that wars are a way for the rich to get richer, and the poor to get poorer.

Every year I take the flag off his grave, and that of his father, and that of my brother -- a man who never went to war at all. The cemetery workers who take orders from the VFW don't know who was actually a veteran. I guess they figure that any man between the ages of 18 and death was some kind of a soldier.

Kind of like how the Obama administration considers any adult male living in certain regions of the planet to be a militant whom it is ok to kill with the weaponized drones that will render many veterans obsolete in the 21st century.

Now I teach about how the Holocaust sprang from the evil sown during WWI, and how the Nakba and ongoing brutal occupation of Palestine sprang from the Holocaust, and how rich corporations rake in the profits all along, extracting oil from Mosul or minerals from the Dead Sea. Feasting on the stolen resources of the dead children.

Israeli corporation SodaStream will tout its products in Superbowl commercials aimed at the somnolent conscience of the U.S. consumer. IBM and Ford have never been called to account for how they profited from business dealings with the Nazi regime, and what of it?

Let's just re-name Armistice Day, give everyone a bunch of flags to wave, and sweep all that nasty mess under the carpet. Who's in the playoffs? Boston Strong!
Source: Comic book on the struggle to save Jeju Island from naval base construction. Translation: The shark's teeth spell out "imperialism" while the land mass is labeled "Jeju Island."
Let's look away as the Samsung Corporation and the U.S. Navy entomb a soft coral reef in concrete to make a deep water port for warships on the coast of South Korea to threaten China.
On another border of China, let's lie about how much better life has gotten for women and girls in Afghanistan as NATO troops keep corrupt warlords in power who keep the country safe for contractors.

Natural resources exist to be bought and sold in our capitalist system. And the military exists to keep the boot on the neck of the indigenous resistance.

In the words of a veteran who woke up to reality, Major General Smedley Butler, speaking in 1933:
The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. 
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
Source: Wikipedia "Personifying the United States, Uncle Sam chases a bee. Two years after this cartoon's publication, at the end of the Philippine-American War, Aguinaldo would surrender to the United States."

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