Monday, May 6, 2013

Told you so: War, what is it good for?

Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval, Pat Macpherson, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Sidrah Zaheer (video); John Grula (
Is it Mara, a demon (yaksha), a scary "guardian"? (Bighead4144/
"Berkeley in the Sixties" is an award-winning documentary about the origins of the Peace and Free Speech Movements along with the beginning of the counterculture .

Afghan girls (Marianne Elliott)
One of the saddest things ever seen on video is an iconic moment in the 1960s. Protesters decided to go to the mouth of the Beast, to demonstrate against the war(s) at military induction centers. They were met, not with gratitude by the lives they were trying to save -- those of new recruits as well as the Buddhists of Southeast Asia, namely, Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese, all victims of illegal US bombing campaigns. 
One recruit grabs a peace demonstrator by the collar, waves a fist, and gets right in his face in a very homoerotic way, as if to kiss him, but yelling violently. It is shocking, and one has to wonder what became of that young soldier.

Sure, on the one hand, the peacenik was hurt but probably not harmed in the scuffle. The recruit, on the other hand, probably got it much worse than he gave.

Did he suffer PTSD as a result, did he live to regret assaulting the last American to try to stop him from making the biggest mistake of his life? Traumatized, if not by his being what he was, violent, or being violent toward someone who was being what he was, peaceful, certainly in a war meant only to reign violence on once-peaceful Asians defending their homeland from imperial invasion.
Why else were we there other than to make the world FREE for free-trade, tax-free for multinational corporations and war-profiteers? That recruit surely thought he was joining to kill anyone attempting to uphold a communal ideal rather than a competitive one, if he thought about it at all. Surely he thought he was defending his homeland against a nonexistent invader. Oh, those were heady times. There were enemies everywhere. "The enemy was within!" The enemy was us. And now we're going to teach Central Asians that lesson.
Yes, peace activists took it on the chin way back when. Vietnam era warmongers and flag waving military-violence-boosters got their way. But wouldn't you know, history repeated itself. And we, most of America that is, became like Berkeley in the 60's. Bush didn't care. No matter how many peace demonstrators marched, his son didn't care either. Cheney didn't care. Obama doesn't care. And new recruits hate peace activists who now have every right to say "TOLD YOU SO." But...

Peace activists take little solace in KNOWING they were right about Afghanistan and Iraq.

Zero-sum Games
John Grula, edited by Wisdom Quarterly (COMMENTARY)
The face of Afghanistan (
Pardon my language, but this is one p'd off hippie, p'd over our [US] wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm p'd because of the murdered Afghan civilians, the Pakistanis, civilians in the adjacent 'Stans, the signature "militants," the children, the victims of "friendly" fire, human costs, what good (if any) these wars have actually accomplished, and the monetary costs to the USA -- up to now and projected.
The US War on Afghanistan is in its 12th year, which makes it America’s longest war. It has officially claimed nearly 2,100 American military lives. And another 18,000 American soldiers have been wounded -- moral injury, lost limbs, deafness,  trauma, suicidal ideation...
Tens of thousands are suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other deadly mental health problems. Listening to Slayer and Drowning Pool and thinking the songs are offering advice on how to actually live on the planet?

(Drowning Pool) "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor," US in Central Asia edition
Approximately 66,000 American troops currently remain in Afghanistan. And they will be there for a long time. Their label will change, but they will remain. A solider becomes an "advisor," an "attaché," a "consultant," a "strategic asset," and if s/he is lucky maybe a "private contractor" or, if one is unlucky, a "drone pilot.

And although about half are supposed to come home this year, in the meantime they remain in harm’s way doing more harm than is being done to them or anyone else.

In addition, more than 850 troops from non-US NATO members have been killed, with the UK (441) and Canada (158) taking the biggest hits. What about the Afghan people -- the noncombatants, the children, the mothers, the elderly, the utterly innocent civilians living in crushing poverty worsened by Million Dollar Men out to rob, imprison, rape (sodomize), and murder them for sport with a wink and a nod from the CIA?
Civilian murders ("casualties") have been difficult to tabulate. But military violence has caused tens of thousands of deaths. How many more have died of displacement, disease, drone strike, starvation, and exposure?

Afghan women and children have been killed by American air strikes. As recently as April 7th, the New York Times reported that 10 children died in a US bombing allegedly aimed at a senior Taliban commander. With "signature" strikes, no one actually has to be anyone to become a legitimate target. The US warlords have made it that way: Any "suspicious" behavior deserves a drone strike. AND any male, pubescent or elderly, in the area WAS a "militant." These are our rules of engagement. Sorry if we didn't make that clear when we didn't declare war. But, hey Afghanistan, if you can't live with it, die.
The Bushes in Iraq
Warlord Bush I (Republican naga king)
The Iraq War has been even bloodier. Nearly 4,500 American troops have died there. About 30,000 have been seriously wounded. PTSD is rampant. "Moral injury" rates are possibly higher. Iraq War veterans are homeless all over the place, and the V.A. (Veterans Administration) has better things to do than help them.
In addition, according to Iraq Body Count, well over 100,000 Iraqi civilian murder were carried out as military violence. At least this is how many have been documented since the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq began 10 years ago. Some estimates of the total civilian kill rate go much higher. Before Bush II's invasion, Bush I killed countless babies. No war was declared, but that didn't stop the military-industrial complex (with lip service by such memorable heads of state as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, and others).

The "surge in violence" in Iraq since our invasion in 2003 has continued even after our "official" departure in 2011. We're still there.
On April 7th, the Los Angeles Times reported that a murderous "suicide bomber" killed 20 people at a lunch hosted by a Sunni candidate in Iraq’s regional elections. Mayhem is common in Iraq. The CIA taught them well. (And the CIA may actually be the one sponsoring all these "random" bombings and terror campaigns. Nothing like a little destabilization to remind them who's still in charge).
The Good
What good has come from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? "War, what is it good for?!" Absolutely something. It turns out war is a great money maker...for corporations, the military, and the well dressed politician who plays his cards right. If all costs were counted, war would be good for absolutely nothing. But who's counting that way? In the case of our country's War on Iraq, we may all be worse off. More

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