(Editor’s Note: This is an article from last Memorial Day, revised for 2010.)
The Memorial Day 2010 weekend is upon us. Many will use this weekend as the first short vacation of summer. Picnics, boating, traveling, family gatherings, and dedication to enjoyable activities are the rule this weekend.
But Memorial Day is meant to honor the men and women who died in military service to the United States of America. Formerly known as “Decoration Day,” it was first established in 1868 to decorate the graves of the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression) dead.
This weekend, there will be memorial services and parades across America in town squares, churches and at cemeteries. Flowers will be strewn and American flags will be in grand display. Politicians will walk the route, and veterans will don old uniforms and walk with them. Twenty-one gun salutes and taps will echo among the headstones. Empassioned speeches will be delivered to patriotic crowds on the goodness of America and the honor and bravery of the fallen soldiers and sailors.
And Americans will be remembering all the wrong things.
How about a reality check?
Those who fought and died (over 364,000) in Lincoln’s Army died invading another sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The CSA, who lost over 139,000 soldiers, was defending itself from the aggression of a foreign nation. It would have been no different morally if the Northern Army would have invaded Canada. So, Northern mourners should remember the shame of the North, not just that their loved ones died in battle. And Southerners should forever laud their sons who valiantly died in an attempt to thwart a foreign invasion and protect their homeland.
The 3,500-plus military personnel who fought and died in the Spanish-American War of 1898 died invading Cuba and the Philippines against Spain. Last time I checked, neither country was a state of the Union and did not require defense from a foreign aggressor. The war was perpetrated by the McKinley Administration and an expansionist Congress, assisted by Theodore Roosevelt and fomented by propaganda in the Hearst newspapers.
The American war dead of World War I (1914-1918), numbering over 116,000, died fighting a war between European nations. America had absolutely no business becoming involved, but as George Washington predicted, our treaty obligations dragged us into war.
World War II (1941-1945) devoured over 407,000 American military personnel. President Franklin D. Roosevelt baited the Japanese into attacking us, and after they did, Congress (in its last constitutional act of war) declared war. FDR was itching to get into the war, and got his way. Once again, treaties and war-hungry politicians cost this nation its sons and daughters.
The “police action” in Korea (1950-1953) started by the United Nations cost America over 54,000 military deaths. A cease fire was negotiated in 1953 which continues to this day. No constitutionally-declared war. No defense of American borders.
The Vietnam War (1958-1975) cost over 58,000 American lives. No declared war, no Vietcong in American streets trying to take over our nation. Finally some Americans protest a war! The US military gets its ass whooped and runs for home.
On 24 April, 1980, President Jimmy Carter sent a strike force into Iran to rescue the 52 American hostages held by Iran since 4 November 1979. The mission was a complete cluster fornication, and 8 men died.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan sent 1,200 troops into Lebanon as “peace-keepers.” 220 Marines and 9 other servicemen are now resting in peace. No constitutionally-declared war. No constitutional justification.
In April 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes in Libya against President Mohammar Ghadhafi. Ghadhafi still lives…2 American airmen died.
The invasion of Grenada (October to December, 1983) cost 19 American lives. 10,000 American troops joined forces with about 300 terrifying shock troops from Caribbean islands like Antigua, St. Kitts, Dominica and Saint Lucia to liberate Grenada. (Yes, that last sentence was sarcasm.) The struggle led to the deposition and execution of Grenada’s Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Anyone find a declaration of war or reason for America’s involvement….anyone? Bueller?
On May 12, 1987, the frigate USS Stark was attacked by an Iraqi missile while in the Persian Gulf. Thirty five sailors died in the blast. The Persian Gulf is not the territorial waters of the USA, is it?
Gulf War I (8-90 to 2-91) costs another 378 deaths as the USA protects its oil interests in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. None of the other neighbors of Iraq consider this worth a fight without the arm-twisting of President George H.W. Bush, especially since Kuwait formerly belonged to Iraq. Our Congress passes “resolutions” subordinating their constitutional authority to declare war to Bush, and he took it seriously. Still, no defense of America was involved here.
Panama was invaded by US military forces on December 20, 1989 under the order of President George H.W. Bush. Twenty four American military personnel died in the invasion. Bush said that protecting 35,000 Americans in Panama was cause for the invasion, as well as “defending democracy and human rights” in Panama. General Manuel Noriega was captured and tried on drug charges, ending up in a Miami prison. Did Congress declare war?
The Bosnian War (1992-1995) was prosecuted by President Bill Clinton in conjunction with the United Nations. He sent over 20,000 troops to Bosnia, and there were no official American casualties. Still, where is the declaration of war? Why are our troops deployed outside of the United States? Were the Serbs attacking Cleveland?
In September 1994, President Bill Clinton sent US troops into Haiti to restore the regime of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristede. It cost 4 American lives.
The USS Cole was docked at the port of Aden, Yemen, on 12 October 2000 when it was attacked by suicide bombers. Seventeen sailors died in the incident. The Gulf of Aden is not part of the territorial waters of the USA, is it?
War in Iraq and Afghanistan (2001-present) was started on a web of lies by President George W. Bush and his minions. It continues bolstered by more lies. Once again, no constitutional declaration of war, no honorable reason for our military to be in either country has ever been found. So far, over 6,000 military personnel have been killed. The totals are actually much higher, since the Defense Department does not count combat deaths that occur after a wounded soldier leaves Iraq or Afghanistan, or the hundreds of suicides of both active duty and veteran personnel.
I may have missed some obscure deployment of troops in that history lesson. But I think the message rings loud and clear. In case you may have missed the overwhelming ringing sound, here is what it means.
Except for the Congressional declaration of war in 1941, which started our dubious involvement in WWII, no other military action since the Confederate States of America defense of 1865 has been a lawful use of military force. And, when you consider that America had no business fighting in WWII, our involvement should be considered immoral.
So, over 1,147,000 American sons and daughters have fought and died in military actions that can be considered both immoral and unlawful.
Please do not misunderstand me here. I do not suggest that the surviving families of dead military personnel should not mourn the loss of their sons and daughters. Surely the loss of a child, husband, father, mother, friend or loved one should be mourned.
I am not diminishing the dead’s courage, bravery, sacrifice or valor. I do not minimize their love of country, love of liberty and sense of duty.
What I am saying is that the REASONS that they died do not withstand scrutiny. The REASONS they were deployed outside our shores were illegitimate and founded in lies. The REASONS for ALL military action, save the defensive actions of the Confederate States of America, were in fact illegal, immoral and unlawful.
Our sons and daughters were deceived into military service, where politicians used their feelings of patriotism and trust as weapons against them, and their bodies as cannon fodder. And we Americans keep telling ourselves the same lies about defending freedom and “supporting the troops,” even when our troops are carrying out immoral and illegal orders from their superior officers. This self-deception allows us to live with ourselves and our seared consciences.
I do not hold the dead entirely at fault. Did they not come from our own homes and schools, where this false sense of patriotism was taught from the cradle onward? We the living are the ones most guilty. We did not teach our children how to discern truth from lies. We failed to teach them to question ALL authority. We neglected to infuse them with a love for the rule of law.
The greatest hypocrisy of all is the craven military worship that is found in the churches of America. Parents willingly offer their young on the altar of the State to murder and destroy while wearing a uniform. That makes violating God’s laws acceptable. The church should be the worst enemy the State could ever have. Instead, organized American religion is the State’s greatest cheerleader.
Therefore, here in the Memorial Day weekend of 2010, may we at long last accept the tragic truth that more than a million of our children gave their lives as sacrificial lambs on the blood-soaked altar of the God of the State? May we finally accept that additional hundreds of thousands were maimed and disabled on the same altar? Truly, they did not die to protect the American homeland. They did not die to protect our freedoms. They did not die defending “the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic”…words found in their Oath of Service.
They died in vain. They died for nothing.
That is what we should mourn this weekend.
DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.
© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.