Memorial Day, in one instance, is yours truly's favorite holiday as it marks the beginning of summer, the favorite season of this old rube. In the other instance, Memorial Day is a paean to the dead who gave their lives, in many instances, for unworthy causes promoted by our so-called leaders of this once great nation. To this end, an extraordinary Guardian article commemorating this day is a must read to learn why no-cost war is but a dream foisted upon us by those who will never fight in one.
Jack Satan’s the greatest of gods
And Hell is the best of abodes.
’Tis reached through the Valley of Clods
By seventy beautiful roads.
Ambrose Bierce, from A Sole Survivor
Memorial Day is upon us, our 15th since the dawning of the Era of the AUMF, and you’d think smart people would have learned a few things by now. Is it a war yet? Or still the same damn movie that’s been playing in America since 2001, that revenge-and-war-porn blockbuster where the USA kicks some serious bad-guy ass. Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria and on it rolls like a 15-year-old beater with 200,000 miles on the engine and balding tires, “it” being the AUMF, the Authorization to Use Military Force of 14 September 2001.
All these years later it’s worth revisiting this document, the act of Congress whereby President George W Bush was empowered to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
I won't talk about the 2016 bloviators running for president who fantasize about this no cost option as none of these clowns has ever faced someone wanting to kill them, especially ones who rightfully consider us to be invaders and destroyers of the first kind, (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria) who state, in self righteous manner, that, "we are exceptional and we're here to help you whether you like it or not." while spending 4 trillion dollars that garnered us nothing but lost and shattered lives of our young, the displacement of millions, the creation of ISIS and an immigration nightmare of historic proportions aimed at the heart of Europe. On top of this is the very real possibility of needless war with Russia, thanks to neocon ideology in concert with their intimate connection to the ever growing Military/Industrial/Congressional Complex system that Ike warned us about way back when. In conclusion, maybe these fools (Hillary and The Donald) might heed the wise advice of Ben Fountain before starting another adventure doomed to failure as the ones listed here.
“I would listen to the generals,” Trump said in one debate as he called for deploying 30,000 troops to Syria. I would say: screw that. How about we listen to the sergeants, lieutenants and captains who wore those boots on the ground the past 15 years? The ones who are out, who are now free to speak their minds and have no stake in the business-as-usual business of American war; no sergeant or junior officer is angling for a lucrative post-military career sitting on defense industry boards or yakking for cable news. On a fall night in Austin last year I listened to one of these former sergeants – infantry, two tours in Iraq – tell me: Sure, we can invade Syria and whip Isis’s butt. Just make sure we go in with four or five hundred thousand troops, and plan on keeping at least 200,000 there for the next, say, 15 or 20 years. And we’d better commit to massive investment in the infrastructure, schools, the legal system, to keep Isis or something like it from coming back. Oh, and we’ll have to bring back the draft, that’s what it’ll take to keep an army that big over there. And raise taxes to pay for it, including healthcare for all the fucked-up people who’ll be coming home. We can beat Isis, sure. But not the way those guys –he nodded at the TV, where one of the circus-style debates was going on – are talking about.