Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in the military service. It originally honored soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War) but was expanded after World War I.
By this Memorial day over 6,400 US troops will have been killed in Americas middle-east ‘wars of choice’ along with unknown numbers, probably hundreds of thousands, of Iraquis, Afghans and others. Let us be perfectly clear, these deaths were unnecessary. America was lied into the invasion of Iraq. It wasn’t an honest mistake or faulty intelligence. The American public were played for fools. The same administration that lied so shamelessly over Iraq also invaded and occupied Afghanistan with no plan and no clue what success would look like. Over a decade later the killing still goes on in the same bone-headed, bloody, muddled way and nothing has been achieved. Nothing.
Collectively these ‘wars’ have been one of Americas biggest foreign policy blunders to date, right up there with Vietnam.
Blood and money. America has spent at least $1.38 trillion
so far in operational costs for its unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Money America could not afford. What does $1 trillion look like ? Can anyone even comprehend a sum that vast ? If you made a million dollars a year, it would take you a million years to earn $1 trillion. A mind-boggling sum of tax-payers money. Imagine the homes and schools and hospitals that money would have built. Imagine the good it could have done in these hard recessionary times if it hadn’t been so foolishly squandered on destruction and death. There were always other choices. There are now.
Soldiers who risk their lives for their country deserve our respect. The craven politicians who lied America into unnecessary and immoral ‘wars’ and those who now want more of the same deserve none. War must never be the default option, as it has been. War must not be ‘never-ending’, as the ‘War on Terror’ was cynically designed to be. War must always be the absolute last resort, where every other possibility has been explored and failed, and there is no other choice.
This Memorial Day it seems to me that the best way any patriotic American can support the troops is to demand .. not ask .. demand
that America ends its catastrophic meddling in the middle-east and brings its soldiers home safe. All of them. Complete withdrawal from all countries where they have no business being. No sleight of hand. No smoke-and-mirrors. No private mercenaries or troops re-branded ‘advisers’ left behind as looks likely in Afghanistan. All out. Now.
President Eisenhower who, unlike recent American leaders actually knew what he was talking about on this subject, said “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”
He also said ..“When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”
With cowardly, secretive drone attacks escalating and with the usual warmongers now clamoring for involvement in Syria and conflict with Iran, America’s leaders could usefully reflect on Eisenhower’s words this Memorial Day. I hope they do.Ellie