Post Memorial Day Blues
Memorial Day is over, I hope everyone had great picnics and family gatherings, and my prayers to those who have lost friends and family in any war, especially the current ones. I was going to post on Memorial Day but couldn’t bring myself to sully the memories of the fallen by getting on the same pulpit as those who who use the death of Americans to further legitimatize their failed policies…and their crimes. Memorial Day is about mourning, not scoring political points. I know all politicians like to make use of tragedy, but I don’t think there’s never been an American political era so willing to use the deaths of Americans, including ones they sent to their deaths, to justify their own agenda.
There was a time in this country when people understood that those who die in battle are a tragic loss, and that wars are horrible things to be avoided at all costs. This is especially pertinent in light of today’s colonial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these wars were voluntary wars. At least during the colonial era we knew what it took to win a colonial war, one has to shoot natives until they settle down. Nowadays we appear to believe our own propaganda about our invasions being humanitarian crusades to spread democracy and the American way of life, and thus our troops are stuck in a hopeless situation in the lands they have conquered. Forced to stay in a hostile land and be shot at, unable to take the measures it would really take to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan.
Granted I’m glad we’re not able to stomach the genocide and ethnic cleansing it would take to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan. However, even if we were to take such steps, the history of the 20th century has shown how the conquest of colonies simply no longer works. Japan and Nazi Germany vigorously pursued empires through conquest, Japan’s Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere and Hitler’s lebensraum…both came to bad ends. And pretty much every other overt empire with colonies lost them during the 20th century, even if the independence achieved by the colonies was often more in name than in substance.
So the USA is in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to turn back the clock and revive good old fashioned colonialism, while our real enemies, China and Russia, are quietly divvying up the third world’s assets. They are also laughing all the way to the bank as every day the USA persists in its failed foreign adventures makes China and Russia stronger, richer, and more influential. And of course our crusades are making the USA weaker, poorer, and less influential. In fact a case can be made that traditional conquest and military might is no longer the be all it once was. Modern wars are going to be won through non traditional methods, either economic or non traditional military means. Or even ethnically, though outbreeding your enemies has always been a time honoured route to victory, be it only genetic victory.
I say genetic victory because while sometimes huge populations have “invaded” a region and smothered a land’s original inhabitants, many cultures have shown remarkable resilience to this sort of invasion. For example the original inhabitants of Japan were entirely replaced by ethnic Koreans in the seventh century or so…but the language and culture of Japan didn’t skip a beat. Linguistically Japan and Korea are still separated by four thousand years. And modern westernized cultures have shown great ability to assimilate waves of newcomers, the USA being the premier example. The faces one sees in MacDonald’s may change over the decades…but note that it’s still a MacDonald’s.
War is death, war is the enemy, war is lies. To take up the sword to defend one’s hearth and home may at times be necessary, to beguile men into taking their swords into other people’s lands makes Satan proud.
“Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”
2 Chronicles 11:4
(The above flag image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. And as far as I can tell, it’s public domain, though I could be mistaken. Credit and copyright: Chris of San Francisco. The tradition of flying a flag at half-mast started on ships centuries ago as a sign of respect/mourning/distress. The idea being that the invisible flag of Death was flying at the top of the mast.)