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Memorial Day in America
Click to visit VeggieCooking.com [Posted 29 May 2006]

It's Memorial Day in America, a national holiday to remember our war dead. Where I am, it's a beautiful day. The sun is shining, it's warm and breezy outside, plenty of people have the day off of work to spend at the beach, and the radio announces several parades in the area. Elsewhere in the world, major news stories include a rising death toll from the earthquake in Indonesia -- now over 5,000, rioting in Iraq ended in violence after an American military truck caused an car crash pile-up, 75 prisoners at Guantanamo are on a hunger strike, and some CBS news crew members were bombed to death in Iraq. But here in America, it's a nice day. Various signs in the area remind you to "Thank a Vet for your freedom." That particular slogan reminds me of something else -- American ignorance about their country's use of the military. Yeah, thank a vet... from the AMERICAN REVOLUTION!

The fact is, 1776 was 230 years ago. And while that particular war did save us from problems with England's rulers at the time, and the resulting Constitutional government eventually proved to be a fairly good model for personal freedom, it can't save us from the current leadership in our own country, who are destroying as many freedoms as possible both here and abroad. The founders of this country were intelligent and experienced enough to set up checks and balances, to try to delay the eventual tyranny they knew would come. But after they were gone, future generations would be responsible for maintaining their own freedom.

Memorial Day display honoring thousands of war dead, May 2006
Although plenty of Veterans are dying these days, none are dying for freedom of any kind, except maybe freedom of the Bush cabal to loot the country as much as possible while in power. Freedoms people died for in the American Revolution are all at risk under the current regime, and blindly fighting its wars only enables the destruction of those freedoms. But Americans always come up with a slogan to oversimplify and mislead people, a form of dishonesty in advertising. "Thank a Vet for your freedom" or labeling those who die in America's wars "heroes" are vacant-brained cheerleading schemes, trying to give people a warm & fuzzy sense of pride for a system that sends its young people to their deaths in the midst of brutal wars.

Today, in the spirit of "heroes" dying for "freedom", former cheerleader President Bush signed a bill into law banning protests near Military funerals. It was initially promoted as a way to stop a particular group of gay-bashing fringe Christians from protesting the Iraq war by demonstrating at military funerals. Although you might think they were being GOOD Christians working for peace, this particular group was protesting because of their belief that the war is God's way of punishing Americans for accepting homosexuality. (Or more likely, punishing Americans because they were dumb enough to go along with the war to begin with -- the Christian bible specifically preaches peace and tolerance, apparently unknown to this particular group.)

In reality, we all know that Bush never has a noble cause. Bush hates demostrators. He bans them to "free speech zones" miles away from his engagements so that he doesn't have to put up with people confronting him with his own incompetence and heartless violence. I'm sure this legislation, which will ban ALL demonstrations near funerals (not just the crazy ones), was intended to further restrict Americans' rights to protest at all.

"WASHINGTON - President Bush, marking Memorial Day with a speech paying tribute to fighting men and women lost in war, signed into law Monday a bill that keeps demonstrators from disrupting military funerals.

"In advance of his speech and a wreath-laying at America's most hallowed burial ground for military heroes, Bush signed the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act." This was largely in response to the activities of a Kansas church group that has staged protests at military funerals around the country, claiming the deaths symbolized God's anger at U.S. tolerance of homosexuals.

"The new law bars protests within 300 feet of the entrance of a national cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery. This restriction applies an hour before until an hour after a funeral. Those violating the act would face up to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

- "Bush bans protests at military funerals", http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13018894/
The Associated Press, 29 May 2006

Again, notice the use of the word "heroes." That term was horribly overused in the ramp up to war. Some reporters (especially on the Fox News Network, but disturbingly prevalent elsewhere) were even calling those who died in the twin towers on 9/11/01 "heroes." People who died in the twin towers? Heroes? Maybe a few firefighters or policemen who rushed in to help people, doing their usual jobs that day. But most were VICTIMS. They weren't fighting for a cause, other than making a living or making money, and wouldn't have wanted their names attached to lies in a government propaganda campaign. In fact, I'm one of the many people who believe that they were slaughtered by their own government, used in a modern-day Reichstag Fire, to get the public behind massive and unpopular never-ending oil wars. Even before stories came out in the alternative press, the buildings looked too perfectly imploded, and the FBI came out with 20 names and photos the next day. THE NEXT DAY! Of hijackers who were supposedly INCINERATED IN A FIRE THE PREVIOUS DAY. I know about the FBI because I have an interstate stalker. You can give them a license tag number, the police can have a DNA profile, and they still don't do anything. They're not only slow, but they're not going to do any extra work, either.

And kids fighting these oil wars are "victims" too. Most of them just signed up for the regular military, Guard, or Reserves to get a job, or money for college. No one was thinking "Yeah! I'm going to help the Nazi-affiliated Bush family make even MORE money by stealing oil from Arabs." They were just a bunch of dumb kids lured into military service by years of relative peace under Clinton and promises of money and training.

In America today, disinformation agents in the press and government will exploit any death for their own purposes, labeling VICTIMS as HEROES to make it seem as though people killed by their political policies actually died for a valid reason, and wouldn't mind doing so. The military in America is a volunteer army, but they're youngsters, kids usually not bright or rich enough to make it into college, not aware of the world enough to make well-informed decisions, and stuck in a bad economy with limited job opportunities. They're easy to lie to in some cases, easy to manipulate in most. They're bound by the contracts they've signed, giving their lives over to the military for a number of years. It's what they call a "poverty draft," forcing people into service by economics instead of legal obligations. They're not fighting for freedom at all, except for the artificial freedom promised by wartime propaganda. In reality, they're fighting for greedy men's oil wars, and to avoid being jailed for not showing up when their units were called to active duty. Yes, some of them really do believe that "Arabs" did 9-11, but those kids are usually the ones who don't question the official government line EVER, who never did well in school and had never even seen the words "Unocal," "Iraq," or "Afghanistan" before any of this went down. They certainly had no idea of where the involved countries were located, or the politics of oil surrounding them.

We could go through all the wars of the United States, and I tend to think that only two were actually fought for any kind of freedom -- The American Revolution of (and before) 1776, and the War of 1812.

The American Revolution was basically to end England's control of the colonies because England's ruler at the time was making the American colonists' lives difficult. King George III wanted America to send him raw materials and money, but didn't want to provide much in return -- a lot like America treats "Third World Countries" these days. People now wonder whether we're better off being separate from England, with our dire medical care (the most expensive and least effective medical system of all time), endless street violence, serious poverty in urban areas, and so on. But at the time, England was oppressive, and some people were finally willing to take up arms. The War of 1812 was largely a repeat of this -- England couldn't believe that they'd lost their American colonies, and decided that our rights didn't matter, started interfering with our shipping. So people went to war again, to assert their rights as a sovereign nation.

But wars for freedom end there. Take the Civil War. Some Northerners see it as a war to free the slaves, and in a way that was one of its purposes, after Lincoln realized that the war was becoming unpopular and exploited the ever-increasing abolitionist movement. Ending slavery inspired people to continue fighting. But at the outset, the Civil War was another war of money, and school systems in the South still teach this more honest version of the war. The South wasn't happy with Tariffs that favored Northern industry -- they wanted the choice of buying products from England, but industrialists from the North wanted those Southern Markets, and through politics were able to penalize those buying foreign products with these extra taxes on foreign goods. The South was furious and tried to secede from the United States, but we all know how that effort turned out. Although Northern casualties were often nearly as high as Southern casualties in many of the battles, the North had more men to fight, and they were also the "industrial" north -- they had great equipment. It was a bloody, miserable war, but the North won, the slaves were "freed" (although it took another 100 years before the legal system really recognized them as equal... sort of), and some people in the South are still plenty angry about what they see as a conquest.

Then there were other wars -- World Wars I and II, which were started in Europe but eventually involved the United States in defense of England and France. (There were attacks to bring us into each war, but both Pearl Harbor and the Lusitania were either instigated or allowed to happen in order to get the typically peace-loving American public behind those wars.) One of my great uncles was a World War II vet, worked at a secret air base in Michigan during the war, Air Force Intelligence. After WWII, we had the Korean War and Viet Nam, back in our Anti-Commie McCarthy Paranoid Era. Some say Vietnam was actually another oil war, with the Gulf of Tonkin incident totally fabricated to precipitate military action. The war was publically promoted to "Stop Communism", but unexploded bombs were dropped off of Vietnam's shore at the end of bombing runs, and later it was revealed that the US was secretly setting off explosions on the ocean floor there, looking for salt domes as a part of oil exploration. Dropping leftover bombs over the ocean was just a cover for that effort, should anyone notice the explosions. As soon as the war ended, even though the US lost miserably, drilling was set up offshore.

American side of Niagara Falls with Canadian falls in background, April 2006 My father was drafted into the Korean war, but was never sent to Korea. He played clarinet for the Army band instead. Dad was enrolled as a college student at the time, which would normally entitle him to a deferment of military service. But he missed classes for 3 days because of an impacted wisdom tooth. Normally the Army wouldn't be interested in how often a student attends classes, but an honest lady at the Draft Board told my father that his was a political draft. You see, at the time dad was running for political office in Niagara Falls, New York -- for alderman I think. His main campaign promise was to end deep-injection-well chemical waste disposal in Niagara Falls. The problem with deep-injection toxic waste disposal is that it puts toxic waste into or near the water table. (Younger people don't remember this, but look up "Love Canal" sometime -- Niagara Falls had a lot of industry back in the early 1900s because of cheap and plentiful hydroelectric power from the falls' power plant. As a result, the city was and remains highly polluted. With more regulation, and bad publicity from some fatal accidents, most chemical companies finally left the area, relocating to Texas and elsewhere where they continued to pollute and have fatal accidents.) Obviously, the local industrialists didn't want to end their cheap yet deadly method of toxic waste disposal. Yet the promise of ending deep-injection wells was immensely popular with the general public -- even before a good environmental consciousness had developed in this country. Even after dad was drafted into the Army and unable to campaign, he won 1/3 of the vote in that election. I'm not claiming that dad was an early environmentalist, because he was never involved in later environmental causes. But he was a good science student, and had common sense. In subsequent years while working for a chemical company, he brought up the issue of no studies being done on multiple pollutants in the environment prior to releasing new chemicals. His bosses ignored that suggestion. In fact, my father worked for industry in various capacities for 3 decades, before finally settling into a permanent teaching position for Milwaukee Public Schools.

Before, during, and after the Korean and Vietnam Wars, there were the numerous military actions that didn't qualify as wars. In fact, Korea and Vietnam were never officially "wars" despite their length and violence. Reagan was perpetually bombing and torturing in Central America and elsewhere. One old military guy I knew in Wisconsin related how the Sandinista government of Nicaragua threatened to stop shipping bananas if Reagan didn't stop military operations INSIDE OF their country. Bananas are the #1 fruit in this country, and Bonzo's supporting actor wasn't about to let the banana industry lose money. So Reagan sent US soldiers to guard a banana warehouse inside of Nicaragua while the Nicaraguan Army marched on it. The US also frequently exercises its military option in Haiti and elsewhere. We've used military force more than any other country since World War II, and I've lost track of the total number of interventions. There are too many, and they keep coming. We're a very violent country, both inside of our borders and out.

The Iraq War of 1991 (called WWIII by some) was a police action against Iraq, allegedly for invading Kuwait. But the details weren't as clear as alleged, and the propaganda machine posing as American media planted false stories to get Americans behind the war. For example, one completely false story said that Iraqi soldiers were taking Kuwaiti babies from a hospital and bayoneting them. In fact, Iraq had invaded Kuwait because of a legitimate grievance -- Kuwait had been slant-drilling into Iraqi oil fields on the Iraq-Kuwait border. (One of my friends in US Intelligence said that there were big slant-drilling rigs there from a US oil company -- I think he said the company was Chevron. Notice that Condoleezza Rice is also from Chevron, and now she's the Secretary of State.) Iraq asked the US for an opinion on using military action to end the practice, and the US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, answered that the US had no opinion on the matter, that the US considered it to be a local matter. Iraq saw this as an OK from the US to go ahead with their invasion of Kuwait. It seems as though that particular situation was deliberately set up as an excuse to impose sanctions and invade Iraq, in hopes of conquering the country in future years to control its oil sales. In fact, George H.W. Bush (Dubya's father) didn't want to invade the entire country at the time, instead settling for a quick victory in the south, and remaining sanctions in place to weaken the country for future military action. The subsequent sanctions alone cost 1.5 million Iraqis their lives, most of them children, giving the elder President Bush membership into the elite group known as Mass Murderers of History. His son would join that club when the first year of Iraq War #2 caused well over 100,000 deaths, according to the only credible study so far on the Iraqi death count of the '03 war.

But this country is no stranger to genocide. In fact, our earliest wars were the genocide of Native Americans, now low in numbers with many herded onto "Reservations," America's version of Bantustans.

And so this Memorial Day, we're supposed to remember soldiers who fought and died in these wars as "heroes" fighting for our "freedom." It's obvious why I'm not thanking them for my "freedom" -- because they're not the ones who gave it to me, and they're not doing anything to defend our freedoms, either. In fact, they're working for a man doing everything he can to remove our freedoms in America, promising freedom in other countries yet delivering only death and misery there. And I also won't call our war dead "heroes." They're VICTIMS. Victims of war, victims of a corrupt government, victims of their own bad decisions.

Although I'm not going to "thank" the military, because they're neither "heroes" nor "fighting for my freedom," they can and should be HELPED. That's what you try to do for VICTIMS -- help them, not thank them. Certainly those who have already died can't be helped much personally. But future deaths can be prevented, and families of the dead can be helped. Americans need to make it clear to their political representatives that the war must end as soon as possible (and I don't mean Bush's definition of soon, namely whenever he feels like it), and that America needs to take responsibility to rebuild Iraq like we rebuilt Germany and Japan after WWII. And by rebuilding, I don't mean stealing Iraq's own oil revenue to clean up after America. They didn't destroy the country; we did. They deserve a real rebuild, and not from Dick Cheney's old buddies in Halliburton. I mean companies that do the work they're paid to do. And cleaning up depleted uranium has been done before by Doug Rokke's group -- look it up and see what happened to them. That's what we dump and leave in the Iraqi desert, as a present to future generations for thousands of years.

But we all know the withdrawal from Iraq and the rebuild are many years away, if ever. I tend to think Baghdad will fall like Saigon, and the Iraqis will do their own rebuilding after we're thrown out. Until then, enjoy the nice day, go to the beach, and don't forget that real patriots try to save their country from wars like this, not thank the people waging it.

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