Tag Archive | World War

Issuing a Challenge to the United States

To clarify the title (originally “War With North Korea is Inevitable”), within the confines of the current U.S. foreign policy, war is inevitable with North Korea. Since it seems extraordinarily unlikely that U.S. foreign policy is going to change very much, I’m reasonably confident that war with North Korea–even if it’s been avoided this weekend–remains inevitable.

First, Kim Jong Un and North Korea aren’t going to stop working out how to make an ICBM and how to lob it at the United States.

Second, they take so much pride in their nuclear program that they would all rather die than surrender it.

Third, the United States is not going to tolerate North Korea developing a nuclear warhead ICBM.

China doesn’t have the power over North Korea that we non-North Koreans like to think they have. It’s true that China is North Korea’s primary lifeline to the world, but North Korea is notoriously defiant, even of China, and if China could tell Kim to “Just cut it out” they would have done so by now–or around the time that we sent carrier groups into the Korean Peninsula. North Korea isn’t part of China, and they don’t like to be treated as though they are–the Sino-Korea Treaty takes great care to be a mutual defense pact, and not a case of “We’re going to protect our little brother.”

While we in NATO know that Montenegro isn’t going to come to the defense of the United States if we’re attacked–and, even if they do, they can’t contribute anything of any actual significance–this isn’t necessarily true with North Korea and China. While China can undoubtedly do more than North Korea, North Korea’s capabilities aren’t inconsequential, though they are limited to that region; North Korea would be almost no help in a war against the United States (except that they’d be able to decimate South Korea), but could contribute considerably in a war against Japan or India.

Our tendency to treat North Korea like China’s little brother, quite frankly, pisses off North Korea. And, realistically, it probably should piss them off. It’s supremely arrogant of us, first of all. North Korea came as close to “kicking our asses” as any nation ever has. It’s rather like getting beat up on a playground and limping away while telling the kid who beat you up that they should be glad they’re being protected by their big brother. They have a feather in their cap that few nations can claim: they took on and defeated the United States.

There are a lot of reasons for that. Our hearts were never in it, and we had to impose the draft to get people involved–and it’s a matter of record that draftees are motivated more by the desire to get back home than to win a “righteous” battle. We ended the Korean War after only three years, making it perhaps one of the shortest wars in American history. That’s how little we wanted to fight it. We were also constrained by UN policies and regulations that, like Vietnam, seemed more designed to make the war perpetual than anything. None of this really matters, though, because the fact remains: North Korea fought us, and North Korea won.

Compare it to our involvement in World War 2, where we were ready to throw anything and everything into the war effort, and against Japan. Then, for the Korean War, we could barely muster an entire regiment of volunteers.

I was relieved today to wake up and learn that we hadn’t started World War 3 in response to North Korea’s testing of a nuclear weapon, primarily because North Korea didn’t test a nuclear weapon.

What does it really matter, though?

It has merely postponed it.

For months, indications have been that North Korea was about to test another nuclear weapon. This is why tensions have been so high–the evidence is pretty clear that we are going to attack if they do so. Satellite images routinely show the “right” activity to indicate there is about to be a nuclear test, and it’s pretty likely that Kim Jong Un backed out at the last minute precisely because of pressure from the United States and China.

But this hasn’t changed anything.

It’s worth taking a moment to ask ourselves why we care whether North Korea tests nuclear weapons. The answer is that our actions throughout the last century have left us having to look over our shoulders constantly, and the only solution we’ve found for this is to continually look over our shoulder and attack anyone we happen to see–which, of course, means that we have to spend even more time looking over our shoulder.

In less than a week, we went from “Are we about to start World War 3 with Russia?” to “Are we about to start World War 3 with China?” One gets the image of a lunatic spinning wildly in circles firing an Ak-47 at every moving shadow he happens to see, paranoid and terrified that someone is coming to get him–and, honestly, is correct that someone is coming to get him, but only because he went around shooting people like a psychopath in the first place.

From what I can tell, this madman could really use some sleep. But he can’t sleep, because he’s created so many enemies that any one of them would sneak up on him in the middle of the night and slit his throat. So the only thing he can do is continue standing and spinning, firing missiles at anything that dares move in his presence while laughing and proclaiming to the world how secure and safe he is now that he’s gone through the world and shot everyone.

I was born on a planet alongside about six billion other people. For the first few years, things seemed pretty ordinary and sane, but then I noticed something odd. These otherwise rational and loving people had the strangest tendency to wantonly kill one another.

And then I noticed something even more bizarre.

Everyone acted like it was totally normal, and as though I was the crazy one for suggesting that we stop killing one another.

We’ve been killing each other for so long that we don’t know any other way. We’re set on that path, and the idea of getting off it, for some reason, terrifies us more than the prospect of nuclear war. God forbid we try to be friends with these people. No, we’d rather risk the possibility of annihilating life on the planet. The notion of just putting down the guns scares us more than nuclear war.

Something remarkable almost happened during World War 1. We came so close to putting war behind us permanently. It marks the most tragic moment in human history, when both sides of a war realized that they didn’t hate each other and that they were brothers being pit against one another by governments. On Christmas Day in the first year of the war, Central Europe forces and Allied forces put down their weapons and met on the battlefield for a day of celebration and peace.

War ends when the soldiers decide to stop fighting.

This posed such a threat to the powers that be–the states of the world–that it was forbidden from then on, and anyone who attempted it faced treason charges. They knew the danger it posed; they knew how close we had come to permanently putting down the guns. All we had to do was make one more decision–“When the sun rises tomorrow, we won’t resume shooting.”

The courage it took those soldiers to rise out of the trenches and walk toward the opposing side was more courage than anyone else had ever displayed in human history. There was every possibility that the other side would seize the opportunity to kill them. “They’re coming at us without weapons! The fools! Kill them! Kill them all!”

But that didn’t happen. They put down their own weapons, and the two sides met in a scene virtually guaranteed to bring tears to any peace lover’s eyes. We were right there. We had put down our guns and approached the other side, trusting that they would accept the gesture of peace and that it wouldn’t prove to be the dumbest thing anyone ever did. And our enemies rose and met the challenge. We came so close to learning it all right then–war is a racket of states. They can order us to kill each other all they want, but they can do nothing if we refuse to. And if we refuse to, we learned on that day, then the other side will refuse to.

It just takes that first courageous gesture of peace, that first person putting down the gun and stepping forward with a hand extended.

The next thing you know, generals and politicians throughout the world are freaking the fuck out because they’ve lost control of the minds of the soldiers and can no longer tell them to go and kill one another.

I challenge the United States to do this today.

Disarm.

If you expect to find a bogeyman pointing a gun at you in every shadow, then that is what you will find.

So disarm completely. Dismantle our warships, our jets, our bombs, our nuclear warheads. Disarm and dismantle everything. Show how courageous you are. Be like those soldiers in World War 1. It doesn’t take courage to continue maniacally shooting at everything that moves. What took courage is throwing up one’s arms, rising out of the trench, and approaching the other side without weapons drawn.

If we put down our weapons, they’ll put down theirs.

It’s time to end the worldwide Mexican Standoff.

And if our government doesn’t do it? Then American soldiers need to just go home. Just put down the weapons and go home. They can’t imprison all of you, because the only people who would imprison you would also have put down their weapons and gone home.

Is it unlikely? Perhaps.

Is it impossible?

The first Christmas of World War 1 suggests that it isn’t. It just takes courage.

 

American Soldiers Aren’t Fighting For Our Freedom

There seems to be a neverending supply of people so caught up in that Fantasy World that they truly believe that the American armed forces are fighting for our freedoms by invading countries that could never pose any sort of threat to our freedoms. There’s a lot to say on this subject, and one of the most important things that has to be pointed out is that, if American soldiers were remotely interested in protecting our freedoms, then they would turn their guns onto Washington, D.C., and then immediately disband after they removed the politicians from office.

I’m not joking, but a lot of people will think I am. A lot of people are probably already typing a comment along the lines of

u be glad idiot that they over their fighting 4 u to write dum shit like this

… or they have already clicked the “X” in the top-right corner.

This is propaganda that has been going on for quite a while. In fact, politicians during the Korean War routinely went on television to remind us that our “brave American soldiers” were fighting for our freedoms. Yes–in Korea. I think everyone today can see that, whatever we were fighting for in Korea, it had absolutely nothing to do with American liberties. Of course, the same spiel was vomited at us during the Vietnam War, too. In each of these cases, many of the people at home swallowed the propaganda completely, but will likely look back now and realize that it was propaganda–bullshit, manipulative propaganda. And though they can apply that in retrospect, they don’t seem to be able to make the connection between that bullshit and the idea that American soldiers today fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and other places… “for our freedom.”

I’ve been called unpatriotic, disloyal, and traitorous. But let’s call it what it really is: just heresy. Just as religions have a long history of tarring and feathering anyone who dared challenge their sacred tenets, so do people today who worship their nation; the only difference is that instead of challenging the notion that the Earth is the center of the universe, we’re challenging the notion that the United States is the center of the universe.

For some bizarre reason, it’s considered disrespectful of the troops to say that they aren’t fighting and dying for our freedoms–even though, you know… they aren’t. The Taliban was never a threat to our freedom. If anything, the Taliban did nothing more than make our very own government a threat to our freedom, with things like the Patriot Act coming in the wake of 9/11 to gut our liberties while our military “fought to protect them.” Liberty and freedom isn’t some imaginary thing that can be fought for in any random place that warmongering sociopaths throw a dart at; they’re real things with real definitions, and real bills passed by real politicians have taken them away. And it is strongly implied that this can’t be true, because, after all, our troops are fighting for our freedom, so how can we be losing our freedom?

During the 2012 Presidential Primaries, the U.S. military overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul*. Ron Paul had so much support among the military that if you added every other presidential candidate together, they would still have less support from the military than Ron Paul had. Yet there was never any shortage of “Support Our Troops” ribbons on the back of people’s vehicles, or Republicans reminding us how important it is to support the troops. It’s just an unhappy coincidence that “supporting our troops” does not mean voting for someone who would bring them home and keep them from dying, nor does it include taking what the troops want into consideration when voting for the President. Instead, “Support Our Troops” means keep electing murderous idiots who will ensure that more of our troops are sent to die in countries that aren’t a threat to us while propaganda perpetuates the absurdity that they are “fighting for our freedom.”

So maybe I don’t support the troops. Maybe I don’t support the military. And I definitely don’t support the military adventures.

But I do support the men and women who were conned by propaganda, coerced by recruiting officers, and beaten by bad economic conditions until enlisting became the only way out. I do support the individuals who are fighting in distant parts of the war for causes that haven’t been explained and to accomplish objectives that have never been clarified. I don’t want them to kill people. I don’t want them to die. It’s not about some geopolitical tug-of-war between two sides and an esoteric ideological conflict.

It’s about real men and women who are shooting real bullets at real men and women, and it’s about real men and women who are being killed by real bullets fired at them by real men and real women.

I don’t want that to happen.

Maybe that makes me a hippie.

I think, though, that it just makes me a decent human being.

The last time the United States was truly under threat by a foreign power was World War 2, and there’s reason to believe that would never have come to pass if the United States had not stepped into the first World War without being under threat by a foreign power. It’s common knowledge that our entrance into World War 1 tipped the scales so strongly in the Allies’ favor that the Central Powers were run over in the Treaty of Versailles, and that American entry into the war would have led to the same general outcome, but without the scales being so heavily skewed. It’s also well-known that the economic strain and forced fracturing of Germany led to the surge of nationalist pride that produced Hitler. Without Nazi Germany, it would primarily have been fascist Italy and Spain with Japan against the rest of the world; the bulk of the military power in World War 2 on the Axis side lie in Germany, and without them the war wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long. And whether or not Japan or Nazi Germany ever truly posed a threat to us is another question entirely–those gigantic oceans on either side of us are important strategic buffers.

Today, American soldiers might be about to “fight for our freedom” in the South China Sea against the Chinese military that has had the audacity to expand into the South China Sea and build a series of islands and military bases there. It’s actually reminiscent of World War 2 and Japan’s attempts to take Midway, Indonesia, and the Philippines. While they do have a large ocean to their east that would ostensibly protect them from American attack, we have something that we call “projection power,” which basically means that we can point to a location on a map and ensure that it’s leveled by nightfall and occupied by our soldiers by sunrise. The ocean may be a buffer of protection for us, but it hasn’t done a whole lot to slow or halt our expansion.

Imagine if we decided to build a series of islands off of Hawaii and California to host military bases, and China was threatening us with military action for having the audacity to do it. We would be livid! “Who in the hell do they think they are? We will not be threatened! We will not be told what we can and can’t do in our territory!”

If we’re going to stack “Chinese Expansion” against “American Expansion,” then I have to be totally honest with you…

The only one that is a threat to me is the American Expansion. Just in the last sixteen years, we’ve “expanded” so much that Edward Snowden’s leaks from the NSA merely proved what libertarians have been saying all along: our privacy is dead. There’s a very real threat in conservative states that protest is about to become illegal, except it won’t be “protest” as much as it will be “any protest that causes any disruption whatsoever.” Because they can’t outlaw protest. Even a conservative state isn’t dumb enough to try to get away with that. But remember how they wrote a thirty thousand page document assuring us that The Patriot Act is totally not a violation of our Fourth Amendment right? Remember how they wrote a gigantic document explaining that requiring us to buy drivers’ licenses is totally not selling us the liberty that our ancestors actually fought for? Be prepared for one of those about how outlawing disruptive protest is totally not a violation of the First Amendment. And, just as with all these other examples, people will sleep easier, content in the knowledge that the government has promised them that it all totally checks out.

Don’t fret, precious, I’m here…
Step away from the window
Go back to sleep
Lay your head down, child–I won’t let the boogeyman come
Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Pay no mind to the rabble, pay no mind to the rabble
Keep your head down, go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums

The government isn’t our friend, or our ally. The government is lying to us, and has been for a very long time. In fact, one of my favorite new jokes is saying that my favorite part of the Trump presidency is how people no longer call me a paranoid lunatic for telling them that the government is lying to them. But it is. It is an entity of manipulation and deceit.

Everything the state says is a lie, and everything it has, it has stolen.

* Sorry for the inadequate wording. I’m referring to donations from active military personnel to presidential campaigns, the only real metric we had to gauge their support.