Calhoun’s Cannons, The Bay News, Morro Bay CA for June 6, 07
What experience and history teach is that people and governments have never learned anything from history. G.W.F. Hegel
“Good-bye America . . . you are not the country that I love and I finally realize no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it. It’s up to you now.”
Thus spoke Cindy Sheehan as she “retired” from the anti-war movement she helped start when she showed up on President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, front doorstep, media in tow, to ask the one question the American Public didn’t want answered: Exactly why did my [soldier] son die in Iraq?
Her son died in Baghdad three years ago. There are now over 3,400 Moms, many of whom are asking the same question, with more added each day. And still the question goes unanswered, which is exactly the way most Americans want it.
Lord knows, they had ample opportunity to demand an answer and make major changes in their government’s bungled and failing mess of a PNAC war policy during the last few elections. But instead of a veto-proof check-and-balance in Congress, Americans voted to make only a modest change, a change that would ensure a grid-locked, do-little Congress that would soon shift the focus from a fatally flawed policy with daily deaths in a real war with little or no real solution in a far-away country, to an even more urgent problem: How do I delay any real change so as to cover my behind, while setting up the enemy so I can inflict maximum damage on him and his political party in order to win in November?
While it’s a superb new war policy designed to capture and pacify Washington, it won’t help any of our soldiers who will go on dying in Baghdad. But, that’s o.k., since that’s also what the American people apparently had in mind as well.
Which is what Cindy Sheehan apparently didn’t understand. America hadn’t changed. What her son died for is exactly what all Mothers’ soldier-sons and daughters die for: Money, power, resources, land, more money, and looney political notions all tricked up with the constant drum-beat of fear-mongering lies and falsely conflated “facts” cut to fit a preset policy -- Domino Theory, Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, 9-11/Iraq --it’s so easy – all covered over with slam-dunk jingo about Democracy & Freedom. Give it an exciting new TV theme song, toss in plenty of really cool high-tech weapons, lots television-ready visual Shock & Awe for a ratings-obsessed, cheerleading media, and Americans will buy it every time.
And God help anyone who starts asking tough questions. Americans hate party poopers and like Cindy, they’ll be slimed as Liberal Commie-Pinko America Haters, then dismissed.
And why not? This is all unlearned history repeating itself: Young men love war and old men love the money that comes from making war. It is the perfect crime: siphon off the profits, stick the taxpayer with the debt and human debris, then scamper off the political field for a well-paid job as head of some multi-national corporation and/or get a huge advance for your tell-nothing book blaming The Other Guy. It’s a bad summer rerun we never tire of.
Best of all, pre-emptive wars-for-profit are especially easy so long as you follow certain rules: First, make sure that the war you want to start takes place in somebody else’s yard, preferably far away in an obscure country filled with poor, easily demonized “foreigners.” Second, make sure your war is small enough to only involve our full time professional, all volunteer Army. These men and women are not Mothers’ sons and daughters like draftees are, full of dangerous questions. Instead, they are expendable Government Issue weapons of the Corporate/ Military/Industrial/Political Complex. As long as their deaths are kept to a reasonable daily minimum and don’t interrupt our favorite TV shows, most Americans won’t care all that much. After all, killing and dying is what professional warriors are getting paid to do.
It’s a great game that Americans continue play for fun and profit every generation. That’s what Cindy Sheehan apparently didn’t understand when she started her journey. Her son died for a piece of ginned-up fiction that once again killed one group of people while making another group of people very rich indeed. And it was all so easy because Americans and their government refused to learn anything from experience or history.