By Dave Read, July 29, 2023 – History is unlike TV, movies, and screened entertainments. History accumulates to produce today, it is neither serial nor episodic the way entertainment is, which produces profit. The blood from the slaughter of war soaks into the soil, then rises into the bloodstream of victor and vanquished alike. Never do the vanquised forgive, nor will they ever forget.
Take notice where the emblems of America’s lost cause appear; it is where the vanquished enemy of American unity still crave revenge for the confiscation of their ancestor’s personal property. Only those wearing blindfolds will fail to notice that people who revere the stars and bars make common cause with people who revere the swastika of vanquished Nazi Germany.
Birds of a feather flock together. Misery loves company.
The inevitability of the collateral killing of innocent people is what makes all war slaughter. Why that truth doesn’t make global peace and brotherhood the explicit aim of every nation must be attributed to a combination of societal ignorance and the artful marketing of those who profit from war.
Much contemporary American history traces straight back 1953, when President Eisenhower and congressional leadership allowed the C.I.A. to overthrow the freely-elected Prime Minister of Iran. From that dastardly deed has flowed 70+ years of bloodshed, at the behest of the bankrupt Anglo-Persian Oil Company. History is that simple, but is it taught in public schools, truly?
And, of course, that region was only the 1916 product of the British and French Empires, who drew the boundaries of today’s Middle East out of the corpse of the Ottoman Empire. Today Israel promises to continue their war in Gaza until they eradicate the ideology that produced Hamas. Do they not know that all the global forces arrayed against it, from 1939 onward, has not eradicated the ideology of Nazism?
Probably half German Nazis joined the original party, not because of ideology but because membership was the only way to get a job, or remain alive; maybe half American Nazis are in it for a job in Trumpworld, while the the balance are afflicted with bloodlust but otherwise indifferent to the source of the blood they thirst after.
It is one thing to win a shooting war, another thing altogether to win the peace that ensues. So has it been since Cain killed his brother. So shall it be until people admit the truth, until people trust that what their eyes see and what their ears hear is the sight and sound of the slaughter of innocent people, and not the national vindication that the politically powerful promise them it is.
Here is an excerpt from the opening of “The Moral Equivalent of War,” published in 1910, by William James, brother of the celebrated novelist Henry James:
“Ask all our millions, north and south, whether they would vote now (were such a thing possible) to have our war for the Union expunged from history, and the record of a peaceful transition to the present time substituted for that of its marches and battles, and probably hardly a handful of eccentrics would say yes. Those ancestors, those efforts, those memories and legends, are the most ideal part of what we now own together, a sacred spiritual possession worth more than all the blood poured out. Yet ask those same people whether they would be willing, in cold blood, to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or woman would vote for the proposition.”
A mere two years later, the men of America elected a southerner as president for the first time since 1848, and before Woodrow Wilson had time to build an army and send it to the rescue of the old, broken world, he re-segregated the federal bureaucracy, as if to make democracy safe for racial bigotry again.
Clearly the people in positions of national responsibility continue to overlook the prophecy of William James. War has raged somewhere nearly every year since 1910, and today, another mass slaughter feels imminent.
In the aftermath of “The Great War,” predatory Germany was allowed to re-arm and to maintain its aristocratic officer corps, under the limp pretense that submission to military authority is the principle source of good personal character, which is the only guarantee of a healthy society. Unless people are obedient to personal codes of conduct, and have acheived mastery of their own base instincts and animal appetites, they mustn’t be allowed to carry a gun, much less serve in the nation’s police or armed forces. Nobody as heartless as Derek Chauvin belongs in public service, much less military service, as he was.
The maintenance of a standing army, global navy, and air force make it all to easy for politicians to solve by brute force whatever problems they failed to prevent and/or solve with honest reason. If we continue to arm and drill soldiers on the arts of warfare, sooner or later, there will be war; it won’t be fair, and more innocents will be slaughtered.
Having diverted so much of our national genius to the art of war, having invented and spent our national treasure on the annihilation of life on earth, isn’t it time we do a proper, military about-face, and begin to study the art of peace?
Isn’t it time, at long last, that we heed our ancient brother Isaiah and “turn our swords into ploughshares?”