Another Memorial Day (on which honor is paid to the men and women who died serving the U.S. Military) has come and gone and of course replete with the oft repeated mantra of American servicemen/women having "defended our freedom" - a phrase that has been interred into the American mind and consciousness and that has been accepted without careful consideration or scrutiny by the American people. To think otherwise is to be unpatriotic, to be chided into a feeling of guilt and shame at not understanding that "truth." That phrase is also predicated on another lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - the lie of the ultimate sacrifice. What the uncritical acceptance of the defense-of-our-freedom phrase does is guarantee that the American people will invariably and unwittingly support all wars in which American servicemen/women were or are involved, as well as all military spending (for of course, the hardware is to be used by the servicemen/women in "defense of our freedom"). The logical corollary is of course the veritable development of a war culture and the aggrandizement of war.
Things become even more ridiculous when those citizens who do not support a particular war become tangled up in the I-support-the-troops-but-don't-support-the-war conundrum, for how then can those troops be "defending our freedom" in a war that is not in defense of our freedom. But that thought is often skirted, and the lie persists, unchallenged, confused with American military aggression, unmindful that the ambitions of each successive regime in Washington is American geopolitical primacy, the imposition of an American-centered world order, and military dominance in the world, all under the guise of "defending our freedom."
And, so young American men and women offer their services with the blessings of family, relatives, and friends (who themselves believe the lie, which by the way take on sacred, almost religious proportions), thinking that they are serving their country, defending their fellow citizens, whereas, in fact, they are merely serving the global ambitions of the regime in power and the ambitions of the military industrial complex. And what is more stunning and mind-blowing is that this veneer of America as the great defender of freedom, parroted by politicians and military officials alike and propagated through the media, Hollywood, etc., has been allowed to stand in the face of the facts of America's ruthless wars of aggression beginning with those waged against the native Americans to those waged at the present time.
Just to name a few of these wars of aggression: the invasion of the Philippines, the triple invasion of Haiti, the twice invasion of the Dominican Republic, the invasion of Grenada, and the invasion of Panama in which U.S. servicemen participated - supposedly in defense of "our freedom." Not to mention the numerous covert operations conducted to oust democratically elected leaders in South America and elsewhere. By all means the wounded and fallen dead ought to be remembered, but let's dare to challenge the Lie so that the lives of our young men are not senselessly sacrificed on account of the selfish ambitions and designs of others.
[art by Ric Couchman]