What can I say about U.S. wars other than the vast majority of them are more than stupid; irresponsibly disastrous perhaps. Wars are not heroic, glorious, or honorable. They are unimaginably violent, horrific, terrifying, bloody, barbaric, and hellish nightmares.
Using the most fit youth of our nation, the cream of the crop, to sacrifice their lives fighting wars seems absurd. Ex-felons and convicted prisoners cannot even become soldiers. Who better to send into battles. We honor our fallen soldiers daily in the media as if there is something noble about dying violently at an early age far from home in wars likely to be later forgotten. We say they died for our country, but did they really? Many died for political ambitions, big oil, and other bad reasons. It seems much more noble to celebrate the youth of our nation who live to contribute to its long term future.
I can see only one justification for war, to defend our homeland against the certainty of invasion. This accounts for only a small fraction of the wars fought throughout our nation’s history. Unlike most other nations we are separated by considerable distance from other potentially hostile nations. The fact that we also have the most powerful military force in the world makes a homeland attack highly suicidal and thus unlikely.
Instead we should keep our troops at home. Hostilities outside our borders should be dealt with by the U.N. which we should support and rely on far more. Let U.S. companies abroad fend for themselves as part of doing business there. Perhaps this will discourage some from moving abroad. We can defend our embassies as they are considered part of our homeland.
The U.S. has used its troops in more conflicts than any other nation since WWII. There have been few periods when we have not been engaged in some conflict. Yet we claim to be a nation for Peace and Freedom. It is a shame that we do not practice what we preached. Think of how many lives were sacrificed in the name of Peace and Freedom. How many of these wars did we achieve our original objectives? Very few. So what does that say of the many lives that were sacrifices? How many of those lives could have resulted in something beneficial or even great had that person not been killed or irreparably injured?
I believe that if we do not pose a military threat to others then they will not consider us a threat to them and leave us alone. As things stand we constantly bully others with our military might which buys us nothing but many enemies and much trouble.
We have a myopic view of war. We forget about the non-combatant casualties that far too often outnumber combatant casualties. We rarely experience this far too frequent tragedy except when terrorist strike at home. I can imagine their outrage at our collateral casualties upon them rivaling our outrage of 9/11. This creates nothing but hatred and contempt for us turning them into our foe.
Wars are politically motivated as is everything done by our government. Wars are too arbitrarily declared. Having the most powerful military in the world makes it that much easier to play God. Politicians tell us that this is a just war and that we have overwhelming force and casualties will be light so the war will be quick. As often as they have been dead wrong, why do we continue to buy into it? We are simply too much a war liking nation needing to constantly flex our military might. It’s also good for business.
Are there other options short of war? On hindsight there were other option in just about every instance. One option was to leave things alone. How many lives would have been saved on both sides had we learned the lessons of the past and not engaged? There are countries, the most notable being Switzerland, which have virtual moratoriums against declaring wars but they are far too few. So wars are not a universal means of dealing with seemingly insurmountable conflicts among nations.
Our government bestows medals and accolades on live and fallen soldiers to bait us into believing that wars are heroic, honorable and necessary. Yet looking back, most have been dismal failures wanting to be quickly forgotten. Such are the absurdities of war. So what compels us to continue being so absurdly gullible?
Postscript: I applaud the American public for convincing President Obama to postpone the bombing of Syria and possibly getting involved in another protracted and costly war.
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