|"War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost." Karl Kraus, editor and publisher of Die Fackel [The Torch], Vienna, 1899-1936.|
May 25, 2007
eing on Senator Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) email mailing list, I received her announcement, which I've appended exactly as it was formatted, about the appropriate way to celebrate Memorial Day. Here's my reaction to it.
Dear Ms Boxer,
I just received your email about the history and observance of Memorial Day. There are two sentences in it which I think should have been more carefully written. They are:
Since no specific war is mentioned, you must have intended them to refer to the current war too. And that's where the problem arises.
My recollection is that the Congress authorized the Bush regime to use force against Iraq because the President said repeatedly that that country had weapons of mass destruction which were an imminent threat to the United States. That has long since been shown to have been a self-serving lie.
This makes Bush and his underlings war criminals as defined in international law. The fact that they could get some Texas ambulance chaser to opine that they are exempt cannot possibly be relevant. Were the Nazis war criminals merely because they didn't have the right legal advice?
It also makes those that aid and abet this crime war criminals. This includes the Congress when it repeatedly funds the operations which are criminal. It also includes the soldiers who carry out the orders of the war criminals.
Knowing all of this, as I'm sure you do, what did you mean when you wrote in the first quoted sentence that the US soldiers who died in Iraq "died for our freedom" and in the second "that their sacrifices have been significant"?
The effect of applying these sentiments to all America's wars, including the present one, is to put into question the sacrifices of those who died in the other ones.
Given the apparent purpose of this one, namely to corner the world market in crude oil, and the soaring oil company profits, one begins to question the purpose of all the other wars. Were they also to secure the predominance of some US industrial sector over potential foreign rivals?
Were they all just lethal playoffs in some deadly international league to determine the world championship in a given historical era, with the high flying rhetoric about human rights, western values, democracy, anti-militarism, anti-fascism, anti-communism, and anti-terrorism being merely the PR necessary to conceal the utter banality of the underlying criminal enterprise? One wonders.
Maybe this kind of boiler plate rhetoric, which seems to have a special charm for windy Congresspersons on national holidays, is not to be taken seriously, but I don't think so. Given that the Congress is now totally out of touch with the people who they are bound to represent, this high-sounding, but actually contentless rhetoric, further debases the very foundations of the country.
It is high time that we stop being "good Germans" and start telling the truth… to ourselves and to each other.
This Memorial Day our nation will again honor the heroes who
have paid the ultimate price in service to America. We honor
these men and women who, when asked to do so and without
question for their own safety or comfort, heroically served our
Memorial Day is an intensely personal day for the many families
who mourn their loved ones who died in battles in faraway
lands. This year, I send my condolences to each family and my
hopes for strength during these difficult times.
Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 as Decoration Day, when
the families of Civil War victims honored their war dead by
decorating their graves. Over time, the holiday became known
as Memorial Day -- a day for all Americans to commemorate the
valor and sacrifice of the men and women who were killed in
service to our nation.
Many Americans also commemorate a “National Moment of
Remembrance” by pausing to honor women and men, both at home
and abroad, who died for our freedom. At 3 p.m. local time,
people across the country stop their regular routines for a
moment of reflection to honor America’s fallen.
I encourage everyone to join this Memorial Day to honor
America’s finest -- men and women who gave their lives for our
nation. I also encourage all Americans to join in honoring the
service members who are returning from war, sometimes with deep
and lasting wounds, by remembering that their sacrifices have
been significant and that their healing process may be long.
Remember to shake their hands and thank them for their service.