Henry Kissinger, one of the world’s top dogs of war, once said, “military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” If an architect of American foreign policy feels this way about the men who carry out his global ambitions, imagine how little concern he must have for the innocent victims of his pursuits.
Memorial Day originated in 1868 after the climax of the American Civil War when the nation had lost over 625,000 of it’s most capable men in bloody conflict, many of whom were brothers, friends and family. Understandingly, a deeply divided and mourning nation needed to pay reverence to the fallen, and the day became a lasting tradition within a few short years.
Since then, the United States has elevated itself to the world’s leading superpower, a feat made possible by a total dedication to war as the leading tool in foreign policy. We have been involved in some type of international conflict almost continuously since then, and the meaning of this once sacred day has been watered down and twisted.
While fallen soldiers who served the nation in good conscience, even when the true motives of the nation’s elite were hidden from them, certainly deserve our reverence and remembrance, the day has now become an opportunity to bolster and embellish the idea that war is a necessary part of national surveil, when it is not. Now, a puppet president bows his head in feigned concern and places flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier, and the pundits, opinion herders, and chicken-hawks in the media and government seize upon our programmed sense of patriotism to remind is that we are and always will be a nation of war, not a nation of peace. Our passions are inflamed with patriotic rhetoric, impressive military displays, and the overuse of terms such as honor, sacrifice, freedom, and democracy. All of which have lost their meaning in an era of endless and ever-increasing conflict for empire.
Who Are The Hidden and Innocent Victims of War?
War is not paid in only human costs. The damage to the earth and the plant and animal kingdoms is always severe and should be of note. Stripping the earth of resources to build disposable machines of death is a breathtakingly stupid use of what the earth has given us. Polluting the landscape with the residues of smashed weaponry is a travesty, and with the negligence involved in tossing depleted uranium and radiation all over the planet for political gain, the suffering that this will be inflicted on future generations will never even be known by any of us alive today.
Estimates about civilian casualties, or ‘collateral damage’, of war are impossible to confirm, but some believe that 90% of casualties are unarmed civilians, a third of which are children. The destruction of war extends far beyond combat, and the famine, disease, chaos, destruction of infrastructure, genocide and democide take a heavy toll on those whose lives are caught up in conflict. In the 20th century alone, some 200+ million people died as a result of war. Between the Gulf War of the early 90’s and the shock and awe occupation of Iraq that began in 2003, economic sanctions on Iraq alone resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1 million Iraqi children, proving that the disastrous effects of political conflict can endure long after the bombs stop falling.
When Will These People be Remembered?
Without acknowledging the innocent victims of war while we honor the supposed glory of those who take up arms at the behest of crooked world leaders, there is no way to achieve a proper perspective or consensus on how war effects human society, and the myth of war as a tool for peace will persist.
Memorial Day was originally a chance to remember the losses of soldiers in battle , but it has now become an opportunity to promote and market war, and until respect is also duly given to the total costs of war, not just the machismo fantasy of dying in glory to supposedly preserve freedom, we can be sure that our future will know not peace.
Let’s propose that a new Memorial Day is created to honor the innocent victims of war, perhaps the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Do not all the human beings who have paid this ultimate price for political ends deserve to be honored as well?
“With all DUE respect to those soldiers who’ve been killed in war and Memorial Day, (and I’m a Marine Corps vet) there should be a ‘Innocent Victims of War’ Memorial Day, also… Soldiers choose to put their life at risk… innocent people have no choice.” – Paul Davis, US Marine Corps veteran and creator of the Facebook community, Innocent Victims of War Memorial Day
The appalling words of Henry Kissinger are a clear indication that our political elite are wholly unconcerned with the true human costs of war, yet we still permit them to drag us down this path of death over and over again. When will it stop?
About the Authors
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist esoteric arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. His remarkable journey of self-transformation is a testament to the power of the will and the persistence of the human spirit. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.