Two million USA citizens demonstrated nationwide in vain against our bloody war in Vietnam on October 15, 1969. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy did not perceive the resounding defeat of French forces in the battle of Dien Bien Phu (May 7, 1954) could have been the end of European colonialism in that subjugated area of our world. (Please read The Battle of Dien Bien Phu by Jules Roy.) Shortly after French colonizers were driven from southeast Asia, US “advisers” and CIA agents were deployed to the country liberated from foreign forces. According to French author Jules Roy, “Departure of the colonial French should have been the end of western interventions in Indochina.” Millions of US citizens who opposed our military intervention were ignored by Commanders-in-Chief in Washington.
Generations later children are still born in Vietnam who are horribly genetically deformed from tons of Agent Orange dropped by US planes. Admiral Zumwalt was one of the officers who approved dropping of the toxic chemicals. His own son was one of the soldiers who also died from Agent Orange. While giving a speech in 1990 in Dallas, Zumwalt was asked if the death of his son from such poisoning had made him rethink dropping tons of such deadly chemicals caused him any remorse on behalf of millions of Vietnamese who died. The admiral, true to his cold, military training, dismissed the death of his son, then said he did not feel sadness and approved of what we did in that forlorn nation.
Since our humiliating defeat and departure from Saigon in April 1975, the USA has invaded fifteen weak nations. Britain and the US have invaded 90 percent of the 195 countries belonging to the UN. Over two billion dollars daily in 2015 on “defense” exacerbate our $18 trillion national debt.
Initially, wars were fought in face-to-face mortal combat when warriors would be splashed with blood of fallen opponents or personally witnessed the pain of someone about to die from a mortal wound. Over centuries warriors have grown farther apart reducing any awareness of death or suffering in “enemy territory.” Commander-in-Chief Obama’s deadly weapon/addiction of choice is the drone. Desensitized warriors devoid of conscience, perhaps sociopathic in their computerized bunkers fiddle with electronic signals, then dispatch deadly drones or missiles to “snuff” out “threats to American security” in remote regions of an impoverished world.
Afghanistan was not the source of “9/11” yet drew the ire of George W. Bush who plunged us into the longest war of US history. President Obama pledged to reduce, then remove US forces from a nation subjugated over thirty years by war. However, in October 2015, the US Commander-in-Chief upon hearing advice from his military personnel in Afghanistan agreed to extend the longest war for another year. The Pentagon recalls our hasty exit from Saigon in 1975. Do military leaders envision thousands of US personnel fleeing the famous “Green Zone” in Baghdad where we have 5000 personnel in the biggest embassy of the world? The lesson of military history we continually fail to understand is: Occupiers hate the occupied; the occupied hate occupiers, but the latter must eventually leave.
With the 1989 demise of a worldwide Soviet “Communist threat” what logical reason remains for spending $2 billion daily? “Global terrorism” will feed our insatiable appetite for arming not only ourselves, but the entire planet. “9/11” is the new tripwire for universal militarism in the absence of global communism.
Ruth Sivard was an economist who analyzed military spending in most nations. Ruth died August 21, 2015. For decades she published the yearly “World Military and Social Expenditures,” which I treasured. Sivard and the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) discovered nearly 60% of federal discretionary spending went to military programs, paying for past wars, ongoing conflicts and preparing for future wars. Her prophetic research and voice will be missed by all.
Peace educator Colman McCarthy compared Sivard to a Buddhist monk who went to the town square daily to cry out against war. People in his town were not listening, so followers of the monk advised him to cease rather than go insane. His response to those trying to dissuade him was: “I have to keep crying out against war so I won’t go insane.” (NCR, KCMO Nov. 5, 2015)
Sivard knew spending $27,000 per second on the military (in Reagan years) was an insane addiction. Sivard did not go insane, rather denounced military madness until her clock ran out after nearly one century.
She quoted M.L. King during the war in Vietnam: “It is a tragic mix-up when the US spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed (in Vietnam) and only $53 yearly on the victims of poverty.”
The fifteen billion year history of our universe and five billion year history of Earth could cease abruptly after only fifteen minutes of nuclear warfare. Insane addictions to war are there to be cast aside by each one of us.