31 May 2010

Memorial Day

It’s another Memorial Day. The annual chance for everyone to post some sentiment about honoring those who died “protecting our freedom.” Really? Do people actually believe that the soldiers who’ve died since 1945 were protecting our freedom?

I don’t in any way mean to disparage those who suffered and/or died while wearing a uniform. I am saddened and sickened at such a waste of life and potential, and for all the suffering endured by their families. But I have to be honest: These are victims of the corporate military-industrial complex. They are victims of propaganda and jingoism (i.e. patriotism). Their deaths are tragic, but have nothing to do with protecting our freedoms.

Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, The Philippines, Columbia, Syria, etc. have never been a threat to our freedom. They have only, if at all, been a threat to some U.S. corporation’s freedom to make a profit. The only attacks that have been made on our freedoms have come from our government and our corporations, and often these attacks are backed up by someone wearing a uniform with an American flag on the sleeve, rather than the flag of one of our so-called enemies.

The reason I’m writing this (and taking the risk of offending some people) is that I believe until we observe this holiday with honesty; that is to say, until we use it to mourn the tragic and avoidable loss to the youth of our nation, to recognize (however painful it may be) that these soldiers are not heroes but victims, we will only be making it easier to send off a new generation to kill and die for causes which have nothing to do with democracy and freedom.

Today is not an occasion to wave a flag and perpetuate empty rhetoric about freedom and glory. It’s a day to mourn and to dedicate ourselves to stopping such horrid madness from continuing.

Love and peace to my friends (and to those we’re told are our enemies).


(P.S. – I know some who are reading this will be angered and offended and may leave comments reflecting such. That’s okay. That’s one of the freedoms that you have because you’re a human. No one gives you that freedom. No one protects that freedom for you. No one can take it away. But if you find yourself angry, take a moment to ask yourself why. Could it be that you have bought into the propaganda that uses Memorial Day to make us willing to allow killing in our name and with our money? Something to think about.)


Tookie45 said...

I find what you've written very honest and pertinant. But, i do wonder what motivates you to assert that wars prior to and leading up to WW2 (including our own civil war)were unequivically fought for our freedom?
All wars are fought for conquest and the only people, ingaged in such wars, that can be thought of has fighting for the freedoms of it's people are those who find themselves risiting invasion and subsequent occupation and rule.
With that in mind, it might do us all a bit of good to remember that fact along with the victims of the victors,as well as keeping in mind on Memorial Day for whom and what most soldiers risk and give their lives for.


Marc Beaudin said...

Thanks for your comment, Tookie45. However, I don't assert that at all. I would agree that wars are fought for conquest, and sometimes in defense against others' attempts at conquest. With this in mind, the reason I make my point for military actions post-1945, is that I think one could make a plausible argument that at least a part of U.S. involvement in WWII was motivated by defense of those being invaded and subjugated by the Nazis. Of course, elsewhere I've written "WWII was a war between totalitarian fascism and capitalist fascism; and the fascists won."
Peace & Anarchy,