It’s 1990. I’m a young captain in the U.S. Air Force. I’ve just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought I’d see, short of a third world war. Right now I’m witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared. Still, I’m slightly nervous as my military gears up for an unexpected new campaign, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, to expel Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s military from Kuwait. It’s a confusing moment. After all, the Soviet Union was forever (until it wasn’t) and Saddam had been a stalwart U.S.
In '90 I was a (non-combat) vet, a father approaching middle age watching compulsively on my TV, the Desert Storm show. What I saw did not engender in me those feelings of pride and sanctimony exhibited by so many Americans. Charles Wrangle was the last I can remember suggesting the return of a non-exempt draft as one remedy for this mutation, but that laxative is hardly strong enough to flush the blockage.
One of the tenets of modern international law proscribing war is that there can be no military guarantee that war will attain an intended goal, and non-defensive war is therefor never permissible. The Shia tradition of Islam also maintains that there is no individual, save the hidden Mahdi, with the wisdom to decide if a war is for just cause or will attain its ends.
It's time for Americans to demand from our leaders why our military operations are failures, how they defend their erroneous justifications of war, and what legitimacy they themselves still have by continuing to contravene the only just causes of war. They are outlaws by any faith, tradition, or treaty.
THE MEDIA IS MIGHTIER THAN WAR ©
Veteran-Americans’ sacrifices demand democratic engagement to insure government of, by and for The People will not perish from Our America.
The vision of an American Agenda (National Offense vs. Defense) must be to form dynamic strategic alliances, creating trustworthy information channels that offer knowledge and intelligence from and for organized communities and open sources communicating awareness, purpose, principals, values, and strategies and tactics, thus stimulating citizens’ imagination, recognizing their Constitutional obligations and achievements within and among U.S. communities, and their active participation in defining our Nation’s role in world affairs.
Thus, they must connect macro-U.S. Folly Policy, especially vast expenditures for preventive wars of choice to our micro-devastated economies (local, regional, national)! This point of concurrence must enlighten Americans, as independent thinkers so that they can influence and eliminate the propensity to wage WAR by treacherous, primarily neo-con members of the Complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. Communities must strategically organize nation-wide and participate fully and equally in the foreign policy debates creating modesty, realism, transparency and accountability, keeping in mind that WAR PROFITEERING is the existential threat to our humanity! When it comes to protecting and supporting our courageous troops, veterans and their families, herein lies the moral essence of U.S. citizen obligation. *We The People* must create an Empower that can dramatically influence our Nation’s economic and foreign policies for Seven Generations (Iroquois Nation’s Wisdom); and should at least be based on this critical foundation:
§ Aggregation and dissemination of Actionable Intelligence (AI) that is precise, unimpeachable, progressive, and timely. This AI must objectively and strategically link community, national and international issues, and concomitant political and economic/tax strategies enabling citizens to have significant impact on their lives as decision makers through numerous channels of public diplomacy, power and communication.
Therefore, one of the greatest challenges is going beyond the villains, grossly incompetent national security officials, perfidious politicians and lapdog pundits, victims and heroes of the 9/11 Attack (and subsequent vile debacle in Iraq, and untenable tragedy in Afghanistan) to intensive, comprehensive, open debates about those critical issues of our national and economic security, human and civil rights, sustainable defense and foreign policy objectives, and how best to counterattack terrorism and eliminate its underlying roots and hateful true believers everywhere. We must deeply understand the very complex nature of genuine fears, threats, and the concomitant measured responses, which will either affirm or eliminate the obsolete components, assumptions and foundations of post-World War II U.S. Foreign Policy, and their most devastating economic and environmental impacts on communities here and abroad. This task will take incredible moral courage as intense and sustained as our Warriors serving in harms’ way purportedly protecting our Nation and way of life. As citizens of a democracy, we must, repeat, must demand and integrate the facts (genuine intelligence and public knowledge) to fully comprehend the enormous challenges before us. We must rethink our political and diplomatic relations, passionately reflecting on and changing our values and allegiances that has had and continues to have brutal effects on our fellow humans. We must strongly influence our foreign policy debates and policy making that has profound impacts on hundreds of millions of men, women, and children. Our justice system must hold elected and/or appointed decision-makers and officials accountable with trials and severe sanctions when they break international and US laws ~ crimes against humanity and peace...etc. *We The People* are the Best and Brightest and ultimately responsible for their decisions. We must instruct our government employees about the great truths for solving our most dangerous problems. This dynamic struggle is about our core beliefs and ideas of our diminished democracy, its vision and the underlying democratic principles and values inherent in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and most international treaties that inspire us to take preemptive actions to protect our world...when we choose. We must choose to be a progressive world leader, with our *contained* military being recast into its essentially supporting defensive role as a complement and backup for the other vital components of our democracy, national and economic security strategies and public diplomacy. We must authenticate clear and present dangers, international perceptions, ground truths and trustworthy intelligence, and the political and economic assumptions of proposed policies and actions; and implement threat reduction using all of these components, as necessary. Our choice to redress the grievances of previous and current devastating folly policies (Vietnam War, long-term support for and later overthrow of Saddam Hussein and dozens of repressive regimes...etc.), and to reestablish our prestige and exert legitimate power insuring progress toward greater international stability, understanding, tolerance, prosperity and abundance will be the dynamic organizing principles to develop, fund and enhance systems, measures, programs and institutions that will implement abundance capitalism and prevent economic crisis and WAR PROFITEERING. As Memorial Day approaches, we must reflect on these ideas of Healing and Democratic Action:
Arthur Engendorf, a Vietnam Veteran author notes, “healing is the way we restore ourselves...with a little help from our friends, we can heal ourselves, even from war...healing culminates in a renewed vision of what is possible for us and our world. In light of this vision, our individual healing shifts from being the center of attention to an instance of much more encompassing possibility ~ healing for all humanity.”
Legitimacy of moral life depends on the willingness of men and women to struggle with such questions before they decide what to do. Also, Karl Jaspers, a Jewish-tainted German WW II philosopher notes, “all men, like all nations, are tested twice in the moral realm ~ first by what they do, then by what they make of what they do. A condition of responsibility denotes a kind of second chance: men are, as if by a kind of grace, given a chance to repay to the living what it is they find themselves owing the dead.”
Marine Vietnam Veteran
Combat Intelligence NCO
Assigned to Scouts
I can not help but get the feeling that Mr Astore feels the US military of 1990 was made of nobler stuff or that its so called enemies of the time more "real" then those of today.
The corruption of power and the Military as a tool of the one percent has been there since its birth. From the beginning of " savages on the frontier" its so called enemies were manufactured.
That heady optimism Mr Astore felt in 1990 was only there because he bought into the guff that the USA and its military a force for "good".
That it all came to THIS was inevitable.
This creates a conundrum. When examined in THAT context wherein the excesses of the Unites States of America were only kept in check by a powerful USSR one can draw the conclusion that the USSR was a greater force for " good".
Now people are going to be very unwilling to accept that but this helps illustrate the collective delusions that are formed when one embraces militarism.
Mr Astore has not yet escaped that mindset.