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What Was the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Slain Marines at Which Trump Called "Losers" and "Suckers"?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/09/04/what-was-battle-belleau-wood-slain-marines-which-trump-called-losers-and-suckers

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I have dreams of IQ45 being marched out of the WH at the point of a bayonet by a Marine in full dress on 20 January 2021 at noon. Would do this nation proud.

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A full contingent of them. So what was it, toe nails? bone spurs? that kept his *&%$#@ ass out of Vietnam?

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Have divided feelings about our war dead. On the one hand, I regret the suffering they had to endure, their own and that of their families. After all, they entered these conflicts feeling they were sacrificing for the good of their nation. On the other hand, they contributed to the destruction of many human lives, all for goals that are illusory: the preservation of our individual freedom, the ending of tyrannical regimes, the advancement of democracy. By no manner of thinking are they “losers” as Trump would have it. Instead, I tend to think “What a waste of precious human lives!” For the most part, it would have been better if they stayed home.

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Orangeman becomes the epitome of unvarnished dictatorship, with all pretense of patriotism casually shrugged aside, as if to put our national lust for a strongman to the ultimate test. US Americans fancy this to be “the land of the free,” while we so desperately long for cultural servitude – as if “something larger than ourselves” could be the mad mass – we might utterly humiliate ourselves to maintain fascist order. It’s a tossup! Never underestimate the capacity of US Americans for self-sacrifice to the golden caste.

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Loathsome as Trump may be, he isn’t entirely wrong here. It could be said that soldiers on every side of the Great War were “suckers.” For what, after all, were they fighting? Before the Yanks came along, with their Madison Avenue-generated (think Edward Bernays and his “freedom torches” to encourage women to smoke cigarettes) hokum about “fighting for democracy,” the other powers all relied on variations of “King and Country” as reasons to fight and die.

As the soldiers’ song went, “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here.” Millions died because in the summer of 1914 the aristocratic/inbred classes thought it would be jolly good fun to have a splendid little military adventure and be home by Christmas.

Suckers indeed.

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Family money.

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Agreed. Remember the Christmas truce when soldiers on both sides stopped fighting? This outraged those in power.

There were no good guys in WW1. The soldiers that fought either side were duped by calls to patriotism. They were fighting a war on behalf of the 1 percent who were fighting over “market share” and seeing which bloc would exploit Africa and the Middle east.

There the remnants of an old town on the way to the interior of BC. The town was prosperous and thriving before WW1. 90+ percent of the men volunteered and joined the Canadian army. Most were killed in the war. The women left behind could not make a go of it so the town was abandoned.

All of that for what?

Buffy Ste Marie had it right.

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Juan Cole may be correct enough in his appraisal of Trump’s psychology, but if so, so what, finally?

Why should it be a sin against the soldiers’ good intentions, where they had these, to point out that their rulers sacrificed them to lesser and less salubrious interests?

No, one could wish for a more tasteful messenger, but maybe it is better that the news come with a slap, since it has to arrive yet again more than a century after the fact. However we may trust the authenticity of sacrifice of one or another soldier, whatever the intentions of each individual, these men did not die for freedom or the prosperity of their loved ones or to “make the world safe for democracy”; they were just sacrificed, like some girl thrown in a pit or clubbed dead for someone’s notion of divinity or aesthetics or a good time.

It was all death in vain. It will be again.

Altruism and self-sacrifice exist, surely enough. But surely WWI stands among the great examples of sacrifice in vain. Smedley Butler also wrote of these men when he wrote that “War is a racket.” In case we doubt that Wilson and the Brits had a poverty draft back then as well, this by W. B. Yeats:

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

                                     WB Yeats

Let us honor the dead by serving the cause we attribute to them when we think of them fondly–peace, equality, autonomy, and prosperity in a real sense, with food and shelter for all and care for the needful. Let us no longer honor any sacrifice imposed by force or seduction.

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Universal soldier by Buffy St Marie says it all, with commentary by Bob Dylan’s With God on our Side.

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i would amend the key line in Ste Marie’s closing verse from:

“He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame”
to:
“He’s the Universal Soldier and he has to share the blame”

Because “the blame” certainly has to be shared by the predatory warmongers and fake “patriots” who dupe the soldiers.

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It really is true that the poor fight the wars to keep the rich, rich.Most of the rich, though, would call those wounded or killed heroes. It is the cold, imperceptive, and draft-dodging rich, though, who would refer to the war wounded and dead as “suckers and losers”. Sentiments such as those are just cold and heartless, no matter who harbors them.

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And stand him up against a wall, blindfolded, and hear the command “Ready. Aim. FIRE!”

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Maybe, but given a different time and different circumstances, ol’ Buffy might have been standing on street corners, handing white feathers to guys passing by.

Despite the reasons for war, or the willingness of people to fight them, there always is a defined WINNER.
They normally get to decide the fate of peoples and properties.
If you are fighting to win, regardless of the circumstances, not very many are
going to consider themselves suckers. And we don’t label them as such, except in trump’s case.
As far as I’m concerned, being in a war is a personal thing, even though it appears as a group think matter.

Thanks for the Yeats.

Wow. I haven’t heard this one in a very long time. I think it may have been overshadowed by Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t a Marchin’ Anymore.” I looked it up, and reading the words I hear Buffie singing in my head. I believe that line and the song as a whole were intended as bitter sarcasm toward the foolish “conventional wisdom” of the ages.

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If there was ever a war the US should not have been in (and yes, there are many), World War I takes the cake. We had no dog in that fight at all - Those who talk about the Lusitania forget that a) it was carrying ammunition and other war materials for England and b) the Germans repeatedly warned Americans not to travel on it. Just one more legacy of Woodrow (KKK) Wilson.

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I’m sending a typescript of this article (with references) to each of my chickenhawk senators (R - NC), with a dare to read it into the Congressional Record.

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Read WAR IS A RACKET by General Smedley Butler. General Butler did not call the Marines in the 1918 war suckers but he did call the war a sucker war to support big businesses vested interests, like Standard Oil among others.

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