Political Lust For War

I’m About to celebrate my 89th anniversary as a member of the human race and still wonder if we have become more civilized than my knowledge of history allows me to contemplate. This article was written for our local newspaper soon after our attack in Afghanistan and updated it as we can now witness the results with the present killing of more young Americans in Afghanistan. 6 Navy Seals accomplished what we have been fighting for the past 10 years. We can also relate this to Iraq, Vietnam, Korea and many other wars of the past. I may have posted this in my blog before, but think it needs repeating.  

Is Civilization a Remote Ideal?

Anger is a wind that blows out the lamp in the mind. “Strong emotions including, anger makes it much more difficult for individuals to make reasoned decisions”

 An excellent columnist, Stephanie Salter,  formally with the San Francisco Chronicle, lost her column in 2001 as a result of writing a column “We Didn’t Have To do This.” about the war in Afghanistan. After 10 years her views now ring true. I wrote this similar newspaper column around the same time and had many critics.

Quote from Stephanie’s column: “We Americans have never been known for critical thought and analysis. Context and historical perspective rank low on our national priorities list—-Add to that our deliberate myopia and chronic impatience, and you have  the U.S military trashing big chunks of Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-I-Sharif in pursuit of a cave-dwelling, mass murderer and his worldwide band of suicidal disciples.”

Within only three weeks after 9/11 we were carpet bombing the villages in the hills of Afghanistan in an attempt to kill one man, bin Laden, and a few recruits; resulting in the deaths of  4 to 5 thousand innocent civilians, probably not even aware of the 9/11 bombing. We had to do something as the public and politicians were angry and wanted revenge. Many deaths are still continuing every day with no end in sight. When Americans are killed it’s a tragedy, when non American civilians are killed its collateral damage. The government cleverly shielded viewing the deaths of Americans and Muslims and is still shielded today.

Thousands of innocent civilians had to move to the desert in the dead of winter with many dying from hunger, bad water, land mines and the weather. Besides the bombing, civilians were killed because we employed the barbaric War Lords of the Northern Alliance to do the ground fighting for us to reduce American casualties. These war lords have now set up their own provinces and have their own armies supplying the world with opium, plus providing soldiers for the Taliban. They don’t want an American democracy that may threaten their power. After ten years our original objective hasn’t been met. Why are we still fighting?

If our leaders and the public had used critical thought and analysis in considering the history of other countries akin to the Russians spending ten futile years in an attempt to drive out the Taliban,

We should have also used thought and analysis before invading Iraq without any real knowledge of the slim probability of uniting three different religious cultures in Iraq. This created another costly and ineffective military endeavor. If we leave there will be a resumption of the civil war we are now refereeing.

 My first and last two paragraphs will irk many people as reality is difficult to accept. Observing the history of wars, violence and poverty in the world has led me to conclude that civilization and organized religion are nothing but remote ideals. 9/11 and the three Gulf Wars are not good examples of civilization.

John Adams said it well: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” 


3 responses to “Political Lust For War

  1. Luanne Clague

    I remember when you published this in the newspaper and was accused of being unpatriotic. Now that things have played out somewhat and the war in Afghanistan is no longer popular I suppose it is an easier column to swallow. But watch out, because we are getting good and mad with Iran and may have to teach them a lesson or two.

  2. Is Civilization a Remote Ideal? I think it is when we apply it to the abstract and you have cited some good examples showing it is a remote ideal. But let us do what we can to be civil in our everyday lives. Something we all need to practice. I think you will enjoy this clip:http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#the-civility-experiment

  3. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    I well remember when you first wrote this. As I think of the innocent people killed as a result of man’s inhumanity to man, I am so very sad. I wish the leaders of our government and military were men of integrity and sound understanding. That seems to be a remote idea.

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