Inspection- Standing on the Edge of Oblivion

by Ken Carman

 Will we ever learn? Standing on the edge of yet another possible war we mostly talk about what might drag us further down the war path, and almost never about the effectiveness of this blood drenched “solution” we have used since those who were to become us crawled out of the slime.
Inspection  Yes, we have argued about the validity of each war, yet how much do we discuss the very concept of war as some supposed “solution?” And what arguments we do have are so shallow, like when someone claims war is “good for absolutely nothing,” as the song says, WWII is brought up.
 We will return to the assumption WWII is the ultimate, undeniable, defense for more war briefly.
  The right likes to argue our conflicts were under control until Obama became president, despite continued bombings, attacks on the populace, the infrastructure collapsing, terrorists Saddam had mostly kept from pouring into Iraq. Yet, once Saddam was gone, they not only poured in like roaches once the light is off, but essentially morphed into super concentrated form, like sink soap. ISIS was like extremely toxic bottle of Dawn 2X. Keep trying to make them go away by killing more soon we have 3X, 4X…
 This is “mission accomplished?” Well, if profits for the military industry, Blackwater and KBR/Halliburton and silencing critics, the media were all part of the actual goal, I suppose so.
 If Afghanistan and Iraq had been such successes Obama would have had nothing to supposedly screw up. We would have been gone, with little but a few advisers left behind. Both countries would have become stirring examples of freedom, like “freeing” Afghanistan did under the Gipper and Papa Bush.
  Cynicism free of charge.
 No matter how we frame this, no matter whom we blame, the only mission accomplished was sinking our feet deep in quicksand, hopefully not cement overshoes.
 But our inability for recognizing how ineffective this solution is goes far beyond recent history. The president has gone on and on about how we always used to win wars, like when some of us were young. Really? Tell that to the people who didn’t make it to the Jolly Greens in time, or left to suffer the “compromise” that was Korea.
 A “war to end all wars?” WWI, arguably caused WWII and gave Hitler a firm platform from which to commit genocide. Hitler may be dead, Nazis marginalized… for now. Fascism is by no means dead; has a supposedly “kinder” face for now: like it did when Hitler first started. And it’s not hard to understand that Hitler’s excesses were but a prelude to the Khmer Rouge, the ISIS or al Qaeda. Philosophies are but the excuses we use to justify “final” solutions that are worse than no solutions at all.
 The Civil War? Everyone lost. Many “freed” slaves lost their freedom to former slaveholders given control of the prisons, then worked to death. Poor white southerners really didn’t have it that much better and were told the blacks were to blame. Others headed north where they faced as much prejudice, or more. Followed by well over 100 years of lynchings, hangings, burnings, being shot for “flirting” with a white woman, patsies murdered so white folk wouldn’t be held accountable, the KKK, segregation, denial of the vote, separate but… unequal.
 My point being, “A success?” More like a slaughterhouse that led to more horrors.
 Not surprising: legalized murder to change opinions and attitudes so often has the exact opposite result.
 My muse here started when the History channel offered a program on the War of 1812. Apparently it’s more a matter of opinion whether we actually won the War of 1812. I know in history class it was framed as an attempt to get the colonies back. But actually there were many reasons. Part of the intent, inspired by Jefferson, was to conquer Canada. Job not done.
 Any war where your capital city is burned down can hardly qualify as a stirring success, no matter how many hard to sing songs are written about it. Even if one becomes the national anthem.
 The Brits thought they won. We thought we won. Sounds more like a draw to me.
  So once again we are about to “solve” problems with legalized mass murder. Few seem willing to challenge the very premise our solution is based on: that we can kill away problems; especially not today’s mainstream “news” media.
  Mother Jones’ editor in chief of Mother Jones explained…

  “It’s dramatic. It’s good for TV. Reporters get caught up in the moment, or, worse, jingoism. Military action is viewed as inherently nonpartisan, opposition or skepticism as partisan. News organizations that are fearful of looking partisan can fall into the trap of failing to provide context.”

 Problem is the opposite is true. War is a political act by its very nature, and more often than not used by politicians as an excuse to silence critics, raise their fortunes in the polls, win elections and squash opposition. Mainstream “news” media finds supporting such partisanship quite profitable. And if war is to be successful in any sense context is crucial.
 Yet, even with context, war rarely makes anything better, rarely creates more “freedom.” Patriotism becomes the excuse to deny the very freedom we claim to fight for. War also offers an opportunity for tactics “villains” were vilified for to be adopted by the “good guys:” like torture, bombing a population…
 Thom Hartmann, talk show host, has said…

 ”There has to be a bigger plan than just get rid of the bad guy.”

  I say, in most cases, there has to be a bigger, better, alternative plan, rather than just go to war, for war really doesn’t work all that well. In fact, in many cases, it tends to have consequences far worse than the problems we were trying to solve.
 Now that we are on the precipice, ready to jump into another conflict-driven abyss, we need to ask ourselves whether war is a solution to anything, or if it often only makes it worse. I type “often” because I understand: there have been times when; by the time we go to war, the war already exists. On such occasions, far more rare than we think, going to war is more like having to react to keep the child molester away from kids, the rapist away from our family, the murderer who just broke into our house from slaughtering us while we slumber.
  But we need to understand it’s too easily, too quickly, sold that way by partisan hacks and the greedy, the politically needy, the power hungry. And we need to understand it’s our deeper, somnambulant, slumber that keeps us bouncing from conflict to conflict. It’s our unwillingness to stop the feeding frenzy caused by war profiteers that fires more artillery. Our inability to work things out without resorting to legalized mass murder that powers the missiles, drops more bombs, pushes more bullets out of the barrels. And, sooner or later, that will be the death of all of us.

                                               -30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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