Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya
Does US Need Foreign War
As a Domestic Distraction?
by Dan Ehrlich

Another Memoroal Day has passed and two of the biggest questions Americans have to ponder, aside from what are we going to do when the oil runs out, is: Has the Orwellian nightmare in “1984”, the war that never ends, become a reality for us? And have foreign conflicts become more important than the welfare of our own people?

We seem to always be in some sort of combat role…roles that have been mainly for geo/political or economic gains and never concerned with direct threats to our national survival, except the billions spent that have drained our financial resources. But much more than this, the vast numbers of brave young Americans killed in these conflicts seems to have no end. And its wrong.

It's one thing to try to help an ally in distress or to engage in a conflict on humanitarian grounds. But another to become involved in long-term military operations on false information and lies.

Meanwhile, the GOP has told the folks in Joplin, Mo., funds to rebuild their tornado wrecked city is a low priority given our poor economic situation.

Perhaps if we spent a few billion less on foreign aid we might be able to offer more domestic aid to our own hard pressed citizens.

A look at major American military campaigns during the past 120 years, only WW2 was a conflict of national security and well-being.

The Spanish-American War was purely political and economic. WW1 was largely due to Germany killing Americans by their submarines sinking ships sailing to allied nations and Korea was a political operation to save Asia from Communism. Regrettably so was Vietnam…America wanted to maintain its hegemony in the region.

The Cold War?: We now know that the Soviet threat was grossly overstated as a popular bogeyman to keep Americans occupied and happy to be “free.” It accomplished that before and after WW2 for more than 50 years. Iraq 1 and 2 was for oil and more oil...there was a rumor about weapons of mass destruction…but Halliburton couldn't find any…just billions in military contracts for itself.

Now we're spending US lives and billions in Afghanistan on another questionable conflict to fight terrorism in a non country of hill tribes of various loyalties and beliefs in a quest to stamp out terrorism, maintain the US backed government in power and secure women's rights. In the end, we will leave and which ever tribe or party is the strongest and most ruthless will survive.

Alternatively, we could be securing our own borders and developing better defenses for new threats just over the horizon. We have yet to learn we can't change other nations to be a good fit for us. Vietnam should have taught us that.

All wars are fought on two levels: The popular and the political. Since most civilized people shun wars, with the possible exception of some draft dodging war mongers on right-wing talk radio, combat operations have to be sold and hyped to the public on security or humanitarian grounds. Otherwise people wouldn’t buy them. Yet, the underlying reason for conflict may be one to secure a region for economic or long-term security interests based on support for an ally.

With Vietnam we were fed the popular line that were fighting to keep South Vietnam free from conquest by the Communist North.We lost nearly 60,000 American troops and killed more than 2 million Vietnamese in the end for nothing.

Economically, we lost the region first to the Japanese and later the so-called Tiger Nations, all of whom are our trading pals. In fact we're now even holding joint naval exercises with Vietnam, which has become major trading partner with us.

And the biggest communist nation of all nations, China, has America by the economic short hairs as we squirm in the same bed. So, we’ve become friends with them, too. Cold War, what was that all about? But, while China no longer poses a threat to us of godless communism, we have to be on guard because those menacing Cubans are waiting to pounce only a few miles from our shores armed with the Communist Manifesto.

Wait! We now can see on the horizon where a newly developed Chinese anti ship missile reportedly could sink the entire US fleet. Sounds like another version of the Cold War in the green room.

More and more it seems America needs an enemy to fight just as liberals need an underdog to champion. We need to have an adversary to keep our population occupied and tough, or to paraphrase Orwell, to keep the fabric of society intact.

Without conflict we would swap fear and patriotism for glaring dislike for the way our democracy is dissolving. Our domestic issues would again rate top priority. People might even be forced away from banal and idiotic reality TV to reality politics.

So, enter the perfect war, the War on Terrorism. What makes this so perfect is that it’s straight out of the book…a war that will always be underway because there will always be terrorists somewhere and governments devious enough to keep people on tender hooks fearing the next attack. .

The trick for the population is to accept the fact there may always be terrorists, yet not let it disrupt society. Because when that happens, the bombers or shooters feel they have won and politicians will have a green light to curtail individual liberty on the basis of national security.

Still, shooting wars, such as what's happening in Libya, if you can call that a war, serve as vital distractions while making sure the oil keeps flowing. Aside from the death and destruction, the other casualty in all this carnage and money wasted is democracy.

Because when all parties largely act in accord with one another, the people’s will is often ignored or information given the electorate may be false in order to create the necessary popular backing for a certain action…and the war continues.

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