Fifty years ago, a wise man once stated, “Either we will put an end to war, or war will put an end to us.” Arguably the last, great American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy held a view that world peace was obtainable, and more importantly, war was a poor tool from which to shape our collective future. Since the death of JFK, American foreign policy has taken a drastic turn into the realm of absurdity and never ending conflicts. From the Vietnam War to the response to September 11th, 2001, the United States has been involved in or directed over 30 military interventions into countless sovereign nations. This total includes what has been confirmed, and does not even account for a long list of suspected covert operations. But who really benefits from all of these foreign excursions? Is it the working class fella who pays his taxes and only cares about providing a decent standard of living for his family? Or is the political and economic elite, who are constantly seeking new markets and natural resources to gobble up?
Probably the saddest part about war is that the most courageous of men are used as dispensable pawns by the political class in Washington, most of whom are empty headed suits with no military experience. As has been the case throughout most of history, we have lions being led into battle by feckless lambs. The moneyed classes, most of whom have never picked up arms against their fellow man, ultimately determine the policy of our nation, while at the same time profiting from it. We used to call this an oligarchy when referring to the old Soviet Union. When one peels back the layers of propaganda being espoused by these oligarchs through the American corporate media, we see that most diplomacy and foreign policy comes down to promoting two objectives: 1) Complete American hegemony and military superiority throughout the globe, and 2) Establishing new markets for western multinational corporations.
As we look around the poorer nations of the world today, we still see remnants of slavery and oppression among the human race. We know that almost a third of the world’s population live on less than $2 a day. In 2011, this is a mark on our civilization. No nation or groups of people can claim any sort of moral superiority as long as we allow our fellow men, and children, to needlessly suffer and die everyday. Ironically, the United States has long claimed moral superiority, whether it is in disposing of brutal regimes and dictators, or intervening based on humanitarian crisis. However, these claims do not withhold the scrutiny of critics because consistency is always lacking, nor is there any empirical evidence to support these ludicrous assertions. No matter what justifications are given for war by the political elite in America, the underlying reasons always break down to money and control.
Peace, whether in regional contexts or on a global scale, can never exist unless we tap into the compassionate and empathetic side of mankind’s existence. I fear that in this once great nation, barbarism and war are ultimately held upon a pedestal of unquestionable inevitability. There is a growing sense among the younger generations in this country, that because war has been commonplace since childhood, there is no way of avoiding it. In a way, it has been bred into their existence. And that is the real tragedy and legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; the illogical dogma of war that has been forever instilled in the hearts and minds of the next generation of honest, decent Americans. Only when enough of the citizenry wakes up to the real motives behind these wars of aggression, will people demand peaceful solutions to our glaring problems. President Eisenhower aptly summed it up best when he said, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Hopefully that day is right around the corner.