If Ken Burns ever makes a documentary about the Afghanistan war, it will no doubt avoid acknowledging the wisdom of those who've opposed it from the start.
The Afghanistan War documentary by Ken Burns III may someday be set for release in Spring 2074.
Or maybe not. The peace movement in the U.S. made Vietnam, rather than Korea, a topic for Burns. The peace movement is struggling to make people in the United States aware that the war on Afghanistan even exists, much less that it is entering its 17th year — making it something that people who still don’t recognize Native Americans as full humans call “the longest U.S. war.”
If there ever is such a PBS account of Vietghanistan, it will no doubt steer clear of the illegality, the lasting damage, and the wisdom of those who rightly opposed the crime before it began and all the way through. Yet such a film’s content will likely be so awful, and depict such evil madness, clearly counterproductive on its own terms, that some people will finally catch on.
Or we could skip to the future and just watch War Machine with Brad Pitt right now, which gets a lot of it right.
In Burns’ Vietnam, Harry Truman “inherited” a world in which the U.S. alliance with the USSR “had collapsed” — all by itself apparently. Poor wittle Harry! From there, people of “good will” almost helplessly stumbled into the slaughtering of some 3.8 million Vietnamese plus hundreds of thousands each of Laotians and Cambodians, really with the best of intentions imaginable.
Now, of course, they’ve learned their lessons. Now their wars are run on a much higher moral plane — often a robotic plane armed with missiles in which their commander in chief owns stock — but still a much higher plane, killing hadji instead of gooks, and doing so with yet better intentions than before, and so even-handedly that it’s become necessary to threaten 25 million gooks with extinction (John McCain’s word) or total destruction (Donald Trump’s words) as well.
It occurs to me that even though I wrote a book cataloging types of war lies and pleading with people to be prepared to recognize them — and updated the book last year — the world’s second-oldest profession remains very much alive and has entered a new millennium with a bang — not to mention some “fire and fury.”
Despite North Korea’s clear openness year after year to reasonable negotiations, Trump has simply declared talking to North Korea impossible. And the very real failures of North Korea’s government, and its actual possession of weapons, are bizarrely depicted as reasons to attack it, if not to commit genocide and risk nuclear apocalypse — as if the United States doesn’t have grotesque failures and possess doomsday weapons itself.
Weeks back, Trump proposed finding some way to pretend that Iran was not complying with the agreement created two years ago as an alternative to an illegal, immoral U.S. attack on Iran. Now, Trump has given up and announced that he will simply declare the agreement to not be in his interest — that is, the interest of war, the interest of someone seeking the profits and political high and domestic distraction of mass-murder-leadership and the music and flags and horse manure that accompany it.
Meanwhile, the permanent U.S. bureaucracy, the mass media, and every friend of the Clinton family who hopes to retain that status, has persuaded most of the country on the basis of no evidence that Russia is an evil threatening demon that put Trump in office — and persuaded Trump not to pursue peace with Russia.
Add to that the — thus far evidence-free — Trump administration claims that Cuba has been attacking U.S. personnel.
And all of this is just the hunt for new wars that can be piled onto the almost unnoticed existing ones, including the war on Yemen waged by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, the war on Syria based largely on lies about a government actually guilty of other crimes (including, not many years back, crimes in partnership with the U.S.), the war on Libya that rolls on despite the successful destruction of that country’s basic institutions, and of course the wars on Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Afghanistan — the latter a nation that even U.S. think tanks categorize as a dictatorship or failed state after 16 full years of liberation-murders.
John Lennon once wrote these words. If you feel em, please scream along:
I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
This article was originally published at DavidSwanson.org on October 6, 2017.