Post from September 9, 2014 (↻ April 5, 2018), filed under Everything Else.
The United States have so far engaged in 71 wars in which they killed 13.8 million people; not counted are the World Wars they ended with nuclear strikes on Japan. The U.S. have led 26 proxy wars in which they took 1.4 million lives. The U.S. have displaced entire regions with millions more people, removing them off their own soil. (Numbers retrieved manually, for lack of critical historical publications, and likely higher—also see notes.) The U.S. have been an aggressor in most of these conflicts, they escalated several of them into genocides, and there is no end in sight.
No organization ever attacked the United States in like form (and, for respect of life and principles, no one should). Pearl Harbor and 9/11, even following U.S. government and not independent third party accounts of these events, do absolutely not justify U.S. violence, destruction, exploitation, and atrocities committed in response.
We look at but a mosaic of history here and so it must fail to put United States military and economic aggression into a more powerful perspective. It stands little chance of reaching the U.S. public to, for once, review their past and present conduct. It’s only suggestive in how the U.S. have become everyone’s best friend because of their aggression, and it misses to demonstrate how friends of the U.S. get economically exploited, politically undermined, culturally and socially drained, and, lastly, put under total surveillance.
For positive and constructive change we can’t resort to United States methods of back-room politics, manipulation of public opinion, and violence (Chomsky). We face a hard problem that involves systemic and philosophical issues as well as other countries, most notably England. What do I know, but it seems to me we need to tackle all of these issues, together (the time is not now, but close). We must recognize that we all are one people who are here to grow and learn. We can grow and learn to respect each other, trust each other, and work with each other, so that at some point, no nation, not one, engages in wars and conflicts, leads proxy wars, or displaces entire regions. Wars may seem so natural and common, but they’re not, they must be unacceptable, and as mankind we need to finally move on.
Notes. People means people like you and me. Numbers of U.S. victims extrapolated from Wikipedia and likely higher due to U.S. bias of reporting (for research see e.g. Herman’s and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent). Statements based on tangential studies, and not taken lightly. Atrocities by the European powers are in a similar league of terror and horror. This post is pro-peace and pro-rights, not anti-American (in a way it has nothing to do with the U.S. per se); the “anti” rhetoric is idiotic and needs to stop for criticism is important, and we criticize because we care. I’m a friend of the United States and I’d much love them to, when fit to do so, lead by wisdom and virtue, not slaughter and exploit.
The United States has gone to war, actually killing people, over a dozen times since Vietnam: Cambodia
[…], Iran […], Lebanon, Libya […], Panama, Grenada, Gulf I, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya again. We’ve aided and abetted killing in the Falklands, El Salvador, Afghanistan […], Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, and Israel/Palestine. We are a very aggressive and warlike nation. Denying our collective responsibility for these activities, whether they were right or wrong, is like scurrying around the house of an alcoholic hiding empty bottles and never mentioning the drinking.
—Karl Marlantes: What It Is Like to Go to War (2011).
I quick-researched and wrote this post in March. It was one of these things that then bugged me for some time after. It still comes early. Now, in September, the United States are fueling the next war against an enemy they themselves may have created. The bending of truth seems to have become so embarrassingly low, if it wasn’t also so unbelievably serious—once more killing people for power and profit—one could just focus on protesting against making bombardments social media events.
We can, and we must, do better.
About the Author
Jens Oliver Meiert is a technical lead and author (sum.cumo, W3C, O’Reilly). He loves trying things, including in the realms of philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.
If you have any thoughts or questions (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.