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Today is Revisionist History Day, what others call Memorial Day. Americans are supposed to remember the country's war dead while being thankful that they protected our freedom and served our country. However, reading revisionist history (see a sampling below) or alternative news sites (start with Antiwar.com and don't forget to listen to Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton) teaches that the fallen were doing no such thing. Rather they were and are today serving cynical politicians and the "private" component of the military-industrial complex in the service of the American Empire.
In that spirit, I again quote a passage from the great antiwar movie The Americanization of Emily. You'll find a video of the scene below. This AP photo is a perfect illustration of what "Charlie Madison" is talking about.
I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It's always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it's always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades . . . we shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows' weeds like nuns and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices....
My brother died at Anzio – an everyday soldier’s death, no special heroism involved. They buried what pieces they found of him. But my mother insists he died a brave death and pretends to be very proud. . . . [N]ow my other brother can’t wait to reach enlistment age. That’ll be in September. May be ministers and generals who blunder us into wars, but the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution. What has my mother got for pretending bravery was admirable? She’s under constant sedation and terrified she may wake up one morning and find her last son has run off to be brave. [Emphasis added.]
Enjoy the day. I'll spend some of it reading revisionist history -- Ussama Makdisi's Faith Misplaced: U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, and watching Emily.
Here's an all-too-incomplete list of books in no particular order:
- Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism, by Jeff Riggenbach
- War Is a Lie, by David Swanson
- War Is a Racket, by Smedley D. Butler
- Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, by Paul Fussell
- Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War, by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
- The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, by William Appleman Williams
- The Civilian and the Military: A History of the American Antimilitarist Tradition, by Arthur Ekirch
- The Politics of War: The Story of Two Wars which Altered Forever the Political Life of the American Republic, 1890-1920, by Walter Karp
- The Costs of War, edited by John Denson
- Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, by Stephen Kinzer
- All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, by Stephen Kinzer
- Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, by Chalmers Johnson
- The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, by Chalmers Johnson
- War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges
- A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, by David Fromkin
- The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, by David Hirst
- Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, by Ussama Makdisi
The annual display will remain on Eighth Ave. until dusk on Monday
Philip Morris, a veteran of the Army National Guard, looks at the tombstones of his friend, DeForest Talbert along the Memorial Mile along 8th Avenue on Saturday, May 28, 2011 in Gainesville, Fla. Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
May 28, 2011 - More than 6,000 tombstones with names of those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq now line the sides of Northwest Eighth Avenue — and they'll remain in place until dusk on Monday.
by Walter Brasch
Unless you were in a coma the past few years, you probably know who Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are.
You heard about them on radio, saw them on television.
You read about them in newspapers and magazines, on Facebook, Twitter, and every social medium known to mankind.
Because of extensive media coverage, you also know who dozens of singers and professional athletes are.
Here are two names you probably never heard of. Sergeant First Class Clifford E. Beattie and Private First Class Ramon Mora Jr.
They didn't get into drug and alcohol scandals. They didn't become pop singers or make their careers from hitting baseballs or throwing footballs. They were soldiers.
Both died together last week from roadside bombs near Baghdad.
By John Grant
John Fleming is a 58-year-old African American born and raised in Philadelphia who served in the Army from 1969 to 1972 maintaining nuclear weapons in silos in Germany.
It was 10:45 AM on Friday outside Courtroom 1006 in Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center. Fleming had been “caught with an illegal substance” and he was there for Veterans Court. Instead of taking his chances in the regular court system in Philadelphia, he had volunteered to participate in Philadelphia’s Veterans Court.
He was pacing in the hall. He had been told to be there at 10 AM for court that would not begin until 11 AM. Earlier there had been some kind of misunderstanding and he had to come back. He was impatient.
More than 1,200 soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan completed surveys between July and August of last year. The US military released the results Thursday.
By Anna Mulrine, The Christian Science Monitor
Morale among American troops underwent a “significant decline” between 2005 and 2009, according to a study by the US military released Thursday.
Soldiers also experienced “significantly higher” instances of “acute stress,” including depression or anxiety, during the same time period.
Nearly half of combat troops surveyed say that they had killed an enemy fighter.
The findings come after more than 1,200 soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan completed surveys between July and August of last year. Now, the study is being released as America’s longest war – in Afghanistan – is about to enter its second decade.
ScienceDaily (May 18, 2011) — A session presented May 18 explored the inhalational exposures and respiratory outcomes of military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Presenters reviewed current knowledge on complex inhalational exposures, epidemiologic studies, animal toxicology studies, and clinical lung findings in U.S. military men and women who are returning from Southwest Asia.
By John Grant
I know when night has gone
That a new world's born at dawn.
I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
-- Sons Of The Pioneers
We live in frustrating times for anyone politically opposed to the relentless militarization and financialization of virtually every facet of life in America.
The idealism of the Sixties and Seventies was overwhelmed first by Reaganism, then by the tsunami of post-911 fear and, finally, by the momentum of two, now three, on-going foreign wars. We live in an enforced condition of permanent war and unfettered piracy.
By BEN HARTMAN, 07/05/2011
Mordechai Vanunu tells 'Post' no country has offered him asylum but that if he is allowed to leave "I will get on first flight anywhere out of here."
Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday demanded that Israel rescind his citizenship in keeping with a new law that strips Israelis convicted of treason of their citizenship.
In a letter written to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and released to the media on Saturday Vanunu, a Beersheba native, says "I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don't want to go on living here." Rest of the article at the Jerusalem Post
May 5TH 2011
MK Mr. Eli Yishai
Minister of Interior
The State of Israel
Re: Revoking my Israeli Citizenship
I am Mordechai Vanunu that was kidnapped from Rome on September 30, 1986 by The Israeli Secret Services.
I was tried by The Jerusalem District Court and convicted of Aggravated Espionage, High Treason and Assisting the Enemy and I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This followed an interview I gave to The London Sunday Times regarding the secret production of nuclear weapons materials in Israel.
I fulfilled the democratic principal of the right of the public to know.
I have served 18 years in Ashkelon Prison, mostly in solitary confinement.
I was released on 21 April 2004 with severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli Government.
Seven years past and the restrictions had been renewed again and again relying on The Emergency Laws from 1945.
Since my release I have lived 6 years in East Jerusalem and since September 2010 I live in Tel Aviv.
Below are just a few related articles and links.
On May 1st, An Infuriating Anniversary, the day of the Mission Accomplished' Speech and Banner as to Iraq eight years prior, the War of Choice, that turned the Afghan Operation into same, nothing to do with 9/11 al Qaeda nor bin Laden, the Afghan 'Mission is Finally Accomplished', bin Laden dead, after creating possibly thousands of bin Ladens seeking blowback!
Tens of thousands dead, millions turned into refugee's, lives and countries destroyed, and still no 'Sacrifice' as to the results for the Veterans of nor Accountability for the lies of those who ordered the destructive decade plus, Still Ongoing!!
Does one need to serve, no, but that one had better choose his or her words very carefully, especially those 'his', when spinning what they think is wrong with a Country they avoided like a plague to do that service in their younger years!! Oh ya and Especially if one likes to brag about their vast wealth, some probably left to them other gained by investing in defense industry corporations, and Doesn't Demand they 'Sacrifice' for the Veterans, and Families of, sent into the wars of choice which reap those huge defense profits!!
How the presidential aspirant avoided fighting for his country
April 20, 2011 - L. Tammy Duckworth came to Hartford on Monday and told a sad story.
Duckworth was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in 2004 when she lost both legs and the partial use of one arm in combat. Now, she's assistant secretary of veterans affairs in D.C., and recently, she was in Vermont talking to a man who was staying with his family at a homeless shelter.
That's sad enough, but the man was excited. A member of the Vermont National Guard, he was getting ready to deploy, and his family had received permission to stay in the shelter for the duration of his tour overseas.
Imagine. Excitement that your family could stay in a homeless shelter.
By John Grant
The battle over the meaning of a traumatic experience is fought in the arena of political discourse, popular culture and scholarly debate. The outcome of this battle shapes the rhetoric of the dominant culture and influences future political action.
--Kali Tal, Worlds Of Hurt: Reading the Literature of Trauma
There’s a major struggle for meaning going on in America now that centers on war trauma among returning soldiers and veterans of our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Libya.
If it doesn't keep it handy, tepublicans are out to destroy what once was and that wasn't perfect.
If the teabaggers get their ShutDown Congress has to pass a Special Bill just so our Military Personal, at war in their wars of choice, Can Get Paid!
Apr 6, 2011 - The pay freeze that would come with an extended government shutdown would severely hurt military families and require the military to organize financial help for those who don’t have savings to cover bills, a nonpartisan arm of Congress is warning lawmakers.
A shutdown could come as early as midnight Friday. As a months-long dispute over federal spending continues, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget warned Wednesday morning that military members would be expected to report to work without pay. The military will be fully paid once government funding is restored, Obama administration officials said.
By John Grant
A contingent of 20 right-wing veterans with flags and signs declaring their devotion to “our troops,” marched up to the blocked-off Pennsylvania Avenue area in front of the White House. One of the men wore a blue shirt with Army Security Agency printed on it.
“I was in the ASA,” I said to the man, attempting some kind of cordial dialogue. At nineteen, I had been an Army Security Agency radio direction finder in the mountains west of Pleiku.
The heavy-set man glowered at me and said: “I’m sorry to hear that.” It was as if he were somehow the arbiter of who was, and who wasn’t, a good American, as if he alone gave a damn about "our troops."
I shot back at him: “So, what the hell does that mean?” He turned away, and I moved on. So much for dialogue.
March 18th, 2011 - This week on War News Radio, we hear about a new documentary, "Shepards of Helmand." Then, we talk to veterans coping with traumatic brain injury. This, and the week's news
March 10th, 2011 - It started with a Facebook status update. Upset at the media's coverage of Charlie Sheen, someone took up for American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.
"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."
The status update has since gone viral, shared by tens of thousands on Facebook. An abbreviated version is on Twitter.
This report just aired on CBS Evening News:
March 7, 2011 - Kathy Strong was 12 years old when she put on a bracelet to keep vigil for a solider missing in Vietnam -- now it's time for her to take it off
March 1, 2011 - It was a long way from a machinegun mount in a military convoy in Baghdad. Robynn Murray’s getup was very elegant on Sunday at the Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California. What made her stand out from the famous movie stars at Hollywood’s gala event was the brace of tattooed pistols perched on her chest atop a stunning black and gray dress.
By John Grant
It’s considered unsportsmanlike to say, “We told you so.” But since all’s fair in love and war and we’re definitely at war, it’s fair to say the peace movement has been right about the whole sordid reality of US war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That may sound audacious or ridiculous to some, especially to those knee-jerks who love to ridicule the antiwar movement while knowing nothing about what it really stands for.
It’s important to note, here, that the peace/antiwar movement doesn’t have quite as extensive a public relations and propaganda program as that employed by the military and its supporters in the federal government and the mainstream media.
For instance, the peace movement doesn’t have well-funded, highly-trained Psy-Ops Teams such asRolling Stone has shown the military has. So no one is able to brainwash US congress members intocutting the military budget and de-funding the wars.
The Push of Conscience & Secretary Clinton
By Ray McGovern
February 23, 2011
It was not until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked to the George Washington University podium last week to enthusiastic applause that I decided I had to dissociate myself from the obsequious adulation of a person responsible for so much death, suffering and destruction.
I was reminded of a spring day in Atlanta almost five years earlier when then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld strutted onto a similar stage to loud acclaim from another enraptured audience.
Introducing Rumsfeld on May 4, 2006, the president of the Southern Center for International Policy in Atlanta highlighted his “honesty.” I had just reviewed my notes for an address I was scheduled to give that evening in Atlanta and, alas, the notes demonstrated his dishonesty.
<------- Remember these? They were a big joke and joy for a group still calling themselves republicans and happened as the Country were sending Military Troops into war once again, wars that still continue, and never a real apology for their joke. I'll bet some of them still have some handy to be used and laughed about when their need arises to do so as they wave the flag and condemn others who don't agree with them. Oh and while they seem to get joy about Soldiers being wounded in our wars and awarded the "Purple Heart" these were pointed directly at a brother In-Country Vietnam Navy Veteran, my tour there, as a Navy GunnersMate 3rd, was my last year of my four '70-'71.
Mourning Iraqi Wives, Children on Valentine’s Day
By Ray McGovern
February 14, 2011
Twenty years ago, as Americans were celebrating Valentine’s Day, Iraqi husbands and fathers in the Amiriyah section of Baghdad were peeling the remains of their wives and children off the walls and floor of a large neighborhood bomb shelter.
The men had left the shelter the evening before, so their wives would have some measure of privacy as they sought refuge from the U.S.-led coalition bombing campaign, which was at its most intense pre-ground-war stage.
All of the more than 400 women and children were incinerated or boiled to death at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, 1991, when two F-117 stealth fighter-bombers each dropped a 2,000-pound laser-guided “smart bomb” on the civilian shelter at Amiriyah.
While I respect Senator Murray and was happy she was picked to take over from Senator Akaka on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee her attack is another disconnect in what Agencies can do with what Congress, the peoples representatives, gives them as I wrote a short note to her yesterday. The Veterans Admin. has been underfunded, and in many times politically run, since Korea as they moved funds from the Korean Vets to our brother 'Nam Vets and ignored what we were even telling the Country, i.e. PTSD, Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome and more. The Country hasn't wanted to fund the results of their wars and Congress follows that bid especially the tax cutters of which just recently they extended the 'Non Sacrifice', especially for the wealthy many making wealth off these wars and readily pony up big campaign contributions, cuts now over the whole decade of these two conflicts.