by Paul Balles
The allure of combat is a trap, a ploy, an old, dirty game of deception in which the powerful, who do not go to war, promise a mirage to those who do. –Chris Hedges
In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 — a year to the day before he was murdered — the Reverend Martin Luther King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”
Dr King was right then–45 years ago–and sadly little has changed: America is still the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.
The majority of Americans (55%) say the United States should use its military forces to defend South Korea if that nation is attacked by North Korea.
If a national readiness for war isn’t an immediate readiness for violence, what is?
Perhaps this horrific story will do: Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl was gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses.
According to -Nick Tursa “there are more than 1,000 US military bases dotting the globe. Why have we spawned all of those military bases around the world? To have our military keep the peace or to facilitate gang rapes, murder and burning corpses?
I’ve written previously about American drone strikes claimed to kill terrorists, but have hit civilians including women and children. A McClatchy Newspapers review found that:
“At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists.”
The Miami Herald carried a News report on an attack in the North Waziristan village of Dandey Darapakhel which said that among as many as 25 dead were an Arab who was chief of al Qaida’s operations in Pakistan, and eight of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s grandchildren, one of his wives, two nieces and a sister.
Americans learn to love violence at an early age. Cartoons the youngest watch are full of it. Children’s favourites, like Tom and Jerry, can’t find enough ways to obliterate each other.
A number of studies show that children get older and become glued to TV series or films at the cinema. Violence on TV actually leads to aggressive, violent behaviour, desensitization and fear.
Who suffers most from our love of violence? Those who have been unfortunate enough to get caught in American gun-sights and America’s poor. Chris Hedges says it better than anyone I know:
“We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honour, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment.
“The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Wal-Mart’s to fight and die for war profiteers and elites.”
What do those poor souls learn once they’re on the battlefields designated by their masters? What has them ending in body bags or discharges that only get them waiting in line at the VA hospitals where they battle the broken bodies and the ghosts within?
They know what Dr King meant when he spoke of the United States as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.