Sorry this one is late. It's late because the article above reminded me that news, even truthful news, means little without an understanding of the broader picture. The news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, for example, told us only that Kennedy had been killed. There was no credible indication of who had killed him or why. There still isn't. But why he was killed and who did it, is the part that makes this event important to understand.
The latest suggestions are that he was seeking an end to the cold war, and had refused to mount a full-fledged attack on Cuba. So it was, perhaps, U.S. government agents who killed him.
So I thought there is a need of some explanation to explain things that are happening now.
Russia invaded Afghanistan for 10 years - 1979 to 1989. The resistance of Afghanistan was astonishing and, like the British of over a century earlier, the Russians had to get out. Afghanistan had been slowly moving toward democracy. It continued to move that way, with difficulty, after the Russians left - though it then suffered a civil war with the Taliban.
The expulsion of the Russians was done with American help. It was the CIA that arranged arms shipments, and that created and trained al Quaeda and the Taliban in the guerilla fighting that, when the other side does it, we call terrorism. The Jihadist groups fighting in the middle east today, are descendants of that American training. (And, indeed, are still commonly supplied by the U.S.)
Then, just over twenty years after the the Russians backed out, the U.S. and other NATO countries invaded.
No. it had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack on the U.S. In fact, there is no evidence that the Afghanistan government had anything to do with that attack. When it happened, the U.S. demanded that Afghanistan send Bin Laden to the U.S. for trial. The Afghanistan government said it would - but with two conditions. It wanted to see some evidence against bin laden, and it wanted the case tried in a world court. Otherwise, Bin Laden was likely to face a kangaroo court and execution. The U.S. refused, then invaded.
Nor was the U.S. trying to bring democracy to Afghanistan. No country, not even the U.S., has the right to force any type of government on any country. As well, the U.S. happily overthrows democratic governments to install dictators. Guatemala is an obvious case. So was Chile, Haiti, Cuba, Panama as well many other South American states. The Phillipines, for over 40 years, was under an American dictator. It supports dictators in Congo and other parts of Africa. And it just loves the King of Saudi Arabia.
U.S. corporations saw World War Two as their chance to take over from a floundering British Empire. But this time, their empire would be the whole world. It was an extension of an older idea of U.S. conquest that was delicately called Manifest Destiny. And of course, it had the blessing of God - just as the British Empire and Dutch and French and Spanish empires once had once had the blessing of God for their mass murders and exploitation.
The jewel in this empire would be China. That's why, late in world war two, the U.S. warned the British not to reconquer Hong Kong, the heart of British control of China. But Churchill defied Roosevelt, and took it. The U.S. continued to support dictator Chiang kai-shek, a Christian gentelman and American ally who was perhaps the world's biggest drug dealer. But he lost - and so the U.S. lost China.
The war in Korea was fought not to defend South Korea from an aggressive north or to save democracy. Neither the North nor the South was a democracy. And the North and the South had both been aggressive toward each other for years before the Korean War.
So why fight the North? The U.S. wanted a base for the invasion of China. The Vietnam war was fought for the same reason. The U.S. lost lost both wars.
Then came the invasion of Afghanistan. Why?
The official story was that the 9/11 attack had been planned by Afghanistan. In fact, it had not. And Afghanistan had offered to provide for a full investigation of that by world courts. But the U.S. refused, and invaded. So what was the real reason it invaded?
For a start, we now know that the Bush administration had been planning a war on Afghanistan well BEFORE 9/11. We know that Russia had wanted it badly enough to fight a ten-year war. And that, of course, was well before 9/11. Here's a possible reason why both Russia and the U.S. made such an effort.
Osama bin Laden is dead. He was the U.S. excuse for the war. So why is it still being fought? The resources issue gives us a reason that is in accord with the reason for wars in Iraq and Syria and Libya, the slaughter of the Maya peoples in Guatemala. It also explains the many U.S. controlled dictatorships in South America. (In fact, the search for land and resources runs through the whole history of the U.S. since Columbus.)
And the involvement of NATO? NATO itself is a piece of empire building. It exists to provide hangers-on for the U.S. empire. Britain hangs on to it so British corporations, their empire lost, can still plunder as servants of the American Empire. They are the birds who follow the cattle to pick up their droppings. And that is also why Canada sent troops to Afghanistan.
Oh, the U.S. also justifies its invasion by saying the Taliban enforce terribly cruel laws in areas it controls. Very true. The Taliban do enforce cruel laws. Thieves get their arms cut off, and they are left to bleed to death. That is cruel and terrible. But exactly the same laws are enforced by the best arab friend of the U.S., the King of Saudi Arabia. In fact, the political and social views of kings of Saudi Arabia are almost identical to those of the Taliban.
So, this looks like most of the wars in U.S. history - fought to enrich corporation bosses. And the attractive part of it is that those corporation bosses don't do any fighting - and they commonly don't pay any of the cost. That's left to the rest of us.
And let's remember that killing people to make bigger fortunes for billionaires does not make us patriots, and it is not a way to 'serve your country'. (Just remember, people on the other side have been trained to think the same way. Wars are fought by 'patriots' --against 'patriots', by people who are serving their country --fighting against other people who are seving their country.
In fact, empires have nothing to do with patriotism. The British armies that killed and plundered all over the world to build an empire were building it to make the very wealthy British even wealthier. The soldiers and the British people got nothing out of it but brutal poverty. There was no patriotism in that, just murdering and plundering for a handful of the wealthy.
And they were serving their country? How did their country benefit from this? Common British soldiers got nothing but years of abuse and barely survival pay. British civilians got vile jobs with long hours and no holidays and low, low pay in the factories of the wealthy. Anyone who lost an arm or leg in the very dangerous machinery was simply fired on the spot. There was no help. This rule included children. (It happened in Canada, too.)
The Boer War was fought to steal South Africa's gold. The poor fought it to make the rich richer. That had nothing to do with 'serving one's country' or being 'patriotic'. World War One was fought, primarily, to prevent a united Germany from becoming an industrial state that would challenge the industries of Britain and France.
The Korean War was fought (and lost) to give the U.S. a base for an attack on China. Canadian 'Peacekeepers' were sent Haiti as a front for the U.S. in getting rid of an elected president, and imposing an American puppet. Canadians had the usual slogans dangled in front of them for serving in Afghanistan. They were being patriotic.. They were serving their country. And, oh, yes, Afghanis were evil (like almost all Muslims except for kings of Saudi Arabia.)I see no reason for anyone to be proud of all that. Or of the Canadian bombings in Libya, Iraq, Syria.
There is nothing new about a Trump, nothing new at his spewing hatred at Muslims. There's not even anything new about his fighting wars to make money for the very, very rich. Hitler did exactly the same thing. (That's why, in the 1930s, Canadian and American big business rather admired Hitler.)
That's why, on November 11, I would certainly honour those who served in our armed forces. But I would also apologize to them for our betrayal of all those things we told them they were fighting for.
And the situation now is worse than anything I have above.
The wealthy have not only lied to us about wars for centuries. They have not only sent tens of thousands of Canadians to death. They are losers. Despite the most expensive military in the world in the U.S., despite their massive killing all over the world, including bombing millions of civilans to death and including the starvation forced on Yemen, they have been consistent losers.
The U.S. is an empire in collapse. The temptation to save all by going nuclear is very much evident.
There's also another reason we have to stop these wars.
Climate change, despite the assurances of the oil industry, is happening. We have, maybe, twenty years to get it under control. If we don't, we will see climate wars far worse than any nuclear war. And corporate bosses have proven over the cenuturies that they are too greedy to recognize that. (Oh, I know they can fool the chamber of commerce. But that's easy.)
Here in Canada, we know, or should know, that the Liberal and Conservative parties are both owned by corporations. The same is true of both major parties in the U.S.
It's worth thinking about that.
And if you're worried about evil people, think of the British, Americans and Saudis who are deliberately starving the people of Yemen to death. Onward, Christian soldiers...
On a more optimistic note, here's a site sent to me by a reader.
A footnote. In 1918, Canada sent some 4,000 troops to Russia. Their role was fight the revolutionaries in Russia, and to restore a czarist regime. Many of the soldiers supported the revolutionaries, and rioted on their way to embarkation. The had to be forced by other troops with rifles and fixed bayonets to board the ships.
The leaders were arrested by the government. But the commander of the force, General Elmsley, ordered them released because he saw no reason for Canadians to be forced to fight in a war that had nothing to do with Canada. General Elmsley knew patriotism and 'fighting for one's country' had nothing to do with fighting a war to make a few of wealthy even wealthier.