18 December 2006

Are we a warlike nation?

We elect presidents who go to war, belittle presidents who carry out efforts of peacemaking.

We celebrate warfare, we marginalize pacifists.

We cherish biblical references of conflict and downplay admonitions of love and forgiveness.

Or is it the result of slickly orchestrated propaganda campaigns that villanize foes and color our cause as righteous and noble? If so, does evil reside in our national leaders that compose such media blitzes or in us for easily falling under its spell, failing to apply proper scrutiny to the proposed campaigns for making war?

In a 2004 radio address, President Bush stated through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly because we have known the costs of war.

Truly, are we a peaceful people, only dragged kicking and screaming into global conflicts? History suggests otherwise:

  • # of times the U.S. has bombed Serbia: 1
  • # of times Serbia has bombed the U.S.: 0
  • # of times the U.S. has invaded the Dominican Republic: 2 (1916, 1965)
  • # of times the Dominican Republic has invaded the U.S.: 0
  • # of human beings massacred by U.S.-backed death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala during the 1980s: 180,000
  • # of human beings massacred by Salvadoran and Guatemalan-backed death squads in the United States: 0
  • # of human beings murdered by U.S.-backed fascist governments in Uruguay, Chile and Argentina in the 1970s as part of "Operation Condor": 32,000
  • # of human beings murdered by the states of Uruguay, Chile and Argentina in the United States in the 1970s as part of "Operation Condor:" 2
  • # of human beings killed by U.S.-client Suharto in Indonesia in 1965: 600,000
  • # of human beings killed by Suharto in the United States: 0
  • # of times the United States has invaded Iraq: 2
  • # of times Iraq has invaded the United States: 0
  • # of children who died as a consequence of American bombing of civilian targets chiefly the water purification and sanitation system and sanctions from the Gulf War to Operation Iraqi Liberation: 500,000
  • # of children who died at the hand of Saddam Hussein in the United States: 0
  • # of Americans killed in the horror of 9/11: 2,800
  • # of Afghan civilians killed after Operation Enduring Freedom began: over 4,000
  • # of Iraqis killed as a consequence of Operation Iraqi Freedom: anywhere from 100,000 and counting.
  • We're the biggest arms peddler in the world.

    Is that really the model Jesus left for Christians to follow after him? While Christianity may not imply de facto pacifism, no way was Jesus an advocate for war and violence.


    Aggressive war is only possible when the populace of the aggressor does not empatchize with the populace of the victim. It's very hard to do that when the last war on your soil was 141 years ago. There has never been an aerial bombing campaign on US soil. Very few other countries can say that. Pearl Harbor wasn't a campaign - it was an idiotic idea that shouldn't have happened. Not only that, it didn't impact many US citizens and wasn't repeated. Contrast that with the firebombing of Dresden, the Battle of Britain, the current activities in Baghdad, Afghanistan, Palestine, or the 3?4? hot wars in Africa.

    Until the US populace at large understands and internalizes the consequences of war, it will be nothing but a video game in their minds. It certainly isn't something that affects "human beings" . . . right?