Why We Fight

Why We Fight

I just re-watched a film by Eugene Jarecki which was the winner at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and titled “Why We Fight.” These thoughts came to me as I reviewed the film.

We’ve been indoctrinated our entire lives that we, the United States, go to war to fight for and protect/promote democracy and freedom. And we’ve been doing it i.e. fighting in one war or police action after another, my entire life. I was born in 1952. Gore Vidal, who has a brief cameo in this film, wrote an excellent little book called “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” which lists the wars/police actions we’ve been involved with for the past half century and offers some great insights into why this is. And in case my use of the word “indoctrinated,” is too strong for your tastes, check out what Doris Lessing has to say about public education and how we’re indoctrinated, “We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination.” (The Golden Notebook)

The film starts out with President Eisenhower’s famous farewell address in which he warns us of the dangers of the military/industrial complex. He originally wanted to add Congress to that “complex,” but was persuaded to drop it because it hit a little too close to home i.e. the truth. I would expand this complex to the military/industrial/congressional/educational/media complex. I bet if you polled the entire American public, over 90% of us would say that we fight to protect democracy and freedom yet what do these words actually mean or stand for in today’s world?

President Eisenhower was clearly qualified to speak on such matters after having served as the Commander in Chief of U.S. forces during WWII, and he stated unequivocally, “We fight because of this military/industrial complex that is a self-perpetuating, permanent war economy. What this means in a nutshell is that because so many corporations in America have vested interests in manufacturing the weapons of war, and because they have made such fantastic fortunes by selling those weapons to our government, they pressure/manufacture reasons for us to be in a state of perpetual war. Conspiracy theory? Do your homework i.e. follow the money.

Perhaps it would be useful here to review what our principles and values are i.e. what we keep on claiming them to be, at least? Here is a list of what we most commonly refer to as our “values:” freedom, equality, democracy, champion of the little guy, helper of the oppressed, & defender against tyranny. Sadly though, most Americans aren’t aware of our true history i.e. the stuff they don’t tell us about on the nightly news or in public school. Here’s just a short list of some of the bloody dictators that we i.e. our government via the C.I.A. & other agencies, our military, & our corporate masters have financed, participated in the suppression of their citizens, & trained their secret police: Somoza in Nicaragua, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Philippines, Duvalier in Haiti, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, etc. The list goes on for quite a bit but for the sake of brevity, I’ll leave it at this for now. The point is that we don’t practice what we preach and in fact, we do just the opposite. In other words, our strutting around the world stage and pounding our chests as we declare our moral superiority to the rest of the world is a farce and the rest of the world knows it but most Americans don’t because we have been indoctrinated with our own propaganda our entire lives.

To illustrate, an important tool for that propaganda has been Hollywood movies and the director of this film, took his title from the title of a series of propaganda films that Frank Capra made to whip up support for our entry into WWII. Consider movies like “Blackhawk Down.” It’s a complete distortion of what actually happened but it makes us feel like once again, Americans are the champions of the poor, the weak, etc. and we save the day. Reflect on how Arabs and Muslims are portrayed in the movies and on television. They are always made to look like evil, sinister, bad guys out to rape white women, kill innocents, etc. And the talk show hosts like Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, etc. fan the flames of racism, hatred, & bigotry daily to their millions of listeners and viewers. If another 9/11 type event occurs in America, I fear the public backlash against the good Muslims who live here will be horrific. This all plays into the hands of the rich and powerful who control us because they want us divided and fearful of one another so we don’t unite against them. It’s as old as time itself i.e. divide and conquer.

This film, “Why We Fight,” points out that we are living in a “System of Legal Corruption.” Consider how Halliburton, who’s CEO, was Dick Cheney, helped put George W. Bush in the White House and was then given the lion’s share of the contracts for rebuilding Iraq and servicing our military. We’re not suppose to connect the dots that it was Cheney primarily who had been wanting to invade Iraq for its oil reserves for decades and that he basically told Georgie what to do i.e. he was the shadow president. Or that Cheney had/has over 400,000 shares in Halliburton even as he was serving as vice president and the stock prices shot sky high making him a handsome profit. Cheney was making around a million dollars a year as CEO of Halliburton but after we illegally & immorally invaded and occupied Iraq, Cheney’s earnings went up to over $60 million per year.

We’re also not suppose to notice that Obama who swore to bring “change” to America, has been prosecuting “whistleblowers” who tell the public about fraud, waste, & corruption in agencies like the NSA, etc. but won’t prosecute the guys who brought our economy to a screeching halt and in fact, put them in charge of the economy e.g. Geitner, Summers, & Bernanke. Obama when asked to prosecute Bush for all the crimes he committed said, “I’m not interested in looking backward and want to look forward.”
Speaking of whistleblowers, there’s a great example of one in this film and his name is Franklin “Chuck” Spinney. He worked in the Pentagon for over two decades I believe and he testified many times in front of Congress about the fraud, waste, overcharging, etc. of defense contractors but was never listened to i.e. his words fell on deaf ears. Do a little research for yourself and you’ll be sickened as I was.

In summary, we are now fighting in three illegal wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, & Libya and we are violating the Geneva Conventions as established after the Nuremberg war crimes trials against the Nazis. And the power elite in America are waging a war against all Americans not a member of their club. The recent assault on public employee unions by the governor of Wisconsin and followed by Republican governors around the country are clear evidence of this assault on the poor, the working class, & the middle class. They seek to bankrupt public education, Medicare, Social Security, and every program that helps the needy. I have a perhaps novel idea, why don’t we fight for true democracy and freedom right here in America rather than the phony freedom and democracy that we have sacrificed so many lives and so many dollars for around the world? Food for thought?
—-Rob DeLoss, May 19, 2011

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