Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Who's Got Your Back? Day 6- Not Our Military

When we think of someone having our back, we might think of somebody with a gun whose job it is to protect us.  This image especially resonates with anybody having military experience.  However, if the money spent on the military since WWII had been spent on humanitarian assistance instead, we would be much safer and the world a far more loving place.

World War II was a history lesson only partially learned.  We got the part that if we helped Germany get back on its feet, we wouldn't have another Hitler to contend with.  But we didn't learn how to keep our own country from becoming the victim of a demagogue.  Since World War II, there have been several justifications for the greatest military buildup that the world has ever seen.  The Cold War and the fight against communism had a lot of traction through the 80's.  Since then as we cut down on humanitarian aid, we became the world's policeman- essentially humanitarian killers.

The humanitarian killer thing was always more of a myth for U.S. consumption.  The rest of the world never really bought the idea that spending all this money for troops all over the globe and using them wherever a case for police action could be made, was done out of the goodness of our hearts and a desire for everyone to have the peace and freedom of democracy that we enjoy.  Americans seemed impervious to the horror stories that surfaced concerning our peacekeeping operations.  Our allies played along with the myth and joined us in the military training operations (wars) it supported.

Now that Trump is in office the myth of a benevolent "Pax Americana" is shattered.  When Trump says "America First,"  he admits that it has always been that way. The myth of benevolence is exposed as much by his rhetoric as by the wide swath of destruction that has followed all of our recent "peacekeeping" efforts, most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We can blame others, such as ISIS, for a lot of this destruction, but our leaders knew that military interventions breed terrorist movements.  But we didn't care because the oil and defense industries and allied politicians profited.

Trump's new justification for war that most of Americans have already signed onto is against terrorism and Islam.  The justification seems to be, it's either us or them, so it should be us Christians.  While this new crusade sounds ok to many Christian ears, it really sounds the death knell of democracy as well as the beginning of Christian persecution.  Isolating ethnic groups by closing borders to them will result in more home-grown terrorism.  

As the definition of "terrorist" expands to include anybody who speaks out against Trump, our citizens will be "purified" in various ways, racially and ideologically and won't have other countries to conduct humanitarian missions for them.  The coming wars will be on two fronts, wars of aggression fought outside of the United States, and one against the people of the United States who speak out against this aggression.

Getting back to that partially learned lesson of World War II.  We didn't learn that war doesn't bring peace, doesn't make us safe.  Jesus, tortured by the Roman equivalent of the "Pax Americana", taught that violence begets violence, that those who live by the sword, die by the sword, and that their legacy is hate, not the love that brings all to know and love God.

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