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April 10, 2017


Here we go again flexing our military muscle for all the world to see – and (we hope) fear. We have had a “strike” on a Syrian air base for the official reason that Trump didn’t like the TV pictures of gassed Syrian babies, babies, however, he in a show of terminal hypocrisy will not allow to come to the United States. His “strike” was a made-for-TV show of Tomahawk missiles leaving our destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean for a Syrian air base and the “strike” accomplished nothing positive – quite the contrary. The air base was operational the next day and Syrian jets leaving there bombed the same town that gave us the pictures of the gassed babies, thus clearly challenging Trump to follow up on his “strike.”

All the strike accomplished was to strengthen the dictator Assad’s hold on power, serve as a recruitment tool for ISIS, and give Putin some talking points on what he called American aggression. It scared nobody. No policy plans are in sight; there is no Plan B; the attack was for show on the whim of Trump who sought adulation from hawks and prospective war profiteers while playing the tough guy to his base.

We have seen this show before but apparently we have learned nothing. George Bush invaded Iraq for the official reason that Saddam had WMDs. He didn’t, but we are still there and in contiguous areas yet today trying to deal with the aftermath of that disastrous war. Warmongers such as Bush and Cheney waved the flag and we responded, claiming that our national interests were at stake and that Saddam had to go. This is the same Saddam that we supported during the Reagan era with weapons of war and other support in Iraq’s war against neighboring Iran during the 1980s not so long before he “had to go.”

I am of the opinion that our national security was not at stake in Iraq but that oil was, hence Bush’s invasion, an invasion that also greatly profited Halliburton (where Cheney was CEO prior to his election as vice president) and other war profiteers as well, marked by no-bid contracts handed out by the Bush administration to its friends, including the private army of Blackwater (headed by Erik Prince, brother of our current Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos).

Now we are told that an American strike force (including an aircraft carrier) is en route to North Korean waters in another apparent show of strength in the face of North Korean provocations with their missile testing, and why is that, why when everybody who is anybody admits that neither the Syrian nor North Korean problems can be solved by military means? Why don’t we go to the UN, have direct communication with the dictators of Syria and North Korea, and try to solve these problems short of war? If we fail and there is truly a threat to our national security (and not one dreamed up by war hawks and putative war profiteers), the military option is always available. Why lead with your ace?

I think the North Korean caper in the works is not the result of planning or policy; I think it is because hawks such as former Trump critics McCain and Lindsay praised the Syrian strike and many TV pundits said that the strike indicated that Trump was “decisive” and looked “presidential,” thus giving him a green light to pursue other war-like moves now motivated by the adulation this hopeless narcissist has received from people who should know better if they can go to the trouble to  remember our recent history in war making. Maybe Trump has too many generals in his inner circle who are trained for war and not peace who, when added to the John Boltons and other hawks and war profiteers, give him the impression that everybody is for war. Maybe, but I don’t think so.

I think that adulation may have played a part in his decision to send a naval strike force to North Korean waters, but I think it coincided in a perfect storm with his desperate attempts to change the subject and the headlines from his campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians which, if proven by three investigations now underway, would end his presidency in a flash and which, if it happens, might finally make America great again.

For those readers who may think the author of this essay is some sort of un-American coward I note that this essay was not written by a peacenik but rather by a veteran of WW II who volunteered before he was of draft age and spent some time in the South Pacific defending our democracy from a fascist threat to our national security and indeed our existence, unlike Trump who dodged the draft on multiple occasions when called upon to serve his country, speaking of cowards.

Finally, I remember well that my now deceased wife used to say that her father often told her and her siblings that “All wars end at the peace table, so why don’t we reverse the process?” I think he was on to something. What do we have to lose in trying, since other options remain on the table?     GERALD      E


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