War–What is it Good For? Absolutely NOTHING!

Turn on the news. Pick up a newspaper. What’s the top story?

Will Vladimir Putin actually invade Ukraine? Will the 100,000-plus troops he’s sent to surround Ukraine begin moving in on the country he considers to be part of Russia? Is his goal to re-create the old Soviet Union?

I mean, he’s already taken Crimea. Many of the people on the Russia/Ukraine border already speak Russia, so they’d fit right in, right?

His goal is control and power. Estimates of loss of life if he were to invade are between 25,000 and 50,000. He doesn’t seem to mind; he won’t be one of the people who would die.

He considers Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to be weak. After all, he didn’t dig up dirt on Hunter Biden for Putin’s best friend, Donald Trump, prior to the 2020 election so that Trump could use it against President Joe Biden. After all, Zelensky’s only a celebrity who was elected president after a big scandal in Ukraine. After all, Trump was only a celebrity who was “elected” president in 2016 after losing the popular vote to the outdated Electoral College.

Putin wants Trump back in the White House. He’s saber-waving and threatening to move in.

Do the Russian people want war? Putin doesn’t care what they want. He’s in control and he’ll command what they do. If they won’t go to war and he wants them to, he’ll send them to some gulag. Right?

I was just listening to some people who were discussing the romanticizing of war, and how young boys (mostly) like to think of going to war as an act that only patriots do, taking up arms against whatever enemy might threaten their respective country. John Wayne and war movies in the 1960s and ’70s made war the ultimate testosterone experience. Sure, you watched your buddied die or become seriously wounded, but it was all for the cause, whatever the cause was. In the movies, Rhett Butler looked terribly handsome (as Clark Gable always did) in his Confederate-gray uniform, but when Tara was burning and he showed signs of battle and defeat, did that discourage the next handsome young guy from wanting to grab a musket and fight? Not at all.

In the 1960s, I protested the Vietnam War for many reasons, not the least of which was that I knew the so-called “domino theory” being pushed by war mongers was ridiculous. Another reason was that poor young men of all races, but especially people of color were being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam at a much higher rate than middle- and upper-class white men. It was common, for example, for a poor young man who’d committed even a low-level crime to be told by a judge, “Son, you have two choices: I’ll send you to jail or you can enlist. Fight for your country or go to jail. It’s up to you.” How many of those who chose jail now have their names on a wall in Washington, DC?

When Martin Luther King, Jr., began to question the gap between the races in the military during the Vietnam War, he came under more and more scrutiny for that criticism. He was fighting against poverty and racism, as well as for peace. When he was assassinated in 1968, he was in Memphis to protest the strike of sanitation workers–all of whom were African-American–who’d walked off because of poor working conditions, low pay, and poor treatment by those in charge. Their signs read, “I am a man,” and that’s how they wanted to be regarded.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who’d been in the U.S. Army for many years, including as a general prior to being elected president, warned of the “military industrial complex.” He also said that those who romanticized war had never experienced it.

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who played a major role in escalating the United States’ involvement in Vietnam, admitted he made errors during that conflict, although he never fully apologized for the lies he told. In 1995, he published a memoir, In Retrospective: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, in which he describes the anticommunist political climate of the era, mistaken assumptions of foreign policy, and misjudgments on the part of the military that combined to created the Vietnam debacle.

More recently, we watched as the United States military evacuated Afghanistan, an evacuation date agreed to by Donald Trump while he was president but executed by current President Joe Biden. It too was a debacle. Thirteen U.S. service members were killed by a terrorist as they were working with a line of people who were trying to flee from the Taliban.

Now, with more of our troops in Europe to back forces from NATO, and Putin pushing the envelope, refusing diplomatic efforts to end this most recent war threat, where are we going? Have we not learned anything? Are we heading to World War III, thanks to a power-hungry out-of-control dictator?

As the old song from the 1960s reminds us–War–what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

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