Monday, May 31, 2010

A Sad and Tragic Memorial Day: May 31st, 2010

A Sad and Tragic Memorial Day: May 31st, 2010

I had planned, sometime last week, to write an essay for a different kind of Memorial
Day: a day that would commemorate not just American soldiers who have died in combat, but the countless civilian victims of American militarism as well.

It would have been a tribute to the unnamed Filipino, Vietnamese, Central American, Iraqi, Afghan, Somali, and other people who have died because American weapons, American proxy governments, American-equipped mercenaries, and American economic interests were responsible for killing them. It would have been, in my own voice, a witness against war itself, and a tribute to the lives of non-combatants who now constitute the great majority of victims of armed conflicts around the globe.

It would have been a call for a different kind of tribute-a tribute to those killed in war, regardless of nationality or faith or cause.

But the tragedy of the horrendous Israeli attack this morning on the civilians in the Free Gaza flotilla compels me to say more: that killing is not only a by-product of the U.S. war system, but a result of the spread of that system throughout the world.

Even though American fingers were not on the triggers of the Israeli weapons that killed the Free Gaza activists, the military power ad political cover provided to Israel by the United States is material factor in what Israel does in Gaza, and i all of Palestine.

The billion of dollars in military assistance that American has committed to back Israel was, without a doubt, an integral part of this assault, just as U.S.incendiary munitions and helicopter guns were strategically used by Israel to kill Palestinian civilians in the 2008-2009 war in Gaza.

Indeed, the government and military of Israel can continue their policies of economic warfare, occupation, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian areas because they have the backing of the world's greatest-and only-military superpower. We should all know this, and realize the complicity of the American people in maintaining a system that results in the killing of these-ans so many other-innocent people. There is nothing honorable about imperialism or colonial conquest.

The argument could be made that others in the world commit acts of brutality and murder against the innocent. That is indeed true. But that is no excuse for what is done by America, directly or though proxies., in the name of "democracy", or "freedom", or even the security of what is called our "national interests". The only "national interest" worth defending is universal peace and justice. What happened on the high seas to the activists aboard those ships was a crime.

So this is yet another Memorial Day. But rather than waive the colors of a flag that facilitates and orchestrates the killing of non-combatants-as all armies kill non-combatants-I will choose to remember and honor the unnamed millions of human beings who have died in wars that they took no part in starting, or prosecuting.

The most recent of these victims are the 20 or so peaceful activists killed by Israeli forces, in international waters, aboard ships filled with cargo to help make the lives of the people of Gaza a little brighter.

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