"As we prepare to celebrate this Memorial Day, a day on which we, among others, remember those who have died fighting in this nation's wars, I find myself asking questions. These are not the usual how-to-spend-the-day-off questions, but questions that probe the full implications of such a celebration - questions that would reveal things about ourselves that we may not want to know or admit."
"How many people should die for me, personally? Not for anyone else - just for me? How many people ought to sacrifice their lives to preserve my rights to life, to liberty, and to drive an SUV? Is my freedom worth the 1.3 million deaths that, by some estimates, have resulted from our invasion of Iraq? Are the more than 4,300 American lives lost in Iraq an appropriate payment to guarantee my son's college education? How many lives are my job worth? At the risk of being lurid, what if the bodies of those who died for me were piled up next to my front door? How large would the pile have to get before I would say, 'Stop! What can I say, do, or give up to make it stop?' How many people ought to die for me, and how many would be too many?"
"Or, can I legitmately claim that such sacrifices are made, not for my own sake, but for those I love and care for? Can I gather my clan into a tight little circle, with everyone pointing to the person on their right and exclaiming, 'It's done for them'? How small can the circle become before our self-interest becomes obvious? Or, can we play games with numbers? Is one death for the sake of a million acceptable? How about one death for the sake of a thousand, or a hundred, or 10?"
"If our nation's leaders had built an altar on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and had literally sacrificed, morning and evening for the past six years, a willing victim to protect us from real and imagined threats, most people would be horrified. But many of those same people see little wrong with putting guns in the hands of those willing volunteers, putting uniforms on their backs, and sending halfway around the world to die. Either way, they are just as dead."
"How many people do I think ought to die for me? The only number that is consistent with Christian morals and a civilized society is - zero. What can I do? I can start by saying this to all who are connected to the brutality of war: please don't die for me - and please don't make anyone else die for me, either. I don't want such sacrifice to be made for my sake. If we all said this, perhaps we could make it stop."
"How many people do you think ought to die for you, and how many would be too many?" - - Tom Lock, Oberlin
Tom Locke is to be commended for his courageous effort to come to grips with the socio-political realities of U.S.-powered British Empire that make it difficult to feel American, let alone Christian, in the wake of the current Anglo-American invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing struggles in Iran and Pakistan to maintain hegemony. His analogy of sacrificing willing victims to the altar of empire was spot-on.
As for the rest of us, we may well ponder the preceding words of Tom Lock - "Either way, they are just as dead". The implication is that invading and killing people in twelfth world countries, who have no air force or navy and literally must strap a missile to their back and become its own human propellant to defends themselves from our leaders' naked aggression, requires a society that will send invaders to act like British Imperialists. What kind of a society produces invaders who act like British Imperialists? What kind of fanaticism can compel an American to trash everything George Washington and the Founding Fathers fought for, only to around and help the British to do their empire in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? How did the British suck us back into British Empire?
C. Wright Mills warned of the "power elite" and the role of the military in civilian government and corporate economics more than fifty years ago and is a good place to begin in finding some answers. Government-sponsored propaganda in the name of information warfare has produced many American vicitms in addition to those killed by our government's military. Many have unwittlingly read hundreds of college textbooks in pursuit of their higher education that are in reality CIA propaganda, something Congressman Frank Church lamented loudly in 1976. The CIA itself is a British creation, born in London in 1947, and we Americans are at its mercy along with the rest of its captives in secret prisons around the globe.
Americans sympathetic to British Empire, now American-powered, dominate key positions in most areas of U.S. government where decisions are made regarding foreign policy. This being the case, is there any hope of retrieving America from the clutches of neo-British Empire as our Founding Fathers had once accomplished?
The answer to rescuing America from Empire lies in confronting the propaganda waged by the power elite. A mere five billionaires (Murdoch, Rockefeller, Bronhof, Newsome, & Redstone) control ninety percent of the mass media and they, along with CIA, take a pro-empire bias to reporting the news. When things go badly for Anglo-American invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, their bias is revealed when they describe these situations as 'grim' and 'tragic'. British and American troops are credited with heroism, the Iraqi and Afghan resistance fighters, never. Their bravery in fighting against bombs dropped by planes too high to shoot down and shells propelled by tanks and artillery that are essentially bullet proof is described as fanaticism.
It is true that we Americans know little more than the power elite present to us through the voluntary matrix of their creation - mass media. Yet, despite the efforts of the power elite to spin a camouflaged cloak over their state terrorism and keep us sadly lacking in knowledge of what is happening, more and more Americans are sensing that the winners are shadowy and not forthright with the truth; their wars are ultimately unexplained.
It doesn't take a George Washington to sense that something is terribly wrong with Americans doing British Empire, rather than opposing it the way our libertarian Founding Fathers did.