by jay janson
For the Memorial Day 2012 celebrations the Veterans For Peace web site features a posting by VFP President Leah Bolger titled Memorial Day: Pick Your Perversion.The final paragraph is highlighted in bold print:
“On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle. We ask you to be willing to accept the fact that these war deaths did not have to happen—that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.”
“For which we must take responsibility” sounds like Martin Luther King Jr.’ outcry in his world shaking 1967 sermon “Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break Silence. King demanded that we take responsibility for and bring to an end
But King was quickly silenced with a bullet to the head, and his condemnations of America’s wars to maintain predatory investments in poor countries has been blacked-out in media for the forty-four years since his assassination.
Last summer, Veterans For Peace was one of the first to endorse the Campaign for International Awareness that King Condemned US Wars as “meant to maintain unjust predatory investments.” [see King Condemned US Wars]
For Veterans now better than anyone else that King’s condemnations, once well known, will arouse widespread desire to prosecute all who were and are criminally involved in illegal undeclared wars since 1945. When it becomes fashionable to be moral and decent rather than depressed and self-centered, the wealthy, investing in and arranging wars, instead of ruling us, will find themselves in prison until no longer a danger to society and themselves.
If Leah Bolger’s truthful words could be read by half of the millions of Americans that will be subjected to corporate media war adulation this Memorial Day, elected politicians signing deadly orders pursuing what Republican candidate for President Ron Paul calls “illegal and undeclared wars,” would find themselves defendants in court proceedings indicted under the US constitution and the Nuremberg Principles for crimes against humanity.
“Memorial Day … was created in the aftermath of the Civil War and … later broadened to include the theme of reconciliation … it evolved from simply decorating the graves and solemn memorialization of those killed, to opportunities for flag-waving, nationalistic displays with parades, marching bands and political speeches. Today, it has become a perversion of its original intent.
Perversion #1 -Commercialism/Consumerism/Entertainment
Nearly all American holidays have been transformed from their original intents and into opportunities for economic profits, and Memorial Day is arguably the best example. Memorial Day has turned into Memorial Day weekend—a time for shopping, watching the Indianapolis 500, and kicking-off the summer.
Perversion #2 – American Exceptionalism
This perversion of Memorial Day is typified by the glorification of war and everyone who participated in it. God is always on our side (which means we are always right). Politicians try to outdo each other in their effusive thanks for the military, and refer to everyone who has ever worn a military uniform as a hero. God, guns and glory are wrapped up in the flag, and the whole package is given the credit for all that is good: liberty, freedom, justice, and the American Way of Life. Perversion #2 is of much more concern because of the ideology that it represents.
It is very dangerous when the people of a nation believes it can do no wrong; that it can operate outside of international law; and that God is on its side. Because when a nation is so confident in its righteousness, it loses any capacity for objectivity. On Memorial Day we remember the American war dead, but never question the necessity for the battle. We cannot bear to think that American lives lost in war might have been in vain, and so we continue to insist that we are on the side of right. We never second guess our country, because if we come to the realization that the war is wrong, for whatever reason, then we have to accept responsibility for all of those killed in our wars—not just our own. In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, that seems way outside the capacity of the American public, who are only now starting to question whether the sacrifice of more U.S. troops is “worth it.” We have not even thought to question whether the sacrifice of Iraqis and Afghans is worth it—more than 90% of whom were non-combatants. The media is starting to describe us as “war weary” but we haven’t the slightest clue.
On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle. We ask you to be willing to accept the fact that these war deaths did not have to happen—that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.”