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Gary Horton: War, What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

Posted: September 11, 2013 9:55 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2013 9:51 a.m.

So here are two old war protest songs that again have become timely for our day:

“War, Yeah, What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing.
“Say it again, y’all:
“War, Good God. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

“Ohhh, war I despise
because it means destruction
of innocent lives.
“War means tears to thousands of mothers’ eyes when their sons fight
and lose their lives.
“War, it ain’t nothing
but a heartbreaker ...
“They say we must fight to keep our freedom.
“But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way.”
— Edwin Starr

As they say in those “oldies” infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!”
“And it’s 1-2-3. What are we fighting for?
“Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.
“The next stop is Vietnam.”

“And it’s 5-6-7. Open up the pearly gates.
“It ain’t no time to wonder why.
“Yippee! We’re all going to die.”
— Country Joe and the Fish

I am old enough to know “what’s going down.” I’ve reached that certain age when you’re still young enough to give a damn, but old enough to know better about more things than not.

Call it acquired wisdom. You see, I’ve seen enough con jobs in my life to see a con when it’s coming.

My Nobel Peace Price-winning president Barack Obama would have us engage in just a little expansion of hostilities in the Middle East to punish some secular dictator who we think authorized the use of chemical weapons against his own people who have engaged him in civil war.

We’re told the evidence is strong; we’re told he’s hiding more of the stuff (we likely sold him or an affiliate), and we’re also saying we won’t attack him if he gives the stuff up.

You’ve heard this shuck and jive before. Remember the non-existent “mobile weapons labs” and the “yellow cake” used to sell us into a $200 billion war 10 years ago?

A war-ridden decade since, warmongering isn’t just restricted to neocon Republicans. Any loosely principled president can be persuaded by a defense lobby to restock the weaponry.

All this bombing and war expansion talk stinks like mustard gas. As if we don’t have problems enough closing out what we’ve already mired ourselves in with Afghanistan.

As if we’re not already keeping our munitions makers in the black with skirmishes and drone wars all over the Middle East and Africa. And as if we didn’t have problems enough at home:

I recently saw an interesting political cartoon picturing a row of dilapidated houses with the caption, “Can’t fix Detroit? Bomb Syria.” Point made with one poignant drawing.

If America is so morally hell-bent to counter murder and destruction, we would be better served sending the Army into Chicago and the Marines into Detroit.

The Seabees could rebuild our levies and the Corps of Engineers our airports, and maybe after 10 years of this kind of progressive war we’d end up with a country more, not less, competitive with the rest of the western world.
Instead of fighting injustice at home, Obama is following the pattern of all his recent predecessors, save pacifist Jimmy

Carter. American presidents and their wars and “warletts” read something like an Old Testament genealogy to mayhem:
And John Kennedy begat the Bay of Pigs

And Lyndon Johnson escalated Vietnam;

And Richard Nixon begat the War on Drugs

And Ronald Reagan fought Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Panama, and Nicaragua.

George H.W. Bush begat the Iraq War I

While William Clinton bombed Iraq II and Serbia;

George W. Bush created the “War on Terror” while

Terrifically invading Iraq (again) and Afghanistan

Barack Hussein Obama II launched Drone Wars across half the African Continent, and ...

Prophecy says that Syria will be next.

Note that over the same period above, many other leading Western countries have invaded ... no one. Think Finland. Norway. Japan. Germany. New Zealand. Australia. Canada.

Toss in a bunch of advanced Asian countries, too. Consider these countries’ educational rankings. Their medical rankings. Their crime rates. Their quality of life.

During our half century of continuous war, America has spent, decade in, decade out, nearly 20 percent of its federal budget on “national defense” — which, considering our war genealogy, should more accurately be called our “international aggression.”

Concurrent with our investment in continuous war, Americans have been taught to fear a “socialism” that provides more accessible medical, educational and retirement opportunities to more progressive countries — but would crowd the “defense” budget in ours.

We’ve been so acclimated to war that it feels ordinary, normal, and absolutely natural to us. Where would Americans be without our “warrior heroes” the armed forces advertise so well during half time on college and pro football games?

With Syria, it’s “1, 2, 3, 4 what are we fighting for?” all over again in the never-ending American cycle of industrial-complex wars: First, an outrage to which we morally must respond. Then, “proof.”

Your boy comes home in a box.

War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.



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