As we approach the annual celebration of American militarism, inserting sobriety in the interim might serve as counterpoint to the mindless patriotism associated with the narrative of the American revolution and the U.S. Army.
There is, of course, another side to this story, and that is the tradition of this institution in subverting self-determination by indigenous peoples at home and abroad. Indeed, it has been argued convincingly that a primary reason for rebellion by American aristocrats like George Washington, was to enable the conquering of Indian nations and seizing of their territories for real estate speculation–both of which he was personally involved in.
If one examines the role of the U.S. Army today — whether in Central Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East — it is undeniably that of enforcer for corporate greed. Acknowledging the atrocities and genocides committed by the US military, its proteges and mercenaries — yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow — means tempering our unconsidered, habitual opinions about noble warriors.
In reality, the bulk of U.S. Army interventions, incursions, and invasions have been to crush democratic aspirations by indigenous peoples and civil societies, and those who participate in these crimes against humanity must live with that on their conscience. As we have seen, many can’t, and this is largely responsible for the high numbers of suicides among former soldiers.
No amount of cake and ice cream and fireworks can change that.
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