April 10, 2014


A couple of recent news stories disturbed me. One is George W. Bush's paintings, which even got a segment on infotainment "news" channel MSNBC. An art expert was summoned to critique Bush's paintings. Who gives a crap? Though I did enjoy one critic who had written earlier that Bush doing a self-portrait in the bathtub showed his desire to self-cleanse. Well, a zillion baths in bleach wouldn't wash the blood off of that monster's hands. America still can't accept that thousands of US soldiers died needlessly in the Iraq war, not to mention possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who never tried to attack us. And possibly millions of Iraqis who fled the senseless, US-led carnage that destroyed their home. That's the news that a "liberal" news channel should be reiterating--not a soft-serve puff piece about a mass murderer's post-presidential art hobby. Did I mention that the mass murderer's efforts were funded by the tax dollars we're all preparing to pay? So there is blood on our hands, too.

The other is Obama attending the Fort Hood memorial, after 3 soldiers were gunned down by one of their own after an even worse but similar incident at the same military base in 2009. Obama called for more "to help counsel those with mental health issues" despite the fact that we are reneging on our promise to soldiers who go to war will get treatment for whatever battle scars they return with. Some veterans with PSTD are waiting up to a year for psychiatric care. It's usually the most hawkish Republicans who are angling for more war who are the first to cut spending for post-battle veteran's care. Obama also said that we need to "keep fire-arms out of the hands of those having such deep difficulties." Then we need to stop banging the drums of war and sending troops into combat for no reason and be quite clear that we did just that in Iraq. Or we'll do it again! We're doing the opposite of what Obama says he wants--we are creating "such deep difficulties" since 1 in 5 soldiers return from combat with PTSD. Obama is seen as a drawing down from traditional boots on the ground combat. However, he's done so by killing more secretly with drones. And while he has slowly drawn down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he and former peace-nik John Kerry have also tried to drum up support for new conflicts with Syria and the Ukraine, as Congress tries to pick a fight with Iran. There's a reason we pay a fortune to maintain military bases all over the world--the US is perpetually looking for a fight. No matter who the commander-in-chief is.

A culture of military aggression is what this country is all about. Look at the frightening memorial itself where people are represented by combat boots, helmets and guns. That's a shocking way to view real people with real hopes, dreams, families and graves who are used as tools to implement our bloody, often misguided foreign policy.

We don't start wars because of WMD in Iraq or sarin-gassed babies in Syria or actual concern over the Ukraine. That's just what they tell the country when we send young men and women for economic interests. And that is the job of US presidents. To pay back war profiteers whose contributions paved their way into office. When the wars stop, the PSTD stops. When the PSTD stops, we'll have fewer soldiers gunning down other soldiers. And when the wars are unnecessary as most of ours are, can our government which is starting them pretend to care about incidents like Fort Hood which it has indirectly caused? It's very easy to show up at a memorial and issue an emotional statement. It's a lot harder to focus on rebuilding this country and stop tearing down others which never even attacked us.

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders fought Republicans in Congress to authorize 27 veterans' health clinics. "If you think it's too expensive, then don't send them off to war," Sanders said. "Taking care of veterans is a cost of the war. They (veterans) paid for it." We can't afford war, we can't afford to treat the casualties of war yet we refuse to reject the notion of how horrible war is. Next month on Memorial Day, we'll parade instruments of war down city streets all over the country to glamorize war and US military might. Today, we mourn the deaths of 3 soldiers killed by one of their own, at a base where the same thing happened just a few years ago from at the hands of another deranged soldier. Are they just casualties of war? Because there's nothing casual about lives lost for no reason.