This Is My Rifle: Independence Day - A Day for the Mighty Mighty WarriorsPosted by Jason James on 07/04/12 | Filed under Features, This Is My Rifle, Politics
There are very few things that are guaranteed in life. As most of us know, we can all be assured that we have been born; we will pay taxes while we're here and eventually we will die. For a vast majority of the people reading this, we will die non-violent deaths. Some of us will succumb to disease, others will simply wither away and pass on once our physical bodies can no longer function, and a very small number of us will perish due to an error in judgement or freak accident. What 99% of us can count on though, is that we will not die by the hands of another human being.
But during this very brief period of existence here in the 3rd dimension, and while we're busy paying taxes to our federal governments for that right, we will all at some point be witness to a war. Be it a World War that brings bloodshed right to our very doorsteps or a small occupation that occurs on the other side of the planet, much like birth, taxes and death, war is something that has defined the human species for thousands of years and guided our ethical code for better or worse.
I've always found irony in the term "a just war". There aren't many conflicts that I can think of where the actions of either side have been justifiable. In almost every case, battles fought by the West have been the result of some sort of manipulation by those who stood to profit from it. From the European bankers' starvation of the Southern American Colonies that ultimately led to the American Civil War, to 9/11 and the fabled "weapons of mass destruction" that pushed our continent into a war with Iraq and an ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, our governments have cherry picked their fights according to private special interests. Of course, our involvement in World War II was absolutely necessary but it's also important to note that the wealthy bankers who funded the Allies' war efforts were also funding Nazi Germany as well.
In circumstances like the one presented in World War II, armed conflict is unavoidable. When millions of innocent lives are at stake, the rest of the world should pull together to fight for the greater good and ideally this would happen every time. But as we've seen throughout history, this is not the case. Another important fact to consider when discussing the rise of the Nazis is that (as documented by many historians like Jewish scholar, Lenni Brenner) Hitler had offered safe passage of all Jews out of Germany in exchange for a ransom of a few million dollars but his proposal was turned down. So why did the other European nations and the West not accept his deal? Why didn't they save millions of Jews from certain death?
Because war works on many different levels for many different reasons.
From a financial perspective, war drives the countries involved into suffocating debt and opens them up to further enslavement by private banks. The winners are left drowning in massive amounts of debt and the losers are raped and pillaged for their natural resources (Iraqi oil, Afghani opium, African minerals, etc.). In terms of population control, war is a wonderful tool used to taper off a large chunk of people all at once. It works as a virtual "re-start" button for countries that suffer from poverty and may be considered "over-crowded". There are many other layers to war but these 2 are the most desirable effects, not to mention that it also increases the wealth of those funding both sides exponentially.
Even with having knowledge of this, I am not anti-war nor am I anti-military (I am, however, anti-Military-Industrial Complex. There is a difference). Aside from the negative impact that war inevitably has on society, I am grateful that there are millions of men and women who have fought and died to uphold the values and principles that our countries were built upon. As tyrannical as our empire has become, we have also managed to exterminate some of the evil aspects of the world as it has grown and we have our military forces to thank for that. Idi Amin, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein- these are just a few of the vicious dictators that we have militarily removed from power and done away with. Yes, the events/politics leading up to and taking place after their elimination are suspicious to say the least, but at one moment in time the people of a foreign nation needed our help and our soldiers rose to the occasion,
As we've entered into this pivotal period in world history, I have found a new sense of pride in my nationality as I've watched many men and women of the armed forces come forward and denounce the wars our governments are currently engaged in. During the first few years of the Iraq war alone more servicemen registered as “conscientious objectors” (meaning they disagreed with the war and could not rightfully partake in it) than ever before and withdrew from active duty even if it meant facing a court martial. Unfortunately, for many of the surviving men and women that did serve in Iraq and are currently serving in Afghanistan- among other places- they return home to no job, no applicable skills and no hope for the future. A large percentage of them develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and fall into drug and alcohol addiction; an even more staggering amount of them ultimately commit suicide. There are no award shows, lavish parties or magazine covers celebrating their act of selflessness. Instead they’re kicked to the side, pissed on and forgotten by the people and governments they’ve sworn to protect.
So this Independence Day, July 4th 2012, between barbequing and getting drunk out of your mind, take a trip downtown and help a veteran in need. Not because you have to, but because it’s that guy who will get between you and a legitimate threat just so you can eat cheeseburgers and debate over who’s the best shitty rapper on twitter all day.
(Jason James is an artist, freelance columnist and writer for RefinedHype.com. You can listen/download his most recent album, "Marvelous World Of Color", here and you can contact him here and here.)