Saturday, November 12, 2011

Remember When There Wasn't So Much War

I was listening to the CBC the other day (normally a benign sort of radio experience) and a newscaster was describing, with some enthusiasm, bombs being dropped by Canadians or our allies on some hapless nation. At the end of his description he threw in a comment that the bombs would reduce civilian casualties.

Of course, of course... it's alright because we're helping them. These days it seems we can commit almost any atrocity in the service of "helping" people in defenseless nations. (I notice we don't "help" people in strong countries like Iran and China.)

When did the Western countries start this constant war against the South? It's difficult to tell. The Cold War ended, bringing in a seeming era of peace, in '89 or thereabouts. The West invaded Iraq in '90 (the Gulf War) and Somalia in '92. We started bombing Bosnia and Herzegovina in '95, and Yugoslavia in '99. We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq (again) in 2003. But it seems to be a recent phenomenon that our military is in constant action against countries we're not at war with. Recently we have bombed Sudan and Libya and Yemen and... frankly, I've lost track. I tune it out. There's a bloodthirsty enthusiasm about the killing that I can't cope with.

The Americans are the driving force behind our state of constant war, and there are lots of fancy theories about US imperialism, but I think it comes down to American people liking violence and liking to dominate. There's a Democrat in the White House now, and if not as big a buffoon as the last guy, he's as big a hawk. In the US, if you're not enthusiastic about bombing innocents abroad and executing minorities at home, then you don't get elected (or like Jimmy Carter, you're treated like a joke).

In the long run, none of it is going to lead to more stable democratic governments. Most of these countries can't even afford elections. The dictators will be replaced by new dictators or Islamic states. There are all kinds of things we could have done to force the dictators to help their people, but instead we made sure that the dictators served our corporate interests.

So I know, all of this is old hat. The thing that struck me like the proverbial diamond through the forehead was that we are at constant war - even Canada. It wasn't that many years ago that on Remembrance Day people would lament that the veterans were getting old and dying off. Now our Legion Halls are packed with new veterans. Don't ask me to celebrate that. This is not defence of our homeland. This is something far scarier.



Anonymous said...

What I find hilarious(ly sad), is how prior to the Arab Spring, we were bombing the hell out of Yemen, and then during the Arab Spring, we completely ignored the country in favour of bombing and conquering Libya for its oil. Oh wait I mean liberating Libya from its oppressive free health care, free education, free housing, free residential electricity, oil dividends, etc, so that our good friends in Al-Qaeda can govern the place.

Yappa said...

Agreed. We are smug and self-righteous and complacent while our governments take any measure to preserve our wealth. History will not treat us kindly.