July 4th Militarist Bunkum (an encore by request)
By Paul Craig Roberts/paulcraigroberts.org/ July 3, 2014
Did you know that 85 to 90 percent of war’s casualties are non-combatant civilians? That is the conclusion reached by a nine-person research team in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The deaths of soldiers who are fighting the war are a small part of the human and economic cost. Clearly, wars do not protect the lives of civilians. The notion that soldiers are dying for us is false. Non-combatants are the main victims of war.
Keep that in mind for July 4th, which is arriving tomorrow.
July 4th is America’s most important national holiday celebrating American independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, 1776, America’s Founding Fathers declared that the Thirteen Colonies were no longer colonies but an independent country in which the Rights of Englishmen would prevail for all citizens and not only for King George’s administrators. (Actually, the Second Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2, and historians debate whether the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 or August 2.)
In this American assertion of self-determination citizens of Great Britain were not allowed to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s position on the votes in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine–the former Russian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk–America’s Declaration of Independence was “illegitimate and illegal.”
On July 4th all across America there will be patriotic speeches about our soldiers who gave their lives for their country. To an informed person these speeches are curious. I am hard pressed to think of any examples of our soldiers giving their lives for our country. US Marine General Smedley Butler had the same problem. He said that his Marines gave their lives for United Fruit Company’s control of Central America. “War is a racket,” said General Butler, pointing out that US participation in World War I produced 21,000 new American millionaires and billionaires.
When General Butler said “war is a racket,” he meant that war is a racket for a few people getting rich on the backs of millions of dead people. According to the article in the American Journal of Public Health, during the 20th century 190 million deaths could be directly and indirectly related to war. 190 million is 60 million more than the entire US population in the year that I was born.
Although the British did manage to burn down the White House in the “War of 1812,” the only real war fought on US territory was the war against Southern Secession. In this war Irish immigrants fresh off the boat gave their lives for American Empire. As soon as the South was conquered, the Union forces were set loose on the Plains Indians and destroyed them as well.
Empire over life. That has always been Washington’s guiding principle.
America’s wars have always been fought elsewhere–Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Philippines, Japan, Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Somalia. Washington even attacks countries with which the US is not at war, such as Pakistan and Yemen, and engages in proxy wars. The article cited above reports: “The United States launched 201 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and 2001, and since then, others, including Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Not a single one of these wars and military operations had anything whatsoever to do with defending the US population from foreign threats.
Not even Japan and Germany posed a threat to the US. Neither country had any prospect of invading the US and neither country had any such war plans.