The Vietnamese are the kindest, most forgiving people there are. American tourists, profoundly ashamed for the millions of deaths in the American war waged in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, are gently forgiven by people who smile and say they look to the future, not the past. It brings me to tears, because we don’t deserve it.
The past is not even past. Far too many southeast Asian infants are born with physical defects even today, forty years later, compliments of the American makers of Agent Orange, which Monsanto said was safe. Every now and then someone dies, or loses a leg, compliments of Accudyne Operations, the American makers of plastic land mines that have rested patiently under the soil all these years, waiting to do their ugly deed. The found collection of large, unexploded ordnance grows slowly but steadily, compliments of the big corporations that made some forty different kinds of bombs—which we dropped by the millions of tons, millions—that did not always explode when they were supposed to.
We should give profound thanks
that the Vietnamese are not like
the peoples we are currently attempting
to bomb into loving us.
And today, none of our wars is over, not even WWII, since Europeans still on occasion dig up 1,000-pound bombs, still intact and live, even as the number of war survivors dwindles.
We should lower our eyes and give profound thanks that the gentle Vietnamese are not like the peoples we are currently attempting to bomb into loving us.
Afghanistan and Iraq are littered with various dangerous things that continue to maim children who see them as interesting objects to play with. Even if they don’t explode, thousands of fascinating things lying around were made from radioactive metal whose effects are uncertain, but certainly not benign.
If you ask what country
is the greatest menace to world peace,
the answer is always the US.
And of course, ten years later, the peace we were promised in those places does not exist, nor does it in most of the Middle East, where the people battle the most cruel and ruthless terrorists the world has ever seen, largely a product of our enlightened recruitment strategy of alienating everyone.
Yet if you ask almost anyone in the non-Western world what country is the greatest menace to world peace today, the answer will invariably be The United States of America. That’s us, land of the free, home of the brave. You might even think we don’t know what we are doing. Why can’t we bomb people into loving us?
So who are these terrorists we hear about so frequently? They are people who indiscriminately kill innocents. Young men from the Middle East see what America did to their country, and they flock to radical groups that seek revenge by killing any Westerner they can. How pointless. How cruel. They kill innocents, people who did nothing.
President Obama will not escape
the terrorist label.
But note, those innocents are our innocents, not theirs. How many perfectly ordinary Iraqis, doing their best to love their families and survive under the despot Hussain, died under the onslaught of war criminal Dick Cheney’s Shock and Awe, which was supposed to show them how great and all-powerful we are. And which quickly became a recruiting point for enraged young Muslims.
The most commonsense definition of terrorism, and the most commonly accepted one, is indiscriminate killing or injury of noncombatant innocents. Know why the US cannot accept that definition? Because that’s exactly what we did in WWII. Dresden had absolutely no strategic importance, but we firebombed it and an unconscionable number of its ordinary citizens into charred cinders. Hitler still refused to believe that the war could not be won. But instead of continuing to pound his tanks, planes, factories, and railroads into useless dust, we turned to carpet bombing civilians in German cities, where people wanted only an end to the war, and escape from the madman ruining their lives.
We are bombing them with love.
Soon they will love us.
Today, Obama alone is responsible for the ongoing terror raining from the skies in the form of Hellfire missiles launched from universally hated US drone aircraft, operated by men no doubt also adept at fantasy video games that glorify killing, from secure bunkers in Kansas or someplace. And the list of respected village leaders, entire wedding parties, funeral parties, rescue parties, and picnic outings that have been summarily executed by the American terrorists in Kansas continues to grow, to say nothing of the collateral children and others blown to bits along with the occasional militant. We are bombing them with love. Soon they will love us.
President Obama will not escape the terrorist label, and after he leaves office there will probably be countries he cannot visit on pain of arrest for war crimes, just as there are for Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, and other master war planners.
Obviously, the centuries-long American campaign to win hearts and minds by bombing the hell out of everyone has been less than a perfect success. What then is to be done?
Here’s the Republican solution: Bomb them back to the Stone Age.
A profound strategy, suitable for a bumper sticker, and certain to succeed.
There are far too many Republicans, some in positions of real power, who continue to believe that more bombs are always the best solution. Now they want to bomb Iran, no doubt killing large numbers of Persians who don’t like their own government, but whose families would quickly come to despise the US.
[P. S.: Right on cue, the day after I published this article, John Bolton published an editorial in the New York Times calling for the bombing of Iran.]