NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 8, 2013 - Slowly, the troops are coming home.
We might be inclined to think of peace at last.
But if America's economy can truly be put in peril by Defense Department de-funding, what does that say about our economy? War is our most important export? And what does that say about us?
We and our allies won World War II and this country went into a joyous upward spiral, creating big cars with huge fins, happy television families, and something that seemed to have arrived; the American Dream, which soon moved into a tract house in a fresh new suburb. It was not to last.
Communism was cast in the role of the next Hitler, and America entered into a series of losing wars. Our young people fought and died in Korea to "stop the spread of communism". We lost that war but our government was learning spin. It wasn't a war it was a United Nations Police Action. Which we lost. And now a chubby little communist in a bad uniform has nuclear weapons and is building missiles that could reach San Francisco.
The Viet Nam war tore this country apart in a way not seen since the Civil War. American troops shot American students on an American college campus while Nam became a hell hole for the souls of our young people who were drafted and sent there. More veterans of the Vietnam war have committed suicide than were killed in the war. We lost the Viet Nam war, in many ways.
What did America learn from that? Don't draft students. Instead enable a loss of jobs through measures like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and outsourcing to sweat shop countries. Want a job? Join the military. And now we are bringing the troops home from two wars against the new demons: terrorists. We can declare victory but we won't be able to provide jobs for the returning soldiers, or adequate medical care. Or help with the nightmares.
And it's not over.
When Israel - our sworn ally - makes its inevitable military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities we'll be back at war against an enemy we can't ever seem to find. A dedicated jihadist will light up Tel Aviv with one of those missing Ukranian nuclear warheads and our do-nothing Congress will attempt to wrap itself in glory by sending young men and women to fight our next enemy.
"It's the myth of war we're hooked on, not the reality," war correspondent Chris Hedges wrote. "There's a huge divide between those who experience war on the ground and those who imbibe this mythic tale of honor and heroism and glory, which is rendered hollow and obscene after thirty seconds of combat."
"We are not a peaceful people, but we long to be," said an activist who called herself Granny D. "Peace is a learned condition. It comes from our hearts and our households. How we live, what we buy, what we watch will shape the world. We have the power to be the nation we dream of."
Editor's note: The Mountain Messenger, California's oldest weekly newspaper since 1853, is published on Thursdays from Downieville, California.
The Mountain Messenger can be purchased for half a buck at the National Hotel (sidewalk), Nevada City Post Office (sidewalk), Nevada City SPD (outside) and Nevada City Express Mart (outside.)
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