I was reading the comments section of Loonwatch.com here and was somewhat taken aback by one poster who objected to what he/she called slurs in response to another poster who criticized the imperial government in the White House. A third poster to the thread cited this source which I think made an excellent point of underscoring the imperial nature of today’s America naming 135 countries that are currently home to American troops. More current data suggest that number is even higher. That comes out to 66% of the countries in the world that have US forces in them. I’m at a loss to understand what is the significance of having American troops in Cameroon, Australia, Kenya or Latvia, Nepal, Sweden or Suriname to name a few and ask are there troops from any of those countries here in America? Hardly, but to this observer’s mind this more than anything else shows how intent America is in leaving its footprint on the world’s stage and anyway you cut it that’s the classical definition of imperialism, something that was pointed out by other posters in Loonwatch‘s comment section. Perhaps the initial commenter objected to the negative connotation the word “imperialism” usually brings to political discussions but then he/she is displaying their bias. Most likely many in US government don’t think the presence of American troops in 135+ countries is a bad thing as long as they are promoting “freedom” and “liberty” in those countries but such phrases as “freedom” and “liberty” are subjective terms whose implementation might not be agreeable to the host countries. Therefore the insistence of the presence of foreign forces in a country is also a condition of imperialism.
Desertion is a moral imperative when continued service implicates a soldier in crimes against God and mankind.
Will Griggs who writes excellent pieces on is blog, Pro Libertate addresses frankly what it is people in the military are to do when confronted with commands from superiors that they commit illegal acts. Stopping along the way in his argument to point out that putting our soldiers in harms way is something they must expect when they enlist in the military, Griggs thinks there is no excuse for not releasing the photos. He writes:
Yes, it’s entirely likely that releasing the photographs of torture and sexual assault — including homosexual rape and, God forgive us, the defilement of children — would lead to dangerous and potentially lethal complications for armed government employees who are killing people and destroying property in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, countries they invaded and continue to occupy by force.
If our rulers were genuinely concerned about danger to “our troops,” they would release the Abu Ghraib documents and bring the troops home. There — problem solved! Instead, they are illegally suppressing the photos and keeping the troops in the field — and now letting it be known that the U.S. military will remain mired in Mesopotamia (which is the more tractable of the two ongoing conflicts) for another decade or longer.
Well stated and let’s not forget several commanders of troops in war theaters have already averred that decisions regarding the “interrogation”, read torture, of detainees have put American personnel in danger with the indigenous societies they occupy, yet we hardly hear any objection to such tactics raised on those grounds. What the release of those pictures would entail is the inescapable conclusion that US personnel must be prosecuted for war crimes, or at the very least criminal behavior, as it did in the case of several army personnel currently serving time for their part in actions caught on camera.
Griggs takes things a step further than any other writer I have read to date. He chides and refutes the official reason for not releasing the photos, ‘the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy’ by saying, ‘the foreign policy referred to entails open-ended entanglements in the affairs of nearly every nation on earth, as well as plundering huge sums from taxpayers to sustain a grotesquely huge military establishment and bribe political elites abroad. That foreign policy cultivates misery and harvests war and terrorism.’ Griggs thinks, as do I, that there should be consequences for illegal activity and if releasing the photos causes some to fear those consequences, so be it.
Although I wish harm or death on no human being, it seems to me a good idea to adjust the current set of incentives in such a way that at least some American military personnel, as they deal with another gust of blowback, will have an overdue confrontation with their conscience and decide unilaterally to end their service of the world’s largest criminal enterprise, the government of the United State (spelling intentional).
Am I trying to incite desertion? Reducing the matter to terms simple enough for Sean Hannity to understand them — yes, I am, where desertion is the only way to avoid upholding an immoral, unsustainable policy and serving a depraved Regime. Desertion is a moral imperative when continued service implicates a soldier in crimes against God and mankind.
Perhaps that is one of the consequences the military establishment is trying to avoid, i.e. the moral awakening of its enlisted corps and their refusal to support goals that are anathema to American values. It’s a particularly sticky situation for politicians to espouse American values which include life, and liberty while asking people to risk their lives to curtail those very things either on a foreign and distant soil or on our own here in America. The turmoil caused by an awakening that such requests are inconsistent with all we’ve been taught is probably more traumatic than fighting the war itself. I have often wondered whether this conflict in the soul of the military is the reason for such a high incidence of suicide in the military; if that were the case, desertion would be a far better alternative. Griggs makes a very powerful and strong case for members of the US military not remain within the military as long as it asks them to commit illegal and morally reprehensible acts against people under its authority. I fully concur. Well done, Mr. Griggs!