Almost one year ago the mainstream journalist Ian Buruma stated in a column, titled Life After Pax Americana,
even if the end of Pax Americana does not result in military invasions, or world wars, we should ready ourselves for a time when we might recall the American Empire with fond nostalgia.
Buruma, who is the editor in chief of the New York Review of Books is a Dutchman, and a mainstream propagandist. Now, let me quote an American intellectual, William Rivers Pitt:
It took decades for the country to come to grips with the folly that was Vietnam, but it was abundantly clear that Iraq and Afghanistan were a disastrous fool's errand before the shooting even started. Yet we invaded anyway, and still we remain so many years later, because war is what we do.
It is our principle export, a vital economic engine, the hub to which all the spokes of our rickety national wheel are attached, and it is visibly cracking. You can't steal $6,000,000,000,000 from a country in less than 20 years and fail to make a monstrous impact on the very bones of that society, yet that six trillion is merely loose change compared to what we have squandered on permanent war since 1947.
Every bomb dropped, every missile launched, every bullet fired, every bandage used, every body bag filled represents money that once belonged to all of us but has been transferred to a small group of wealthy war profiteers we will never meet. The theft is generational in scope, and affects everything from the hospital bills we can't afford to the roads too potholed to drive on to the schools without enough teachers and books. The damage done to us all is comprehensive, and that's before we get to the body count.
And so there are the flags of Memorial Day, meant to honor the sacrifice of those who died in the wars. The remaining war survivors in the US are victims of a lethal machine designed to extract maximum profit for as long as possible, as are their brothers and sisters in the cold ground, as are the murdered civilians in Asia and the Middle East, as are we all.
Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq … it's all the same war, bolstered by the same profit motive and veiled in the same empty promises. Only the dead -- the fallen US soldiers and those they have killed -- know the true cost of war here at the end of empire. A truly fitting memorial would be a Memorial Day when no new flags are needed, when we have all the dead we can stand and choose not to make more.