“I should welcome any war” and “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war.” It was President Theodore Roosevelt and President William McKinley who determined America’s destiny as a global dominator. The fate of the US was jump-started during the late 1890’s, with the official governmental takeovers of Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, Cuba (led personally by Roosevelt), Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Thus began the modern US legacy of violent imperialism.
In recent military interventions, US troops have been facing adversaries who have previously received US weapons, military technology, and/or training. This should not come as a surprise considering that from 1993 to 1997, the US government sold, approved, or gave away a total of $190 billion in weapons to most nations on the planet.
During President Clinton’s first year in office, US arms sales more than doubled. For the past several years America has supplied about two thirds of the world’s military hardware. Although the US is last in foreign aid (constructive help) per capita out of all the industrialized nations, it is far and away first in military aid (destructive assistance). In 1999, it was reported that 168 nations received military support from the US. 123 of these were developing nations, with many of them being unstable and/or violently oppressive.
It’s odd how the man on the street corner selling a handgun for $50 to feed his kids can be sentenced to 25 years of rectal sodomy in prison, but Lockheed-Martin is encouraged to post immense profits and receives government bonuses for designing and producing weapons of mass destruction.
Land of Hypocrisy (Kennie Anderson)
There are no such things as good wars. America going to war for “humanitarian” reasons is total BS, we never have and never will do so–the real reasons are far less palatable to the tastes of any decent American.
One Iraqi soldier died attempting to pull himself up over the dashboard of his truck. The flames engulfed his vehicle and incinerated his body, turning him to dusty ash and blackened bone. In a photograph taken soon afterward, the soldier’s hand reaches out of the shattered windshield, which frames his face and chest. The colors and textures of his hand and shoulders look like those of the scorched and rusted metal around him. Fire has destroyed most of his features, leaving behind a skeletal face, fixed in a final rictus. He stares without eyes.
On February 28, 1991, Kenneth Jarecke stood in front of the charred man, parked amid the carbonized bodies of his fellow soldiers, and photographed him. At one point, before he died this dramatic mid-retreat death, the soldier had had a name. He’d fought in Saddam Hussein’s army and had a rank and an assignment and a unit. He might have been devoted to the dictator who sent him to occupy Kuwait and fight the Americans. Or he might have been an unlucky young man with no prospects, recruited off the streets of Baghdad.
Jarecke took the picture just before a ceasefire officially ended Operation Desert Storm—the U.S.-led military action that drove Saddam Hussein and his troops out of Kuwait, which they had annexed and occupied the previous August. The image and its anonymous subject might have come to symbolize the Gulf War. Instead, it went unpublished in the United States, not because of military obstruction but because of editorial choices.
It’s hard to calculate the consequences of a photograph’s absence. But sanitized images of warfare, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf argues, make it “easier … to accept bloodless language” such as 1991 references to “surgical strikes” or modern-day terminology like “kinetic warfare.” The Vietnam War, in contrast, was notable for its catalog of chilling and iconic war photography. Some images, like Ron Haeberle’s pictures of the My Lai massacre, were initially kept from the public, but other violent images—Nick Ut’s scene of child napalm victims and Eddie Adams’s photo of a Vietcong man’s execution—won Pulitzer Prizes and had a tremendous impact on the outcome of the war.