What can I say after reading this article by Ann Jones on the horrific costs of war to our young troops? I do not belong in this century anymore. I do not recognize the time warp that has put me elsewhere. The country I grew up in [the USA of the 1920s and 1930s] was a different country. We were a peaceful lot. We saw the picture books of the mutilated dead from World War I and said war is bad, any war. We learned in school that our American history said to stay out of foreign entanglements. In 1937 we saw Europe start to head into war with the rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany. It took a lot of hard-headedness for Roosevelt to see that if England fell we might be next. We did not want to get involved. The fascists in our country fought him because they saw no threat from Europe. They liked what Germany and Italy were up to. We should be bystanders.
Then Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941 by a powerful sea fleet supporting an aggressive air wing soon to be joined by the European fascists. I joined the military, just an eighteen year old child, in 1943. I considered myself a pacifist but there was no choice. In the three years I was in I never met anyone who wanted to be there.
Now I live in a country who uses the argument that Roosevelt used to “get involved” to convince our citizens that the “war on terror” is the same. It isn’t in any way, shape, or form! These “terrorists” have no Atlantic or Pacific fleets, no submarines. No fighters or long range bombers. No aircraft carriers or Stukas. They are a bit crazy by our standards and ready to blow themselves up in order to kill and frighten us. They have succeeded because our political leaders saw the opportunity to destroy our own freedoms and enrich their corporate sponsors by engaging in perpetual wars for resources and markets using the excuse that “we should learn” from Pearl Harbor. What we should have learned from Pearl Harbor is what Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo learned, a war for resources and markets is the road to perdition.
Before I went into the army in 1943 I read the book by Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun, about a young World War I soldier who was wounded and lost all of his senses except his mind. The book is about the madness in his mind, being alive but dead to the world of feeling. The horror! It scared the hell out of me. In Jones’s article I see that same horror in the insane military action we are perpetuating. It strikes my heart because those who have brought this calamity upon these young men know that the whole thing is senseless and is driven by greed and the self-interest of the few.