By way of marking the western date for Christendom’s most holy celebration, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced that “at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq.”
So much for visions of sugar-plums, etc. Instead of surplus socks or the latest video game console beneath the tree and a day spent watching football and avoiding fruitcake, we get war in the “Holy Land,” war in Ukraine, war in Myanmar, war in Sudan … the list goes on, covering quite a lot of territory, costing thousands, and negatively affecting millions, of lives.
Austin’s justification for the US strikes: They “are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias.”
The US occupation of Iraq (following George W. Bush’s war of aggression based on false “weapons of mass destruction” claims) supposedly ended in 2011.
US forces supposedly vanquished the Islamic State in Syria (following Barack Obama’s illegal invasion, supposedly in pursuit of that objective, but more likely in hope of overthrowing that country’s existing government) in 2019.
Why are US troops still in harm’s way in those places?
Why does the US government continue to mind everyone’s business but its own — providing arms, “advice,” and even direct muscle to at least one side in almost every conflict on the planet, at your current financial expense and at your and your loved ones’ future risk of experiencing the same horrors now inflicted on others?
If all the talk about “democracy” means anything, the answer is:
Because you allow it.
The usual appeals against you doing so are aimed at your conscience:
Don’t you care about the lives of civilians caught in the crossfire of [insert war here]?
Don’t the mangled bodies of children disturb you?
Don’t the videos of families fleeing their homes with what little they can carry, ahead of airstrikes or within hearing of artillery fire, rouse your empathy?
The evidence says no, not really, or at least not very much.
If you DID care, the gaggle of warmongers you continue electing and re-electing to Congress and the presidency would either be in prison or, at best, out on parole and asking you if you’d like fries with your value meal to earn their livings.
Since you clearly don’t give a hoot about the lives of foreigners who may not speak the same language, worship the same god, or even sport the same skin color as you, let me instead appeal to your self-interest.
Do you remember 9/11? I’m sure many of you do. Do you want more of that action? Because this is EXACTLY how you get more of that action.
Every time “your” congressional representative or the president “you” “elected” announces US government support for atrocities abroad, he or she is threatening you and yours with death at home.
If you choose to vote, vote the warmongers out — for your own good and for your family’s safety.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.