When I told my father, back in 1968, that I was joining the United States Marine Corps he responded: “I hope you aren’t going to claim you are doing this to defend your country. Nobody attacked us, look around, no Viet Cong here, this is Wall Street’s war like the last one and the one before it and the one before that.”
Everything my father predicted has come to pass, America as a deindustrialized police state with a clown in the White House, nothing new there. Anyone unware that Eisenhower was a useless puppet as was Ford and Reagan and Bush 43 and the monstrosity we have now, deserves the America we have earned. His generation, those who grew up before the First World War, those who experienced the Great Depression with eyes open, they knew it was coming.
Life in America was pure injustice, the lash and the iron boot, despite the version of history we have been given by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations who “re-invented” America and its history through taking control of public education in the late 1940s. You see, the multi-generational ignorance we bask in today is not unplanned. The threat represented by advances in communications and other technology was recognized and dealt with, utterly quashed at birth.
I recommend just a look at the Constitution itself. Why the “electoral college?” Few Americans know that the Senate was chosen, not elected, until the 20th century. Why two senators for states with no people? Why a Supreme Court? Those unaware that these unique aspects of America’s governmental organization need to read Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (Columbia University Press, 1935).
There is nothing “democratic” about America and its government, the whole thing is a con. Election after election, every time Americans think they are voting to “drain the sewer” that Washington represents, only find themselves deeper in it. That was planned from the first also but we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit.
Today Americans are “defending democracy” in 6 dozen nations and, as predicted, invariably siding with tyrants, pushing a colonial agenda, there as bullies and thugs in uniform and doing so hiding behind the flag and the “honored dead.” I know this well because I was part of it.
When I served in Vietnam, there was no pretense that we were defending anything. Even in the elite combat unit I was in, the war itself was universally opposed as comic and absurd, it was impossible to miss. The Saigon government was beneath consideration, evil and corrupt, their military a useless pack of rabble compared to “the enemy,” the Viet Cong and NVA, relentless and highly motivated.
We were clearly fighting people who were defending their country from foreign invaders, the real enemy, “us.” Nations around the world are now doing the exact same thing and, under Trump, seemingly more each day.
The title statement is an amended quote from a 1960s-comic strip by Walt Kelly, called Pogo. It was famous once, used continually in one form or another. However, when American lost its sense of humor and began taking itself seriously, most likely sometime in the 1980s, all history, all balance, and certainly all real humor was forgotten. This is a boorish place. Let me explain.
For those of us who were born during the “post war baby boom,” the absurdity of patriotic rhetoric in response to the “red menace” poisoned our lives, polluted our educational experience, sickened our souls.
Even then, the reality of a government controlled by Wall Street was there to be seen. Higher education was unaffordable for all but the few, cities were dung heaps of filth and crime and America’s South was a land of starvation and poverty. Nearly half of all Americans lived in poverty while the industrial workers of the North worked under conditions that made survival to retirement a pipe dream.
Every day my father would return from the Ford factory, describing 120-degree heat and air steeped in carcinogenic solvents. His friends and coworkers died in their 50s. By age 55, he had suffered half a dozen heart attacks and was on disability of $60 a month to support a family of 4. This is a common story, not an exception, this is how my generation grew up, mowing lawns, shoveling snow for money for shoes, working to support a family as early as 10. This is the American generation that went to Vietnam and it was the generation that taught the Pentagon that their games would not continue unopposed.
Today it’s different. The public questions little, those in the military question nothing. When America’s invading armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, under bush never found WMDs or the massive underground terrorist fortresses Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld spoke of, what was the downside? Thousands of American military were killed over not just nothing but abject lies.
When billions in cash was stolen in both Iraq and Afghanistan, when 250,000 AK 47’s purchased by the US government for the Iraqi military simply disappeared, nobody saw it. When Haliburton Corporation furnished the US Army with drinking water taken unfiltered from the Euphrates River, one of the most polluted bodies of water on Earth, hundreds infected with Hepatitis and other diseases, nothing was said, certainly no congressional investigation but the Pentagon was silent as well. Also silent were the troops in the field, silent then and still silent.
This is a huge change from Vietnam when those who returned home told everything.
Then again, back in 1969, I was a Marine, not a “war fighter” or a “warrior.” I made $100 a month, not $8000, I was fed 400 calories a day, not 7000, I had no PlayStation, no $400 boots and didn’t buy my combat gear from online outfitters. The life expectancy in a line unit was 3 months and nobody did year after year in a rifle squad as part of the “professional army.”
You know, with all that expensive gear and all that war fighter rhetoric, we still are beaten just as easily by poor people with broken weapons, poor people defending themselves against a foreign invader.
That part hasn’t changed but back in 1969 we knew we had it coming. We still fought to survive but we never fought to win. Win what? Nobody asks that anymore. Nobody every asks “why?”
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”