By Claire Bernish, Anti Media
(ANTIMEDIA) Op-Ed — “When we send our young men and women into harm’s way,” Barack Obama asserted at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, “we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.”
To call this pre-presidential statement hypocritical now would be Monday morning quarterbacking — but that the president recently garnered the dubious distinction of heading the longest, albeit largely undeclared, wartime administration in U.S. presidential history, should not be taken lightly. Particularly as families of military members killed in combat attempt to honor fallen loved ones on Memorial Day.
With the multi-fronted war on the concept of terrorism once again kicking into high gear, remembering those who died during the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president’s tenure — very nearly 2,500 thus far — should be embarked upon with an eye toward preventing future needless casualties.
In no way does this disrespect the fallen. On the contrary, as old Cold War tensions mount with Russia, while the U.S. revisits hostilities both with China and North Korea, an optimal opportunity presents itself for dispelling common myths about American exceptionalism and imperialism — and the outright lies fueling largely U.S.-led international conflict.
An oddly effectual duopoly between the profit-spewing war machine and U.S. officials with grudges to match their sizable egos spawns unjustified military action on too many fronts for humanitarian groups and journalists to realistically keep in check.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter appeared aboard the USS John C. Stennis as its convoy traveled through the South China Sea — close to both Chinese territorial waters as well as the hotly contested area surrounding its man-made islands.
But “The Stennis, you need to know,” wrote Patrick Smith for Salon, “is a nuclear-powered supercarrier that forward-deploys for indefinite periods with a strike group of escort vessels attending it. It travels with eight squadrons of attack craft on its deck — 25 to 30 fighter jets.”
Carter said during that appearance, “The United States intends to continue to play a role out here that it has for seven decades” — as if aggressively maneuvering so close to Chinese territory with a nuclear-powered convoy were de rigeuer in U.S. foreign policy.
In truth, Washington must keep Beijing closer to its traditional territorial waters, as the area of disputation likely handles “about half of global merchant shipping, a third of the planet’s oil shipping, two-thirds of global liquid natural gas shipments, and more than a 10th of Earth’s fish catch,” NBC News reported. China suddenly declaring colossal section of the sea as its own could be considered equally as hubristic as Carter’s Stennis speech.
Recognizing increasingly obvious U.S. presence and in response to the expected ruling by an international tribunal about the disputed area, Chinese deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said Sunday in the Guardian, “when the ruling comes out our friends in the Philippines and in the United States will preach that the tribunal has binding power, and that China must obey the result. But surely we will be firm in saying that the results are illegal, that the tribunal has no binding power and China will not accept the ruling.”
Liu added China would “oppose the US if it stirs up any conflict in south-east Asia” and that it would maintain the right to “defend ourselves.”
Posturing extends to chilling relations with Russia as the U.S. rings its old Cold War foe in military bases — mainly in the interests of Big Oil. As Anti-Media previously reported, “the strategies involved in Western relations with Russia, Middle Eastern nations, and Turkey potentially all revolved around natural resources,” especially the Trans-Adriatic and Trans Anatolian Pipelines.
Russia, though strategically murky in American media, hasn’t hidden its affront in the U.S. edging ever closer to its borders nor in its desire to maintain the position as largest supplier of natural gas to European nations. So, the conflict with Russia exists because of oil and natural gas interests in Syria, but the U.S. interjecting itself in the region could have ostensibly unintended repercussions — not the least of which concerns heightening rivalry, and with that the potential for an escalation to nuclear conflict.
At a cost of $1 trillion, the Obama administration forged ahead with the modernization of its nuclear weapons capabilities — triggering essentially a fresh arms race with not only Russia, but China.
“The increased spending on U.S. nuclear weapons is already provoking similar responses from Russia and China,” David Culp, legislative representative at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, told the Intercept. “We are slowly slipping back into another Cold War, but this time on two fronts.”
Hypocrisy kicked into high gear with Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima recently — which followed the lifting of a ban on selling arms to Vietnam — when he claimed the elimination of nuclear weapons around the world would be pertinent to securing future peace and security.
“That is the future we can choose,” the President proclaimed in a speech, “a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not for the dawn of atomic warfare, but as the start of our own moral awakening.”
Obama should consider his own sage advice. As long as the U.S. continues to feign bellicose action around the world, toy with other nations’ sovereignty, and pander to both Big Oil and the defense industry, such moralizing might be better left to those without active stakes in war.
This article (Here’s a Crazy Idea: Honor Fallen Soldiers on Memorial Day by Creating Less of Them) is an opinion editorial (OP-ED). The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Anti-Media. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.