By David Swanson
We’re hearing a lot about U.S. veterans being deported, just as we hear about healthcare and retirement and homelessness and countless other topics as impacting veterans in particular. The implication, and often the explicit assertion, is that we should especially care about injustice when it hurts veterans, because they’ve especially earned the right to be treated decently, by participating in the greatest mass-murdering crime sprees of recent decades — the wars that most of us (and many veterans too) say we oppose.
You’ll be shocked to learn that I disagree, that I’m opposed to special veterans parking places closer to the grocery store and special airplane boarding privileges for military members, and that I want to block the Trump weapons parade on so-called Veterans Day with a massive celebration of Armistice Day.
If you’ve just reached the conclusion that I’m a hateful evil Putin-loving Muslim, you may be genuinely surprised to discover some of the numerous caveats of the sort that I usually hope can go without saying but never can:
- I don’t want participants in mass murder to be murdered.
- I don’t want veterans or non-veterans deported.
- I don’t want anybody to lack healthcare, retirement, a home, or any other basic human rights.
- I think one of the best antiwar groups around is Veterans For Peace.
- I think most veterans are owed an apology for having been sold a package of lies and put through a horrendous experience for no good reason.
So, you can go on imagining or projecting hatefulness, but I’m not actually hating anyone. I’m just opposing glorifying participation in war, something that generates more wars and more veterans.
I’d like to see identical outrage when a non-veteran is deported. That’s all.
With one possible exception.
There is one man I think we might do well to deport, if anywhere else would want him.
Donald Trump recently told a cheering crowd: “We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” In the next breath he claimed that “we” would be “coming out” just after “taking back” all of the land. The United States never owned Syria, and so cannot actually take it back, and also cannot take it at all, and such an action would be immoral and illegal even if it were possible. But the “coming out” part is perfectly possible and necessary.
So, we’re going to give Trump this petition:
To: Donald Trump
Trump is glorifying militarism. He’s pretending it can somehow be successful. But at the same time, he’s pretending to oppose war. He’s combining the two ideas through the usual pretense that militarism prevents war. While that’s been consistently proven false for many decades, while the more you prepare for war the more wars you get, it is important to recognize the popularity of the antiwar strains in the inconsistent and incoherent blather that flows out of Trump’s mouth.
Remember that Hillary Clinton lost to the votes of military families who believed she was the most likely candidate to send their loved ones into wars. Necessary caveats:
- There can be two warmongering candidates in one election.
- The statement that Clinton favors wars is not identical to the assertion that Trump is the Prince of Peace.
Trump’s embracing of open contradiction allows many to hear the bits they like the best. If you want to “kill their families” and “bomb the s—- out of them” and increase military spending (whether you understand what that leads to or not), you can hear those things from Trump. If you want to end all the stupid wars and stop intervening and end the nation-building and stop making such dumb “mistakes,” then you can hear that. And many do.
Trump does not give speeches advertising his actual behavior thus far in the White House. He’s continued and expanded several wars, plus drone wars, plus new bases in new places, plus threats of major new wars. He knows that telling a cheering crowd he wants more of their money for more of this madness to further impoverish and endanger them, damage the earth, erode liberties, and corrode our culture with violence will quickly stop the cheering. So, instead he promises to finally end one of the wars.
And in so doing, he also pretends to be in charge. Because the Pentagon, the weapons dealers, the Congressional servants of the Pentagon and the weapons dealers, and Trump’s own appointees will hardly stand for ending any wars — even if some of them want to move on from Syria to Iran. The Israeli and U.S. war parties want war to rage on in Syria with no victor and no end. Trump’s penchant for blurting out off-the-wall stuff apparently prior to any thought process is not actually evidence of an ability to defy the permanent bureaucracy.
While Trump has not been brought around to all out war with Russia yet, he’s repeatedly caved in immediately on such topics as shutting down NATO. He’s dropped bombs on command. He’s thankfully refrained from ripping up the Iran nuclear agreement. So, when Trump says we’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon, very soon, that’s not a substantive statement. It’s just noise.
“It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and [fire and] fury, Signifying nothing.”
But perhaps we can make it signify something. Perhaps even a ticking time bomb is right twice a day.