The Vietnam war, as Iraq and even Afghanistan, was a self-created war based on misreading history and not understanding when a military solution is the worst of all choices that should be the last of many options when all else has failed. The myths of war require killing of the people we have propagandized into "insects" as we have to do to get soldiers to hate enough to kill, the awesome minister said this morning on a day dedicated to PEACE. These myths are necessary to make humans kill others. One is the best thing a human can do is sacrifice for the country so that the next generation will not have to worry as we believed with the Nazi's, Japanese, and Italians under Mussolini.
That requires relinquishing the moral compass parents, teachers, and world leaders, especially the clergy, have taught us from youth on. Another is to insure our troops hate the opponent by emphasizing our differences, language, race, culture, and how they are barbaric, impede our civilization, and must be extinguished. Only 15 % of our military ever fired a bullet in WWII despite the propaganda that our vicious enemies who wore the other uniform determined to torture and skewer us if ever caught.
The antidote is as old as these myths, but the hardest lesson to teach and learn as it must start from a committed parents, teachers, and leaders especially the clergy: that is LOVE. It has the ability to conquer the prejudiced view that springs from base reaction, instinctual motivations rather than from the artistic, intellectual, thoughtful, and spiritual side of our minds. LOVE is stronger than HATE. Those words came from an inspirational sermon I heard in San Mateo where I met two veterans who read inspiring anti-war quotes from literature. One graduated from the Naval Academy in 1970, was a naval aviator, and made friends with me immediately after the service. The other spokesman was a career enlisted man in the Navy.
I suppose we had no choice in WWI and II because the world was the target from fascism.They gassed Jews, and others not of their liking, tortured people in concentration camps, raped women, and starved many including children. We had no choice than to fight for our existence. The other wars were chosen by our CIA and military industrial complex, an/or the president even when the evidence against war was substantial. John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen, and others after them, were the deciders, committed the resources, and convinced the military and the nation (media first) we could not live with godless communism, or Iraq threatening the world with the "Mother of All Wars", and remember, they supposedly had "Weapons of Mass Destruction"!
In Afghanistan, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs have convinced Obama to compromise our values with the use of our drones and assassinate certain individuals they consider sufficient threats to our security. They claim assassination proscriptions in international law do not apply to terrorism. Bush’s advisers did the same with torture. They ruined the economy, many of our soldiers and "enemies" , and far more civilians were maimed and killed by these policies. A genuine peace movement does not seem viable with the media machine able to stoke up the factions that refuse on political differences to resolve our differences by any kind of peaceful compromise. Thus it is the duty of all people of conscience to press for the solution that respects human life, the environment, and peace. We cannot compromise these ethical principles. A non-violent peace movement waged by people was merely a dream until Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.,Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, and others showed the world it could be done. Who will lead us to end war?