This US Memorial Day Remember War Is Murder

Make Love Not War

Make Love Not War

We must stop glorifying war murders and their perpetrators. Instead we must demobilize globally in order to address the far greater threat of abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse. Murder has not, nor will it ever, make us free. Someday soon we need a day to memorialize senseless acts of love, peace, sharing, and kindness.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

This Memorial Day, as America lionizes the bravery and sacrifice of its soldiers, try if you can to step aside from jingoistic nationalism for a moment and think freely. Recall that stripped of ritual and pomp, war is the killing of other human beings for political and economic gain. America has proven particularly adept, by some estimates being at war all but 20 years of its nearly 240-year history.

In war brainwashed young men (and now women) of one tribe hunt down and kill the indoctrinated from another tribe to serve the interests of rich old men. It doesn’t matter under the banner of which gods or arbitrarily defined nations, or what rhetoric is used; war is murder. Bodies are cut and blown apart, homes destroyed, families ripped asunder, women raped, and the land, water, and air plundered as the wealthy declare a respite from the laws of humanity to further their own enrichment.

This is not to suggest that humanity never has to fight to stop the march of some madman or to stop some overconsuming nation from wantonly stealing resources. We may yet have to fight to overthrow the oil oligarchy’s hold on our economy and destruction of our biosphere.

But the way we glorify soldiers and war – covering up the brutal nature of war, and the profound suffering it causes – does a sad disservice to those killed, those aggrieved who will start the next war, and those who blindly followed orders. Young, naïve men and women go to war believing falsely that a nation can excuse their acts of murder – and remain forever traumatized as a result.

In this regard there is little exceptional about America except the size of our egos and willingness to kill any and all that gets in the way of our overconsumption and delusions of impunity. We are like Rome, which, despite its legions, fell because of the rot from within. We will meet the same or worse fate if we continue to revere war and murder.

Expenditures for standing armies are obscene. America spends over $600 billion a year on war – more than most other major nations’ expenditures combined – a diversion of societal resources that indirectly murders multitudes more whose food, shelter, education, and jobs are taken from them to finance the murder of other similarly poor people. It is the poor that provide much of the cannon fodder to the killing machines, their awful task of murdering others draped in grand rhetoric. To the victors goes the right to frame history, seeking to justify vicious acts of bloody murder with self-righteous words.

War murder is a business, a growth industry that benefits the military-industrial-congressional complex (how the term was originally phrased by that commie pacifist General Eisenhower), and has propped up Western economies for decades. Rather than using the limited resources of Earth to produce goods and services that meet human and all life’s needs, warmongers wantonly consume fossil fuels, minerals, food, and human capital to systematically kill other human beings.

The cost of one aircraft carrier, a floating city able to rain down death anywhere at will, could bring water systems to the entire world, saving 3,000 children under five from needless death a day. A more wholesale demobilization of armies globally could end poverty as we know it for the 2 billion human beings who subsist on less than $1.50 a day, and fund the necessary investments to limit abrupt climate change and achieve global ecological sustainability.

Until the early 20th century, armies mostly demobilized between conflicts. Now capitalist economies are built upon the systematic stealing of resources, killing those who happen to live near and claim to own “our” resources and object. The rich liberal democracies (which are in fact neither) must wage permawar to artificially maintain their high standards of consumption. Ever more grandly, wars are constantly waged under false pretexts and outright lies – look at the Iraqi weapons of mass consternation, the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, and President Obama’s reign of drone terror.

No amount of jingoism obviates the fact that veterans are murderers and they and their enablers are war criminals. America’s recent decade–plus of war has been in violation of the 1996 US War Crimes Act (specifying penalties which can include death), the international Third Geneva Convention of 1949, and the 1987 UN Torture Convention. It is not okay to invade sovereign nations posing no threat, to kidnap and torture suspected enemies, to murder remotely with drones at will, or to spy upon and assassinate American citizens.

And it is not just W, Dick, Condi, Rummy, and Bama who are guilty of war crimes (though so far they have evaded prosecution). The Uniform Code of Military Justice makes clear that soldiers have an obligation and a duty to obey only lawful orders; indeed, they are obliged to disobey unlawful orders. These include presidential orders that do not comply with the Code, the Constitution, and international law. Further, it was established at the Nuremberg war trials that “following orders” is no justification for war crimes. Nearly every American who has served in the past decade has been involved in carrying out illegal acts of murder under the Constitution and international law.

The oil oligarchy are the latest rulers to indoctrinate American young men and women to go forth to exotic places and kill the people who hold “our” resources. At one time after WWII America took the lead in disarmament and establishment of international law to avoid war. Now, after being hit by a small band of criminal terrorists, this nation feels justified in waging permawar.

Over a million people, mostly innocents, have been murdered to avenge the few thousand tragically lost on 9/11. Has America gotten revenge yet, and can the permawar stop? It is time to regain our humanity and take some calculated risk to end war murders.

And let’s push back against the creepy Orwellian justification for America’s war binge. We are not hated for our freedoms, and you can’t wage war on terrorism (which is a tactic). Mostly we are hated because we have occupied holy lands of other peoples, we arrogantly presume that all Earth’s resources are our own, and we speak grandly and pompously of liberty and opportunity as we deny it to others.

President Barack Obama’s drone permawar is terrorism, traumatizing innocent populations and murdering thousands. It is well past time for the US to stop drone terrorism worldwide, to subject our war-making to the International Court of Justice as most other nations have, and to begin the process of international negotiations to demobilize our war machine in such a manner that we and all nations can be reasonably assured of security. Future acts of barbarism will have to be responded to differently, through the criminal justice system, and without militarizing our entire way of life.

Earth is running out of resources to fuel exponential growth of industry and population. As ecosystems continue to collapse and inequities rise on a globalized Earth, humanity’s propensity for killing foes is bound to reach a whole new level of madness. As each nation seeks drones, nuclear weapons, and authoritarian means to spy upon every thought, we can never again live peacefully and justly.

We are one human family on an increasingly fragile Earth. As abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse continue to intensify – and the few hundred megarich won’t be able to exponentially grow rich any longer, the bourgeoisie realize their standard of living is going down, and the billions of poor demand their piece of the pie – perhaps it would be best if there weren’t any stray nuclear arms or billions of conventional military-grade weapons scattered worldwide.

Coming decades are going to be fraught by climate famine, water shortages, and diminishing access to resources to fuel overconsumption and an even greater failure to meet basic needs of many. We need less war to address these challenges without mass anarchy and death. Earth’s remaining natural capital must be directed to meeting people’s and ecosystem’s needs, not waging war.

It is time to pursue global military demobilization – with a residual international, demilitarized police force and an emphasis upon fairness and justice as a top priority – if together we are to survive, let alone thrive.

This Memorial Day, dare to dream of peace. And work for demobilization and caring for our “wounded warriors” – who, despite having followed illegal orders, in many cases because they were indoctrinated with our tax dollars to hate and murder, need society’s help to mend their minds and bodies. Help them be whole again, overcome the indoctrination that justifies their murders, and ensure that war mayhem stops once and for all.

It is time to embrace pacifism in all but the most unusual and desperate instances of self-defense. And perhaps we should be fighting, if at all and as a last recourse, those in the oil oligarchy and elsewhere who destroy the Earth and the human future, instead of poor people trying to hold on to their autonomy.

As one who has served honorably myself and worn the Army uniform, I call for truthful and loving attention to the needs of veterans, forgiving their mindless killing and healing their wounds of body and soul. In addition, we must help all those who have been victimized by war to use their experiences to banish state-sponsored murdering once and for all. Then we can get on with saving our deteriorating ecosystem habitats together and ensuring that the basic needs of the entire human family are met.

Together we must commit to never again celebrating war murder, someday soon taking a day to memorialize senseless acts of love, peace, sharing, and kindness.

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26 Responses

  1. sharon says:

    and let’s never forget – womyn, children and nonhumans are always ‘the spoils of war’….

  2. marco van heugten says:

    hello. inspired piece, tnx. some comments: this ‘international police’ should first mean a demilitarization of the police too. in europe frontex is officially police but is a more and more dangerous crossbreeding, and that’s the trend. so no arms should happen there too. of course you know the police was made by getting the guards of the bastille and the tower on the streets.. fire-arms are an architect-industrial-bank-military invention, a ‘logical’ step in the conqueror-mind that’s called man’s ego (becoming more and more dominant, unbalanced, since maybe 70.000 years and on (see Kirkpatrick Sale, Zerzan etc) and especially since ‘the bronze-age-collapse’..) & ‘you can carry weapons if you’re sure you never use them, and lay them down with human threat immediately’ nobody understood that one.. bye now

  3. suneet srivastava says:

    One of the best, truthful and sensible article i have read ever. Thanks.

  4. Ross says:

    Very wise words, Dr. Glen, thank you for this essay.

    Ross

  5. Jeff says:

    You left out the largest, most violent, murderous aspect of injustice on the whole planet planet—our exploitation of nonhuman animals—the completely unnecessary eating, wearing, and using of innocent sentient beings.

    Environmentalists, human rights and Peace advocates need to reflect on their positions. We all have a moral obligation to be vegan first and foremost—to remove the violence from our lives.

    Jeff

  6. Kate says:

    Thank you for another excellent article. WE are a notion with a large ego and sadly religion as well as bred play a large part in the problems of the planet. Religion-another article maybe?The military also does horrific testing on animals. I have no patience for causing suffering to animals who can not speak for themselves but ar pawns for humans.
    I loved the one you did on the environment a while ago and also wrote to you then. Thank your for your thoughts and so very honest and truthful views.
    Kate

  7. David says:

    Spot on. Well done!
    hugs,
    David

  8. Rosalind says:

    Hi this is a great piece. Do you – or can you – have it as a Facebook post so that I and others can share it.
    Thanks
    Rosalind

  9. Doug says:

    Fuck you! Fail! Unsubscribe!!

    Doug
    MSgt, USAF (Ret)

  10. Richard Bluhm says:

    Dr. Barry, I am in total agreement with every word. Nonetheless, I too have pondered our dilemma for years and am part of a perpetual anti-war vigil that has survived for nearly a decade. During this time I have noticed a digression toward acceptance of war as status quo. As you probably realize, your efforts like mine are like a good sermon that lasts through to Monday.

    Fifty per cent or more of our economy is directly or indirectly based on military spending. Was it not Upton Sinclair who penned words to the effect that it’s hard to learn if you’re being paid or privileged not to? On the one side are those who are being paid not to and on the other we have oligarchs who are psychopaths. I don’t say that lightly. I really believe that we are sick in some ways, rationalizing the absurd on myriad levels. The oligarchs are truly sociopaths and they have gravitated to positions of power.

    So what is the path to our salvation? The two-party system is broken. It cannot deal with the problems we face. I believe that change is in the hands of the masses if in anyones’ hands. If the masses refuse to act out of knowledge then they will act out on a visceral level. That’s not going to be pretty. As the environment deteriorates, the economic predation suffers blowback, the technology avalanches out of control, as we overpopulate without a plan, all of this without a plan, what are the chances of an orderly retrenchment? That being said, hope lies in action and not in despair. For the sake of posterity, we must continue to tell truth to power. Thank you for this most excellent essay.

  11. marc says:

    Your’ re dead right.The’ evil empire’ based on Roman Jewish principles wants to continue playing it ‘s role as world police, fucking up all around the globe.This assures the value of the technically bancrupt nation’s dollar. If one can think logically : do not make war, do not make to much children,do not eat our fellow mammals,keep a distance of capitalism and all is cronies.See how pathetic one of them reacted in the mail before mine.

  12. Rudy Haugeneder says:

    Only the pre-colonization Aboriginal peoples of Australia and their Dreamtime belief ever came close to the meaning of life and treatment of all — everything — that lives and lived. Aboriginal Dreamtime survives, but barely.
    Australian Aboriginal Proverb: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love . . . and then we return home.”

  13. marc says:

    Dear Rudy, I should like tot believe the Aboriginals.I think no one of all the ones that passed came back from home to tell us about ‘home’.We ‘r no more and no better than our fellow brethren animals.

  14. Urs says:

    An honest and brave text and absolutely correct.
    Best regards
    Urs

  15. probyn says:

    Indeed, that the very concept of war has not come to be recognized by humans for the degrading and backwards step in the evolution of the species that it is — this is a sad comment on how blind we can be to our own faults All of us need to improve our interactions with each other, starting small in the family, workplace, community. Forget religion– just strive to be good and loving by whatever yardstick you use. Hard work when it comes down to it, but huge payoff.

    • marco van heugten says:

      Hello. Isn’t striving to be good and loving to all, something you find in at least some religious/mythical ‘heroes’? If i may so I recommend f.i. reading ‘Binding the Strong Man’ by mr. Meyers, for a very interesting social-political go on ‘the playscript’ of Mark.. tnx, bye now

  16. Stasha says:

    The War to End All Wars
    Armageddon will accomplish something that no other war has ever accomplished—the end of all wars. Who does not yearn for the day when warfare will be a thing of the past? However, the end of war has eluded all human efforts. Such repeated failure of human attempts to end war merely emphasizes the truth of Jeremiah’s words: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Regarding what Jehovah will accomplish, the Bible promises: “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—Psalm 46:8, 9.
    As the nations use their deadly weapons on one another and threaten to destroy the environment, the Maker of the earth will take action—at the Biblical Armageddon! (Revelation 11:18) This war, therefore, will accomplish what God-fearing men throughout the ages could only hope for. It will vindicate the rightful rulership of earth’s Owner, Jehovah God, over all his creation.
    Thus, Armageddon is not to be feared by people who love righteousness. Rather, it provides a basis for hope. The war of Armageddon will cleanse the earth of all corruption and wickedness and open the way for a righteous new system of things under the rule of God’s Messianic Kingdom. (Isaiah 11:4, 5) Instead of being a frightening cataclysmic end, Armageddon will signal a happy beginning for righteous individuals, who will live forever on a paradise earth.—Psalm 37:29.

  17. George Smith says:

    Thank you..

  18. Peter Hirst says:

    Oh for the day when the global community can impose its will without resorting to force.

  1. May 26, 2014
  2. November 14, 2015

    […] War is murder. Together we must resist all religious, military, and nationalist indoctrination that teaches killing others is just. War murders are in service only to evil. […]

  3. April 18, 2016

    […] “War is murder. I would rather be blown to pieces is a low-probability terrorist attack than give up my liberties and nature to government and corporate oppression.” – Dr. Glen Barry […]

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