Friday, October 22, 2010

Review of "The American Way of War"

The American Way of War

This is a book by Tom Engelhardt (of and was published in 2010.  It is a collection of his essays over the years.  He starts with this sentence:

“War is Peace” was one of the memorable slogans on the façade of the Ministry of Truth.”

He then goes on to describe how the USA is constantly in a state of war since the attacks on 9/11, yet it is quite peaceful here.  Our wars are in other countries, far, far away.  He describes the hypocrisy evident in American beliefs and behaviors.  An example is how we routinely bomb and destroy innocent civilians, without notice or care (well, not true for me, but true for the vast majority of Americans).  And then we turn around and call cutting off someone’s head as “barbaric”.   We have killed many innocents in our “war on terror” resulting in hundreds of dead innocents for every person killed in the 9/11 attacks.  We engage in torture, rendition, rape, and every evil acts known to human kind, in a rather large scale.  And no one is held accountable except some occasional low-level person in the US military, who was doing what was expected of him or her.

And he described how our air bombings are handled.  First, the military claims only combatants were killed, while local officials claim that there are children and women killed and injured, and that the men killed were not combatants at all.  (Kind of hard to claim a newborn baby is a combatant, but the US does it.)  Then an investigation is done, and after several months, the US military says “opps” and admits that some of the dead, like the babies, might not have been combatants after all.  Then they say sorry for the mistake, and then they turn around AND DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.  They follow the same pattern with the night raids that end up with dead native people.

This book also points out how bombing people from the air never breaks their spirit or will to fight.  In fact, it has the opposite effect – it cause more of the local population to join in the resistance.  This book does not mention any cases were this was not true, and lists scores of cases were it is true.  The only exception to this truth was the extensive bombing, including nuclear bombing of Japan in World War Two.  And the population of Japan knew that they started the violence!  This reality was very evident after the bombings on 9/11.  Americans everywhere rallied together to go and attack the offenders.  That day’s bombing with civilian airplanes did not tempt us into doing nothing, or even to reflect on WHY they might be doing this.  It was just explained by ‘they hate us for our freedom’ nonsense.  It seems that most of the US population, the US politicians, and the US military, have NO ability to image how the people being bombed and occupied might actually feel.  The end result is that the native populations in these far off lands keep on fighting, dying and killing any way they can.  I suppose that this end result is really intended by the Masters of War.  They want the wars and occupations to continue, for fun, profit and/or job security. 

Engelhardt goes on to describe other aspects of war making by the USA.  One aspect is that the military, the veterans, and the continuing occupations, take up over half the US budget.  And no one talks about cutting off all this money.  I guess we are going to keep on doing this – while our bridges fall down, mines and wells blow up, and 26% of American kids never graduate high school – until we go broke.

Meanwhile, the war planning goes merrily along.

Engleheadt covers how the occupations and bombings of various countries have now become Obama’s Wars.  And he points out how it is getting worse.

Meanwhile, the innocent children of other lands are hurt and killed and generally destroyed by the never-ending US war machine.  The genetic future of these children has been destroyed also.

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