Last month was the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which resulted in the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution authorized President Johnson to send in conventional forces and wage open warfare against the North Vietnamese and resulted in the dramatic escalation of the conflict. The coming years will bring us to many more 50th anniversaries of actions and engagements we never should have been involved in.
A side effect of researching the book I’m working on, which will chronicle my and my colleagues’ activities in the peace and justice movement from about 1966 through 1976, is revisiting the anger and frustration I felt at the terrible injustice of that and, really, all war. This video uses quite a few iconic images to good effect accompanying its song.
It also pisses me off to know how many petulant fools we still have as so-called “leaders”. The names John McCain and Lindsey Graham come readily to mind, but there are far too many others to think they’re anything more than the tip of the cold-blooded iceberg. Many of today’s problems can be laid at the feet of these war mongers and their sycophants.
We Weren’t Looking for Retribution; Merely Justice
I can’t let today pass without saying a word or two about the tragic events of eleven years ago today. Unlike most Americans, at least as far as I can tell, these events were tragic to me for many reasons. I am somewhat ashamed to note the many people who mourn the loss of those nearly 3000 who died as a direct result of the attacks of 9/11, yet seem to show little or no feeling toward the loss of lives that came about as a result of the actions the United States and other nations took in seeking vengeance for these attacks.
I don’t wish in any way to denigrate the innocent victims of these heinous acts, and I am especially mindful of the hundreds of first-responders who lost their lives performing the duties they were sworn to in order that others might live. I respect and honor their devotion and the sacrifices they made – and continue to make – on our behalf.
Nevertheless, in the wake of this tragedy we engaged in two wars – at least one of which was entirely unnecessary – and was, indeed, a war of aggression based on lies and deception.
While it’s impossible to get an accurate figure, an average assessment of the number of Iraqi civilian deaths — based on numerous estimates — indicates there have been at least several hundred thousand civilian deaths alone (cite). There have been over 4400 U.S. deaths and 32,000 wounded in Iraq (cite). The death toll in Afghanistan is so muddled it’s difficult to determine how many civilians have been killed as the result of our activities and how many might have been killed by the Taliban regardless. There have been over 3,000 coalition deaths (over 2,000 U.S.) and approximately 24,000 wounded. In addition, over 14,000 Afghan security forces personnel have been killed (cite).
Our nation’s cry is “Never Forget”, and we won’t. We shouldn’t. However, we must always be mindful that great injustice was done in the name of those who perished on this day. We should also continue asking questions not only about why we did what we did, but what actually happened on 9/11. I doubt the truth has yet to be told. Keep your eyes and ears open.