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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:11 AM

Measuring Wars by a Loss of Principles

Article by WN.com Correspondent Dallas Darling


Literally over night in May of 1970, President Richard M. Nixon's ill-planned and ill-fated invasion of Cambodia revived the dwindling antiwar movement to vigorous life. Whether it was his verbal barrages of "Peace with Honor" or his "Vietnamization" euphemism that lulled pro-life protesters to sleep, when President Nixon announced he was ordering a military "incursion" into Cambodia to "clean out" bases the enemy had been using for "its increased military aggression," a crescendo of anti-war demonstrations across America occurred. Anger at the draft, false optimism about the endless military occupation in Vietnam, and combat footage of atrocities in the nightly news all had an impact on antiwar protesters. But nothing infuriated them more than escalating the war with Cambodia.

Hundreds of thousands of antiwar protesters marched on, and then occupied, Washington DC. Millions participated in small rallies and pro-life marches on college campuses nationwide. Military rage and insanity was being met by a more peaceful and more sane and principled movement. Some protesters were willing to even sacrifice their own lives to assure the U.S.-Vietnam/Cambodia War was brought to an end and that senseless killings, killings that had cost the lives of four million Vietnamese and fifty-thousand U.S. troops, would not happen in Cambodia. On May 4, the National Guard opened fire on antiwar protesters at Kent State killing four students. Ten days later at Jackson State, police fired into a women's dormitory with automatic weapons killing two black students.

But since the U.S.-Vietnam War, most military engagements and occupations have been measured only by the loss of American soldiers. Principles, like increasing technological savagery, psychological distress and political repression, or the disregard for murdering thousands of non-Americans, or even one, has been ignored. The preemptive wars against Iraq and Afghanistan killed hundreds of thousands of people. Millions have become refugees. Prior to these military interventions and even though very few American troops died, sanctions against Iraq killed over 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children and the elderly. Past incursions into Central America, the Caribbean and Africa have also created mass carnage, maiming and killing thousands of people while causing hardship for millions.

Instead of measuring America's wars by how many U.S. soldiers have been killed, why not base them on universal principles that have somehow been lost. If a principle is an important rule, law and guideline which other rules or judgments are derived, why not measure wars on how many non-Americans are killed or the utter disregard for national sovereignty? Since principles denote moral decisions that are required for civilizations to thrive, even survive, should not individuals-especially in wartime-guard against the loss of democratic rights and life? And if the character of a nation is founded on principles and moral beliefs too, instead of self-interest or the tyranny of the market why not: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "Do no harm" values?(1)

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Reply Measuring Wars by a Loss of Principles (Original post)
polly7 Apr 2012 OP
midnight Apr 2012 #1
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Lionessa Apr 2012 #2
sad sally Apr 2012 #3

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:14 PM

3. As long as we have leaders who don't speak about the thousands upon thousands of people killed by

US wars, nor about the thousands upon thousands who are injured, most Americans simply shrug, accept the death and destruction as somehow necessary, and look the other way. The word PEACE is not part of our leaders vocabulary.

A grim joke made the rounds in late 2002 and early 2003, in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq. The version I recall went something like this:

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney go into a Texas bar. Over a couple of beers they plan the invasion of Iraq, taking out Saddam Hussein and taking control of Iraq’s vast oil reserves. The big question, though, is how Americans might react to their starting another war, with victory still elusive in Afghanistan. They decide to do an impromptu sampling of public opinion, and invite an average, all-American looking guy standing at the bar to join them for a friendly drink.

“What would you think of us invading Iraq and taking over their oil fields, if you knew that 30,000 Iraqis and one American bicycle mechanic would be killed if we do it?” Bush asks.

The fellow slowly sips his beer, his brow furrowed. He mulls the question and looks troubled. Finally he asks, “Why should an American bicycle mechanic have to die?”

Cheney slaps the table and grins triumphantly at Bush. “I told you no one would give a damn about the 30,000 Iraqis!”


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