Shreveport Times, September 30, 2017

U.S. is cold-blooded invader in Afghanistan: Dwyer

U.S. lives lost earlier don’t justify more lives lost now. They reflect sacrifices of honest troops deceived by dishonest presidents who started and prolonged the wars for their own purposes

By Donard Dwyer

We’ve been at war in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003. We’ve been killing people in those countries longer than any wars in American history with no end in sight.

None of the countries we’ve destroyed attacked us. The people and government of Afghanistan were not connected with 9-11. President George W. Bush actually backed the Taliban in May 2001 with $43 million. Therefore, every person we kill there is a war crime.

You may think, "What about the Taliban attacking us now?" Just imagine if a foreign country (say China) that we had not attacked bombed the U.S., installed a puppet government and occupied the country with troops. Patriotic Americans would try to kill the occupying soldiers and it would be our right — it’s our country, after all.

This is not an imaginary situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are the cold-blooded empire invading countries that never threatened us. We are the occupying soldiers. Patriotic citizens in those countries should be trying to kill American invaders who occupy their homeland. It’s their right. It’s their country, not ours.

It amazes me how we can’t put this shoe on the other foot and see it from their perspective. Yet there we are — killing so-called terrorists that we created through their resistance.

Mark Twain’s sarcastic “The War Prayer” applies to us: “O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; . . . help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst . . . “

These wars bankrupt us morally. The Donald Trump Administration proposed $54 billion more for war balanced by spending cuts for “Meals on Wheels” and school lunch programs.

In 1917, Leon Trotsky already knew this: “In all belligerent countries the lack of bread is the most immediate reason for dissatisfaction and indignation among the masses. The insanity of war is revealed to them from this angle: it is impossible to produce necessities of life because one has to produce instruments of death.”

Not just Marxists feel this way. Republican President and former General Dwight Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Even if we thirst for endless bloodshed, war is not financially sustainable. The Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) dropped by Trump cost $227,000, plus shipping and handling. Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were launched, costing $1 million each. We drop over 5,000 bombs each year in Afghanistan. A few innocent Afghans are killed, but this only recruits new patriots.

After spending a trillion dollars, we’ve reached an unwinnable stalemate. But we’ve expanded the empire, which is why we stay.

U.S. lives lost earlier don’t justify more lives lost now. They reflect sacrifices of honest troops deceived by dishonest presidents who started and prolonged the wars for their own purposes.

Nevertheless, by the Geneva Conventions, soldiers must refuse commands to commit war crimes like those ongoing in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Only peace ends war. By this I mean, there must first be an end to hostilities — bombing, military action and killing — followed by negotiated peace settlements and removal of all foreign troops. It’s time to give peace a chance. Nothing else will work. If we don’t seek peace, we’re just an evil empire.

Originally published on Sep. 9, 2017

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