Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

America’s Persian and Arabian Wars by Chas Freeman

Sometime between 460 and 450 B.C.E., Herodotus wrote The Persian Wars, his account of the Greeks' two wars with the Persians, which spanned thirteen years. Even in a time when trends and events unfolded more slowly than they seem to now, that was a famously lengthy conflict. But the ancient Greeks and Persians have nothing on us Americans in that regard.
The United States has now been engaged in a cold war with Iran – Persia – for thirty-seven years. It has conducted various levels of hot war in Iraq for twenty-six years.  It has been in combat in Afghanistan for fifteen years. Americans have bombed Somalia for fifteen, Libya for five, and Syria for one and a half years. One war has led to another. None has yielded any positive result and none shows any sign of doing so.

The same might be said for the wars of others we Americans subsidize and supply. Israel's wars to subdue the Palestinians and deter other Arabs from challenging its ongoing dispossession of them are now sixty-eight-years-old – and counting. U.S. drones have been killing Yemenis for fourteen years, Pakistanis for twelve, and Somalis for nine. Saudi Arabia's bloody effort to reinstall an ousted government in Yemen is almost a year old. In none of these wars is an end in sight.
It's hard to put a price tag on these inconclusive misadventures. The unsuccessful Afghan and Iraq pacification campaigns alone have cost the United States an estimated $6 trillion in outlays and obligations. Over 7,000 Americans have died in combat since these wars kicked off in 2001. At least another 50,000 have been maimed. A million have filed claims for war-related disabilities. And well over two million Afghans, Arabs, Persians, and Somalis have perished. This is a great deal of sacrifice and suffering for no apparent gain in the region and continuously escalating risks to our homeland. Perhaps a bit of reflection is in order, followed by a change of course.
It is said in this regard that before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. (That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.) In that spirit, let me offer a few thoughts as well as a question or two about America's Persian and Arabian wars.
What it is that we Americans are trying to accomplish?  Is there no better way than warfare to protect and advance our interests? How can we finally end the many wars we have begun? On what terms should they be ended and with iwhom? At what point is enough enough?

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