Written by Frank Li
Is there a culture of war in the U.S.? Yes! When did it start to develop? After WWII! How was it developed? Follow my reasoning …
1. The U.S. Constitution
[The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
According to Wikipedia:
For more, read: War Powers Clause.
2. America’s attitude toward wars
Like most human beings, Americans hate wars.
Let’s go all the way back to George Washington’s Farewell Address. In that speech, Washington gave four warnings (What were four warnings that George Washington gave in his farewell speech?), of which two were specifically related to war:
- George Washington warned the U.S. that it should not become entangled in other nations’ affairs.
- George Washington supported a national budget. He warned the U.S. to avoid unnecessary war and borrowing so that they could balance the federal budget and rid themselves of national debt.
America listened, fortunately. Here is a simple fact: until WWII, the U.S. was very reluctant to get involved in any foreign war. For example, how did the U.S. finally get involved in WWII? It was only after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 that Congress declared the war!
Then, America stopped listening to Washington, unfortunately. Here are two simple facts:
- The U.S. is the only country that has had at least one war every decade since WWII ended in 1945, and none of them was declared by Congress!
- The U.S. had never started a massive pre-emptive war against any country until 2003, when the U.S. launched the Iraq War, for totally misguided reasons.
How can you explain all this? Let me try: Blame WWII!
3. Blame WWII!
WWII brought one huge corollary benefit to the U.S.: America became an economic monopoly! America’s competitors either destroyed themselves through the war (e.g. Germany and Japan) or doomed themselves after the war by adopting (or continuing) a fundamentally flawed system called “communism” (e.g. China and the former Soviet Union). As a result, America was the “last man standing”, leaving us free to make and invent virtually every new thing and naming our own prices. This not only finally ended the Great Depression, but also created unprecedented prosperity in America throughout the second half of the 20th century.
In short, WWII was very good for the U.S.!
Unfortunately, WWII also brought one huge problem to the U.S.: America ended up with a monstrous military-industrial complex (MIC).
As our history shows, in a democracy like ours, many new programs, from laws to government functions, including the MIC, are created for some reasons, but few ever end for one simple reason: not to offend some special interest groups!
So not only must the MIC be kept going after WWII, it must also grow whenever possible! The only problem was that we needed enemies to justify it. Communism was a high visibility target then, just as terrorism is now!
4. Blame communism!
Here is my version of several wars after WWII, based on my readings in both the East and the West over the years.
4.1 The Korean War
Kim Il-sung was very inspired by Mao’s success in China and wanted the same for himself: the entire Korea united under him! So despite the strong opposition of both China and the Soviet Union, he invaded the South in 1950. America responded, correctly.
Although America did not provoke it, the Korean War helped the MIC grow unchecked, requiring new victims to perpetuate its growth. Vietnam was their next opportunity.
4.2 The Vietnam War
Ho Chi Minh fought hard against the Japanese and the French, and was on the way to a total victory in Vietnam. But that was unacceptable to America, who not only helped decisively create the opposition, but also massively supported it. I believe America had actually engineered the Vietnam War, with massive escalation in the 1960s. The Vietnam War ended in 1975, with America’s “total retreat” in humiliation.
4.3 The wars in the 1980s
4.4 The Cold War
The Cold War ended in 1991, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, instead of making the world a more peaceful place after the Cold War, the U.S. made it much worse by being the major source of instability all over the world, especially in the Middle East (U.S. Middle East Policy: What’s Wrong?), which largely, if not decisively, prompted the 9/11 attack!
5. Blame terrorism!
9/11 was indeed an attack on America. But it was a retaliatory attack against our policy in the Middle East! For more, read: Ron Paul on 9/11: Ask the right questions and face the truth.
The 9/11 attack gave the MIC a hugely new opportunity, which was seized without hesitation! As a result, America launched two big wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, respectively! What a big mess! Three recommended readings:
- Thomas Young, Dying Iraq War veteran, Pens ‘Last Letter” to Bush, Cheney On War’s 10th Anniversary
- Blagojevich and Pearl Harbor: They Are Related!
- For Obama the Road to Reelection Runs through Kabul.
For the latest inside story, read: White House rushes to respond to Robert Gates’s book. Here is a highlight: Obama did not believe his own war strategy: Gates.
Ugly, huh? What about the soldiers who have died, and are still dying, on Obama’s watch?
As Americans, we hate wars, but love our soldiers …
The U.S. has been madly in love with war ever since WWII ended in 1945!
Now, a few words on President Eisenhower … He not only coined the term “military-industrial complex”, but also explicitly warned us against it (Eisenhower’s Farewell Address). For more, watch this short video: Eisenhower warns us of military-industrial complex.
Apparently, America failed to heed this warning, further to having stopped listening to George Washington!
As the Iraq War ended in 2011 and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, America has started looking for new enemies, such as China, using the conflicts in the South China Sea or North Korea (U.S. Plans New Asia Missile Defenses) as excuses …
For some of the problems with the MIC, here are two readings:
How to stop the war-madness in the U.S.? Here is a real solution:
- Reform the political system! As long as our politicians are fixated on “getting re-elected ad nauseam,” America will be stuck with wars, because war has proven to be very good, professionally if not personally, for many politicians, including John McCain, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!
- Draft: A war is justified only if you personally are willing to go or send your children there!
Now, let me expand the notion of war from the real wars to the “fake” wars in the U.S., such as “the war on poverty” and “the war on drugs.”
Simply put, they all have failed, or are failing! Why? Two main reasons:
- Wars rarely solve real problems. They just cause many new problems!
- You can’t solve any problem without a real diagnosis first! On poverty and drugs, no real diagnosis has been done in the U.S., yet! Why? Read: The America That Can No Longer Think, Politically!
Overall, Americans have been using the word “war” too loosely, as if it were a good thing …
There is a culture of war in the U.S.! It’s the fuel for Democratic Imperialism, as well as Democratic Socialism, and vice versa. We must denounce it, unequivocally! We must stop it as a concrete step to save America, as well as humanity!
For more, read my book: “Saving America, Chinese Style.”