The Common Good

The Inevitable Results of War: Sins as Well as Crimes

The end of Passover is said to mark the anniversary of the moment when Pharaoh's imperial horse-chariot army met disaster in the Red Sea. Just as the festival was ending this year, flashes of truth about our own imperial army appeared in the ways prophetic truth rises up in our day -- unveiled videotape, unmuzzled journalism. One from the Iraq War, one from the Afghanistan War.

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In one of these flashes of truth, a U.S. helicopter machine-guns two journalists -- and even if you think the U.S. soldiers honestly mistook a camera for an assault rifle and mistook civilians casually strolling on the street for threats to the American occupation, that does not explain why they then killed two clearly unarmed men in a van who came to help those wounded in the first attack. Nor does it explain why the military realized something had gone wrong, investigated, and then lied about what had happened.

In the other, U.S. Special Forces kill three Afghan women -- two of them pregnant -- and a local police chief and prosecutor, all on the way to a baby shower. Says The New York Times:

It was one of the latest examples of Special Operations forces' killing civilians during raids, deaths that have infuriated Afghan officials and generated support for the Taliban despite efforts by American and NATO commanders to reduce civilian casualties.

Then the Special Forces tamper with the evidence to hide what they had done, claiming that the three women had been murdered earlier, by their relatives, in an "honor killing." (Everyone knows that's what Muslim men do to their women. "Baby shower"? Only loving Western families do that.)

Once more, twice more, the official position will be that these are unfortunate byproducts of necessary wars.

They are not.

These events, over and over and over, are not only the inevitable result of these specific wars, in which the government of the United States went (in Iraq) and is still going (in Afghanistan) far beyond what is necessary to protect the United States itself. They are not only the inevitable causes of still more rage against America, not only the recruiting posters for new terrorists.

They are also the inevitable results of an American mindset that has sent U.S. troops and mercenaries and military bases throughout the world, and devoted between 880 billion dollars and 1.03 TRILLION dollars a year -- as much as all other governments combined -- to the U.S. military budget. A far more detailed analysis with detailed official sources comes from here.

Deliberately, I do not use the words "defense budget." This is not defense. It destroys others, and ourselves.

Increasingly, we hear talk about cutting the "entitlement" budget to reduce the monstrous deficits that allegedly may haunt our grandchildren. What are these "entitlements"?

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