Memorial Day — it would be societally wise to remember what really happened — not what US neocons want us to think took place

© 2023 Peter Free


29 May 2023



Pause Memorial Day's reflexive flag-waving, just a moment


Instead, consider the true costs of what this often mindlessly jingoistic American holiday now commemorates:



Is it, culturally mandated obeisance to the warmongering Party Line?



Paul Craig Roberts uses the word 'insouciant' to describe the American public


Accurately so.


Evaluate how easily we are steered into thinking of ourselves — actually meaning the military 1 percent of the population — as holy (knight-like) liberators of this planet from one evil or another.


When in reality, US government and its neocons have been the major terror-bringers — as assessed with regard to their initiation (and continuation) of massive volumes of harm — for many decades.



Consider — who's killing whom?


And for what supposedly good reasons?



An accounting about recent, US instigated wars


From Brown University — here in excerpts:



At least 4.5 million people have died in the post-9/11 warzones.


There are many reverberating consequences of the post-9/11 wars that have led to indirect deaths, and they often overlap, but four underappreciated primary ones that this study delineates are:



Economic collapse, loss of livelihood, and food insecurity;


Destruction of public services and health infrastructure;


Environmental contamination; and


Reverberating trauma and violence.



Other compounding factors like natural disasters, climate chaos, and forced displacement intensify these effects.


Again, while this research does not ascribe blame to any single warring party or

factor, and neither does it suggest the full death count is quantifiable, a reasonable and conservative estimate suggests that at least 4.5 million people have died in the major post-9/11 war zones.


Cumulatively, the report’s calculation is that more than 7.6 million children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition, also known as wasting, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.


The post-9/11 wars have occurred in countries whose populations are largely Black and brown, and are often waged by countries with histories of white supremacism and Islamophobia.


© 2023 Watson Institute, Costs of War: How Death Outlives War — The Reverberating Impact of the Post-9/11 Wars on Human Health, Brown University (2023) (executive summary at pages 1-2)



And more


The expediently hidden, even larger catastrophe is the one that includes displaced people:



Over 38 million people in the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria have been displaced, either abroad or within their own countries, and are living in grossly inadequate conditions.


This is a very conservative estimate and the figure could be as high as 49-60 million.


Many displaced persons, usually poorer migrants who lack the finances necessary to travel abroad, have had to relocate within their countries.


Internal displacement is associated with some of the worst health outcomes, increasing people’s vulnerability to the negative impacts of loss of employment, inability to access public services such as clean drinking water, environmental contamination, and reverberating trauma and violence.


In Afghanistan as of March 2022, there were approximately four million internally displaced people, almost 60% of whom were children under age 18. These IDPs experience malnutrition and mental health challenges and lack access to healthcare, with particularly serious consequences for maternal and infant mortality.


Refugees also face difficulties in renewing visas, the denial of civil rights and services, the fear of deportation, and anxiety about the future.


Some who managed to escape the wars Afghanistan and Iraq fled to nearby states including Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran. The refugee influx into these countries has strained their resources and the livelihoods of their urban working classes.


© 2021 Watson Institute, Costs of War: Refugees and Health, Brown University (2021)



Imagine that these are your families


Not so comfortable a predicament, is it?


Especially so because virtually none of these uprooted folks had anything at all to do with creating the pretend circumstances that US government-sponsored aggression was (and is) aimed at.



Regarding all this — Ben Norton's reasonable take


Ben Norton — not greatly hampered (apparently) by having to couch his semantics, or bury his conclusions in squishy accord with American government funding or corporatist influence — wrote the following — in his summary of both Watson Institute reports.


Here excerpted:



The [Watson Institute] scholars estimated that . . . there are still today 7.6 million children under age 5 who are suffering from acute malnutrition, meaning they are “not getting enough food, literally wasting to skin and bones, putting these children at greater risk of death”.


In Afghanistan and Yemen, this includes nearly 50% of children; and, in Somalia, close to 60%.


The Brown University researchers pointed out, for example, “In conflict areas, children are 20 times more likely to die of diarrheal disease than from the conflict itself”.


“Hospitals, clinics, and medical supplies, water and sanitation systems, electricity, roads and traffic signals, infrastructure for farming and shipping goods, and much more are destroyed, damaged and disrupted, with lasting consequences for human health”, the report noted.


Economic problems caused by these post-9/11 wars have been devastating.


More than half of Afghanistan’s population is in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 per day. A staggering 95% of Afghans do not have enough food.


In Yemen, more than 17.4 million people are food insecure, and 85,000 children under age 5 have likely died from starvation.


US drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia “significantly impact people’s livelihood sources”, killing workers, destroying farms and businesses, and bankrupting families.


Washington’s so-called counter-terrorism laws in Somalia have also “hampered humanitarian relief efforts, intensifying the effects of famine”, the researchers noted.


Hundreds of thousands of children have died from famine in the East African nation.


© 2023 Ben Norton, US post-9/11 wars caused 4.5 million deaths, displaced 38-60 million people, study shows, Geopolitical Economy (18 May 2023)



The moral? — Regarding Memorial Day . . .


Have supposed American values been turned upside down?


One would think that avoiding getting our own troops killed in the above-listed unholy endeavors should be our first patriotic concern.


Instead, it seems to be that our troops' deaths are propagandistically used to perpetuate still more of the same American government and the Military Industrial Complex profiteering that killed them.


Morally speaking, we should — at least arguably — widen the scope of what we remember on Memorial Day:



Expending our own troops' innocent lives


to extinguish other equally blameless folk —


does not seem to be a workable recipe for producing societally decent behavior.



As (now Ukro-Nazi-imprisoned) Gonzalo Lira customarily reminded us, "Know what's going on".