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Monday, October 16, 2017

Perpetual War Will End When Ignorance About Perpetual War's History Ends

Americans have had the recent past presented to them dishonestly for a long time now. With the takeover of the military industrial complex in the 1930’s and 40’s, the government has started omitting the realities of modern imperialism from school textbooks. This purging of history has since gotten worse with the rise in private schools and corporate-run education, which have especially taken place in the lower-class public schools that are most desperate for funds. The corporate consolidation of U.S. media and the rise of CIA psy ops have reinforced this trend.


While the nationalistic messages of American textbooks have had little effect on students, this education system has been chillingly good at keeping certain facts out of people’s minds. The unspoken outrage from the North Korean people is that nearly 20% of their country’s population, or three million people, were killed when the U.S. essentially burned down all of North Korea sixty-three years ago. The average American has little idea that the last Korean war was so horrendous, which explains why so many support Trump’s unprovoked threat to finish the North Koreans off.
This reality of Americans usually knowing very little about modern wars and their perpetrators was illustrated in James Loewen’s 1995 book Lies My Teacher Told Me, where he accounts many Americans’ enforced ignorance of how the Vietnam War happened. The same can now be said for how Americans remember the Iraq War, which started with the same kinds of theatrical allegations against a foreign country that we’re currently seeing around IranRussiaSyria and North Korea
Then there’s the undeclared wars against Pakistan, Iraq, Laos, and several other countries started in recent years, fought with the more than 800 American military bases around the world and the American income tax dollars that almost totally gotoward the military. These realities are kept safely out of most people’s minds, filled in with vague statements from neoconservative propagandists about the world needing American influence. Those propagandists have recently normalized perpetual war by taking the word “war” out of most mainstream foreign policy discussions, making it look like obscene militarism is an unremarkable part of how the country runs.
Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and all the others shouldn’t be thought of as separate incidents. These are parts of a singular war that the power elite has been perpetuating for around three generations, and that they’ll try to keep perpetuating for as long as possible. The task of the American anti-war movement compares to the one of those who wanted to end American slavery; we are fighting something that’s been practiced for so long that many people see it as immovable, and whose effects will keep being felt centuries after it officially goes away. But we have to fight it.
Protest has been unable to harm the workings of the war machine for a long time, as we learned when the biggest demonstrations in history couldn’t prevent the Iraq invasion. Neither has been hoping for the supposed dysfunctionality of Washington to make the power elite impotent-both parties represent neoliberalism and imperialism, making them perfectly able to work together in these areas. The way we defeat an enemy like this is by making the population intensely aware of its presence, and then intensely involved in fighting it. 
Militarism and corporatism are zombie ideologies, kept in motion by despots that ignore their lack of support from most people and the tragic future they’re bringing us toward. This makes them vulnerable, even when the opposition to them has been long forced to the margins. Exposing the details of the war machine and its propaganda methods is how we create a populous that’s engaged and mobilized in the anti-war effort, and by extension in the efforts to end fossil fuel consumption and corporate power.
Until this revolt brings drastic change, we’ll continue to be in the current situation, where Trump and the neoconservatives encouraging him could attack North Korea with a “preemptive” nuclear strike. If they do this, the planet will be dramatically changed. As tens of millions in east Asia are massacred within a few hours, nuclear rain would pummel the Korean Peninsula, toxins would flood the west coast, and a nuclear winter would settle around the world that cools the planet and drives down crop yields for years. Hopefully those damages, like the ones that have been done so far, can be reversed.