Home > Miscellaneous Debris, Polemics, War > History’s Lessons for Today

History’s Lessons for Today

Recently I’ve been thinking about this war in Iraq and what it is getting us. I’ve been seeing the reports from both sides saying we are making progress, and Hell is coming to the Earth. 4,000 plus dead soldiers line coffins, and many many more sit in hospital beds injured (and that’s just U.S. American soldiers). The war bill continues to grow. Still I hear progress has been made and anything short of victory is impossible to consider. I whisper the thought in my head, “Only if I knew what VICTORY was…” At these times I think of history’s lessons. I think of people who spelled-out the teachings for us to follow so we are not in situations like Iraq. I give you only two of the many who have WARNED us.

On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the people of the United States. In it he spoke of many things. Probably the most famous and relevant at this time was:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

If we ask ourselves, “Has the United States government lived up to this?” We must answer, NO!” Bush’s Iraq War shows us that might is not right, and diplomacy can never take a back seat. What would Eisenshower be thinking right now? How would he be governing this situation? So many questions to ask. Why did we not heed this warning?

I turn to an author who gives historical and literary perspective of war.

Dalton Trumbo, author of “Johnny Got His Gun.”

He wrote such a terrifyingly vivid account about the aftermath of war that it still haunts me to this day. Here are a couple of excerpts:

“He thought here you are Joe Bonham lying like a side of beef all the rest of your life and for what? Somebody tapped you on the shoulder and said come along son we’re going to war. So you went.”

“He was the future he was a perfect picture of the future and they were afraid to let anyone see what the future was like. Already they were looking ahead they were figuring the future and somewhere in the future they saw war. To fight that war they would need men and if men saw the future they wouldn’t fight. So they were masking the future they were keeping the future a soft quiet deadly secret. They knew that if all the little people all the little guys saw the future they would begin to ask questions. They would ask questions and they would find answers and they would say to the guys who wanted them to fight they would say you lying thieving sons-of-bitches we won’t fight we won’t be dead we will live we are the world we are the future and we will not let you butcher us no matter what you say no matter what speeches you make no matter what slogans you write. Remember it well we we we are the world we are what makes it go round we make bread and cloth and guns we are the hub of the wheel and the spokes and the wheel itself without us you would be hungry naked worms and we will not die. We are immortal we are the sources of life we are the lowly despicable ugly people we are the great wonderful beautiful people of the world and we are sick of it we are utterly weary we are done with it forever and ever because we are the living and we will not be destroyed.”

Check out this link for the book’s “Introduction/Addendum: 1970.” They are extraordinarily powerful.

As I said earlier, I could list politicians, writers, actors, scientists, etc. who WARN us against the trappings of war offering better solutions, and vivid depictions of what is the ultimate future after war. Where are we after years and years of war? How can George Bush sound the cry against Iran, North Korea, Syria, and other nations when he has ordered the very atrocities he apparently deplores? Is this not another WARNING of what is to come?

  1. April 30, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Fear & Ego is a dangerous combination to have. And when you throw in an unhealthy dose of Stupidity, well, one can’t really be surprised as to what’s transpired over the past 8 or so years.

    The real question that people should be asking is where the blame really lies. Do you blame Bush? He’s just being himself, and his pre-Presidential history was widely documented before his election. Do you blame Gore and the Democrats, who choked like Chris Webber in the Final Four? Do you blame the American public for re-electing him, or do you blame the Democrats for not having a strong enough candidate? Or do you blame daddy Bush, for not taking Dubya out into the woods and pulling a ‘Cheney’ on him? Perhaps it’s pointless to even pose the question; things are so out of hand that there’s little time for finger pointing.

    The only thing I do know is that it’s not over yet.

  2. April 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Dear Andrew,

    The answer is, All of the Above. You can make the claim that it’s all important. I think the Dems needed more balls. They didn’t bring anything to the table against this guy. The ones who did stand up and say ‘NO’ to him were ostracized and drowned out. The unfortunate thing is that because of that initial miscalculation (lack of balls) people had to vote for troop funding otherwise we would be having another Vietnam. The troops are doing their jobs. You either bring them home or you have to fund them. Can’t leave them out to dry because of political bullshit.

    It’s not over yet, but I can only hold my breath for so long. And if the next guy, or gal thinks they can withdraw and clean up the overall mess in 4 years, think again. The collective lack of will power will take at least 8 years, if not more to “fix.”

    Thanks for the commentary.


  1. April 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

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