A train on fire - America's waning empire

By Jamie Wendland


"This train is on fire and we have nothing to reap anymore.
This train is on fire and we have nowhere else to run.
This land was ours before we got bogged down in war.
She will die if it is a tie; it is time to return to the land itself."

Boris Grebenshikov- Train on Fire

True wisdom transcends cultures, national borders, language and even time itself.  While yes, wisdom includes the ability to learn from experience, it also recognizes that the fundamental flaws of humanity are universal. Wisdom must also grow frustrated with the foolish, who believe that certain nations are unique or special. The foolish who believe, therefore, that a particular people are immune from these intrinsic human natures or repeating errors of history.

People like the great songwriter Boris Grebenshikov have wisdom. They know that most events are not unique to nations, but rather universal human traits. Artists such as Mr. Grebenshikov do not record the events merely as topical entertainment. These songs, poems and books are also cautions to future generations, as not to repeat them. This is why a songwriter thousands of miles away in a completely different culture, while relating events of another warrior nation of another era, could very well be describing America of 2012.

The USA is a train on fire, in love with war; so puffed with ignorant, patriotic pride that it is unaware it's careening out of control, on a destination of complete self destruction.

The danger lies when war becomes a way of life and an accepted part of national culture. All aggression is redefined as somehow a justifiable defensive act.  The only time the US was actually attacked by an aggressor was by Japan in December of 1941, but they sanitize all of their aggressive actions as a "pre-emptive" defensive, instead of the offensive acts of war they really are. 

"We gave birth to the sound of marching."

Present day America is so entangled in this intimate affair with military might that even newborns, wearing adorable camouflage jumpers adorned with "US Special Forces," suckle war from birth. War is everywhere in this culture, and the acceptance is so internalized that the romanticism is hardly even questioned anymore.  

Glorification of militarism is present in virtually every store, petrol station, and pub and television commercial break. Even American churches "support the troops" and their murderous conquests. Through posters, fundraising canisters and even commercial packaging, Americans are reminded of the great sacrifice by their patriotic troops. Returning and active soldiers are held in such high regard, it's a small wonder there is little shortage of young new recruits.

Liberals who claim to oppose these Imperialist wars are not immune to this seduction either. Quick to attach soldiers to any cause they possibly can, activists are actually glorifying the creation of the very warriors whose action they claim to oppose.  You would be hard pressed to observe any protest without liberals dragging along a few Veterans. The American liberal waves around Veterans far more than even the "pro-war" conservatives these same people claim to scorn.

They're always quick to point out that one in four of American homeless are veterans, so society therefore, must be unfair to veterans. The issue of the homeless is a national disgrace for anyone to suffer, but the high percentage of veterans simply means that more Americans overall are veterans and more of them are also homeless.

Liberals are essentially requesting special housing privileges for  homeless veterans when they should be demanding an end to the wars which created both.  When all of a nation's resources are paying for war, the very conditions which create homelessness can never be addressed. 

"A range of burning torches, gathering all the dead parts."

To Americans today, there no longer even exist such things as the "horrors of war;" Injuries and deaths so gruesome and terrible that any person of moral conscience would be moved to action in order to prevent them, casualties so staggering and profound that a reasonable leader of any nation would be motivated to wage wars very judiciously.

Improved body armor and equipment has reduced US fatal casualties to roughly 9% in the war against phantoms in Afghanistan. Yes, lower fatalities are desirable, but only to an extent, and survivability doesn't necessarily equate to an absolute advancement in humane warfare.  What about the quality of life for the victims of injuries so severe that in the past very few, if any, would have survived?

Obama's escalation of the war not only quadrupled American deaths but also resulted in over an additional 17,000 permanently and severely injured American troops.

Seventeen-thousand, so maimed by war that any decent human would recoil in disgust and demand an end to such atrocities. But such is American romanticism of military that they glorify these injuries through insulting Facebook memes, actually celebrating the simple achievements of the needlessly disfigured. Limbs and faces blown to bits are not inspirational; they are revolting, disgusting reminders of what uncivilized barbarians this nation has become.

Blinded by shrapnel, this person is a jawless torso confined to an institution for the rest of their life because of war. They weren't born this way; this is no unfortunate biological abnormality that they have overcome. It is not beautiful symbolism of human spirit that this person has now learned to tap Morse code with their head.

But there isn't any horror. There is only another patriotic fighter of the American way, embracing his child with the cold steel of artificial arms. Isn't it heartwarming?

The American view of innocent civilian death by these wars is repulsively heartless. One Democratic Party supporter of terrorist drone attacks summarized the attitude well during a rare media discussion of this merciless atrocity, even against children; "The important point is, there are no four year old American children being killed."                                                  

"We believe that life is a battle."

Every reasonable person understands that war is an occasional reality for nearly every nation.  Civilized people acknowledge the brutality, human cost and repercussions of military action. It's reserved as the final option for extreme cases of defense from an aggressor, or a last extreme measure when the peace and security of the nation is threatened.

When members of the military command more reverence than a minister or priest, a nation is in trouble. For the US, military action is now a way of life and no longer needs any justification or explanation. It is rarely met with a raised brow. War consumes the media, entertainment, and the economy and dominates politics above all other priorities, domestic and foreign.

Historically, as an end result, perpetual war is counterproductive for a nation, empire and people. On this course the US will either spend itself to death on Imperialist expansion, or threaten the peace of so many other nations that it can no longer be tolerated. But eventually, through its own actions, America will strangle itself by its own hand.  The US, as a wise songwriter of another land, language and era noted of another foolish empire, is, in the end, really about to defeat only itself.

Jamie Wendland 

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov