Last night I attended a screening of the veterans’ documentary WHAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW. After garnering the audience favorite award at last summer’s Maine International Film Festival the film attracted sponsors including peace organizations I belong to that worked to bring the film to more audiences here in Maine. Attendance at the November 13 screening in Brunswick was sparse — about 20 people — but an engaging discussion after the film was facilitated by veterans’ counselor Robyn Belcher.

Archival footage of the wars the U.S. waged in Afghanistan and Iraq following 9/11 was interspersed with contemporary interviews of multiple veterans of those wars. Organized loosely by chronology of the enlistees’ journeys from private citizens to imperial cannon fodder, the narrative arrived at moral injury — a final resting place where one veteran predicted he will still be dwelling decades from now.

The film’s theme is futility and the sensation that all the limbs and lives lost, plus the civilians terrorized or slaughtered, was for nothing. Several clips of a succession of U.S. presidents speaking conveyed the lies that combat veterans now believe they were told in the course of their enlistment. 

This photo and the one at the top are stills from the film’s website.

There was no clear mission and, once in country, soldiers literally drove around in circles waiting for their turn to be blasted by an IED. They arrested the wrong men, they shot blindly into crowds of civilians, and in their view absolutely nothing was gained.

Ostensible reasons for being there i.e. bringing “democracy” or advancing the rights of women were quickly exposed as fraudulent. Insurgents had the support and loyalty of the people, and woe betide those who threw in with the occupying forces as interpreters only to be cast aside as the U.S. military departed. These acts of disloyalty contributed to the moral suffering described by veterans, and to the moral decay in evidence as soldiers whoop and congratulate themselves on shooting down from helicopters onto unarmed civilians.

U.S. soldier Steven Green hung himself in prison after being among a group of soldiers convicted of rape and murder committed in Mahmoudiyah, Iraq in 2006.  Photograph: AP

The film has a tight focus but I thought there were some glaring omissions in the moral injury department. No discussion of rape except in the context of Afghan warlords and their exploitation of boys? Really? Who can forget the gang-rape and murder of 14 year old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi by U.S. Army soldiers who then killed her entire family in order to eliminate the witnesses. 

And why was there no discussion of opium production in Afghanistan used to fund the war while driving an opioid epidemic in the West until the Taliban again eradicated it after the occupiers departed? Plenty of veterans have died of suicide by overdose in the intervening years.

Suicide was touched on as it’s well known that more active duty soldiers die in “accidents” or by their own hand than die from enemy fire. Soldiers described feeling betrayed by their leaders and demoralized by the things they both saw and did while deployed, a potent combination that eroded their will to stay alive.

Most of the audience discussion focused on damaged vets and how to help them help themselves. I have to admit that was not my focus as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in situations like this. Why not celebrate the fact that largely because of their suffering the will to enlist in the U.S. military is at an all time low? Even military families, traditionally the best source of volunteers, are telling their younger generations not to enlist. Decades of war for profit with dishonor have gutted what was once a proud military that believed in its mission (however deluded that notion might have been). 

The U.S. imperial mission in Ukraine and now in Israel have been spectacular failures that the government and its obedient press are still lying about today. Those in the know understand that Ukraine could not beat or even weaken Russia, and that Israel cannot win against Hamas, Hezbollah, and Resistance coalitions coming together to fight them and their U.S. sponsor. Attacks on illegal U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq are reported almost daily. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands in the U.S. and millions across the globe continue marching to demand an end to the genocide happening right now to Palestinians.

Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza Strip, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The long downfall in morale that began with the Vietnam War has proven far more enduring than freedom.

Cheerleading For WW3: Biden’s Speech

“Geneva October 14, 2023. [Fabrice Coffrini/AFP]”
Source: Aljazeera “Tens of thousands rally around the world in solidarity with Palestine”

It’s taken me a minute to respond to Biden’s recent speech cheerleading for WW3 because I was busy presenting a webinar on U.S. pipe dreams of Full Spectrum Dominance and out in the streets several times this week demonstrating support for Gaza. 

Back on the original bridge I went to in Skowhegan, my husband and I were amazed at the outpouring of support expressed by passing motorists. At times, the honking was continuous. We haven’t stood in that particular spot since 2020 and the public’s mood has clearly changed. 

Or maybe, as some suggested, the response was due to it being the day after Biden’s warmongering speech?

At first I thought I’d go through his speech and highlight the lies. But if Biden’s lips are moving he is probably lying, so it would be more efficient to highlight any discernible truths in what the teleprompter told him to say.

Remarks by President Biden on the United States’ Response to Hamas’s Terrorist Attacks Against Israel and Russia’s Ongoing Brutal War Against Ukraine (Adjectives are working overtime in this title but the biggest lie is the inversion: Israel has been attacking civilians in Gaza non-stop, and NATO’s war on Russia via Ukraine has indeed been brutal for the half a million Ukrainians used as cannon fodder.)

October 20, 2023
  Good evening, my fellow Americans.  We’re facing an inflection point in history — one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come.  That’s what I’d like to talk with you about tonight. 
You know, earlier this morning, I returned from Israel.  They tell me I’m the first American president to travel there during a war. (While in office Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump all visited Israel, a country perpetually at war with its neighbors.)
I met with the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet.  And most movingly, I met with Israelis who had personally lived through horrific horror of the attack by Hamas on the 7th of October. 
More than 1,300 people slaughtered in Israel, (Passive voice, but the preceding sentence pins this on Hamas. In fact, survivor testimony indicates witnessing Israel’s military mowing down Israelis.) 

“Yasmin Porat, a survivor of the bloodshed at Kibbutz Be’eri, near the boundary with Gaza, says many Israeli civilians were killed by Israeli forces.” Source: Electronic Intifada

On October 7th, terror attacks have triggered deep scars and terrible memories in the Jewish community. (Many Jewish people, survivors like Dr. Gabor Mate, have expressed disgust with using the Holocaust as an excuse to steal land from the Palestinians.)

Today, Jewish families worried about being targeted in school, wearing symbols of their faith walking down the street, or going out about their daily lives. (Israel’s role as an apartheid state claiming to represent Judaism endangers Jewish people everywhere.)

Source: Unusual Whales

I’ll leave you with a voice of reason, Economics Professor Michael Hudson (his full interview on the Rumble channel New Rules can be seen here):