Americans certainly love war. Most will deny having those feelings, they will instead talk about warfare as a means of protecting freedom, spreading democracy or fighting tyrants. The end result of course is mass death, mostly of people in far away and non-white lands, but also of significant numbers of Americans. The carnage is usually downplayed in favor of worshipping those who go to kill and perhaps be killed themselves. This twisted dynamic is most visible when anyone dares to question the narrative of exceptionalism and benevolent warriors.
All of this sickness was recently resurrected when The Atlantic published an article written by Jeffrey Goldberg which alleged that Donald Trump skipped a visit to a World War I cemetery in France saying that it was full of “suckers.” He is also said to have called the late John McCain a “loser.” None of these alleged statements are surprising. If they are true, they prove what anyone who has observed Trump already knows. He has no empathy, isn’t very smart and has gotten away with being a vulgar, boorish, blowhard his entire life. The result is a man with no filter who says out loud what other people think but keep to themselves.
Who actually treated U.S. troops like suckers and losers? We can start with the most recent invasion of another country. In 2003, President George W. Bush, his vice president, Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and a rogue’s gallery of pundits and politicians all made the case for invading and occupying Iraq. The claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction was chosen as the ruse most likely to get traction with the public. Colin Powell was the most prominent cheerleader with his infamous performance at the United Nations. Using photos of trucks purporting to be mobile weapons labs and a vial that represented non-existent anthrax, he gave cover to the war of aggression.
The Bush administration was joined by Democrats like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, who thought that support for war would enhance their future presidential campaigns. Jeffrey Goldberg, author of the current exposé, was among the pundit/propagandists who pushed for war against Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Goldberg is a former Israeli Defense Force member and prison guard of Palestians. Along with other media personalities, he fabricated stories about Saddam Hussein being in league with al Qaeda, the dreaded villains ever since the attacks on September 11, 2001. The irony of a man who himself treated Iraq war veterans as “suckers” has been lost on the Trump focused outrage industry.
Goldberg is a war propagandist in the truest sense of that term. He worked very closely not only with the Bush administration but Barack Obama’s as well. He is a pseudo journalist who is in fact a spokesperson for presidents and a conduit of information between the United States and Israeli governments.
Trump’s foot in mouth disease presents an opportunity to change the narrative about war, military service and the way they are portrayed in the establishment narrative. The suckers were always those who could not get out of military service when there was still a draft. George W. Bush used his father’s connections to vault to the top of a 500-man waiting list to join the Texas Air National Guard, a well known means of avoiding Vietnam. Having joined, Bush simply stopped showing up before his service commitment ended, but he never went to Vietnam. Mission accomplished for Bush and other men of privilege.
If we are going to talk about military suckers let’s talk about the poverty draft, about the young men and women who join when they can’t find work. They succumb to desperation and to the half-truths and outright lies told by military recruiters. Veterans are more likely to end up unemployed or homeless or victims of suicide than the general population. Losers indeed.
Trump’s impulsive outbursts cannot be used as the basis for opposition. This non-story has been given undue importance because it is yet another example of election propaganda substituting for real policy differences. Of course, the two parties are going through their quadrennial version of professional wrestling. The villains are fake and so are the heroes. The public are also treated like dupes as so-called journalists with agendas rig the game in favor of the fake hero. There are a multitude of reasons to oppose Donald Trump. No one should join this latest ginned up mass hysteria because Democrats and their minions in elite media engage in misdirection. Anyone who falls into this trap may be the biggest sucker of all.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.