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Lockheed Martin Joint Strike FighterGlobal Arms Sales
Photo Credit: The Guardian (Associated Press)


Beginning in August 2014 and as recent as Friday, October 3, four videos have been posted online purportedly showing the beheading of two American journalists and two British aid workers by hooded members of the new Islamic State (IS), a caliphate previously known as ISIS and ISIL. American and British leaders have termed these acts “barbaric.”

Are these publicly orchestrated executions intended to provoke the USA and Britain? If so, they have succeeded. The United States has now extended its war in the Middle East. A war without end.

Since 2500 BCE, occupying what was once the cradle of civilization, the enemy we label as “barbaric” and “evil” have survived the rise and fall of great empires. (See Forty Maps of Middle East History.) We are waging war in their homelands. They’re in this fight for the long haul. Another protracted war could be the undoing of our war-weary nation.

To respond to barbarism with military force is yet another act of barbarism. War is barbaric. Nick Nurses’ book, Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, published last year, reveals the barbarism of warfare and America’s own barbarism, or “acts of depravity” as we prefer to describe them.

In warfare, we transform our sons and daughters on the front lines into robotic, killing machines. A former Marine Corps officer and Vietnam veteran makes this ever so clear in his personal essay, “Don’t Thank Me for My Service.” It’s worth reading.

We humans have used our intelligence to create weapons of mass destruction and mass suffering. The global arms industry and military services companies are highly lucrative operations. America’s Lockheed Martin tops the list worldwide (Trends in World Military Expenditures 2013, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). These corporate leaders are the only winners in warfare.

In his 1987 poem, “Am I dead or alive?” another Vietnam veteran and blogger “John Coyote” shares his inner turmoil (an excerpt):

Please children don’t walk with me.
I’m the killer.
The supporter of the rich man.
The supporter of war for profit…

War is not peace.
War is the killing of human kindness.

Ignorant of the factors fueling conflict in the Middle East and other regions outside of our borders – our leaders and media feed us half-truths and fabrications – we in the USA fail to see the role we play in nurturing and perpetuating the evil we strive to purge.

Evil resides within each one of us. We can continue to give it expression in our barbaric acts, or we can choose to be inclusive, cooperative, and compassionate.

It’s time for the United Nations to free itself from the shackles of the rich and powerful and live up to its Charter (1945) to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind