Silence the drums

The guided bomb unit-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb prototype is shown in a weapons test moments before impact. The detonation created a mushroom cloud that could be seen 20 miles away. March 11, 2003. In the public domain. Author: U.S. Air Force

by Kathie MM

Uh, oh,  the war drums are echoing around this country, as bombs drop in Syria and Iraq, in Yemen, and horrifyingly with the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan.

My response to the beating of those war drums is to urge you to read and share this excerpt from an essay by Anthony J. Marsella on total war.  Scroll down for the excerpt.  You can find the complete essay here.


“It is WRONG — morally, ethically, legally — for any nation or people to pursue political, economic, and/or cultural interests, security, and safety by openly or insidiously imposing on any other nation or people, a form of political, economic, culture (e.g., values, religion, language), and/or military invasion, occupation, and control, serving to colonize, oppress, and dominate this nation or people by any and all means which limit their rights, liberties, and freedom of self-determination.

“These are my words; but THEY are not words solely of my making. These words, and the thoughts they embody and represent, appear in timeless historical documents inspired by many noble sources, including: (1) Founding documents of nations (e.g., Declaration of Independence); (2) Global organization statements (Universal Declarations of Human Rights – UDHR); (3) Statements of human aspirations for justice, dignity, freedom (e.g., The Montpelier Manifesto; Magna Carta, Gettysburg Address); (4) Liberation leaders and writers (e.g., Martin Luther Ling, Jr., Frederick Douglas, Paulo Freire, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Malcom X, Susan B. Anthony, Franz Fanon); and (5) Scores of anti-war and anti-violence advocates, who have sacrificed their lives in service to humanity and life.

“The coda speaks to the timeless human impulse for self-determination, and to resist oppression.  At the heart of the coda is an abiding determination to resist domination by foreign powers seeking to subdue, subjugate, and eliminate resistance, by any and all means. This domination strategy is known as “total war.”   

“Total War”

“Total War” is not restricted to the USA. It is a timeless strategy designed to defeat a targeted population through the use of any and all means. While “Total War” may initially give priority to military warfare over destruction of civilian and civil society survival needs, it can, however, easily morph into ethnic cleansing, mass extermination, and genocide. Recall how early American settlers and the USA engaged in the extermination Native American Indians via small pox infestations, starvation, famine, assassinations of leaders, uprooting of homelands, and punitive forced marches.  Consider also the tragic consequences of USA “total war” on Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Middle-East nations.”

by Anthony J. Marsella

When you read these powerful words, what do you want to do?  The US has shown humanitarian impulses in the past, thereby strengthening rather than weakening national security–as in helping the AXIS nations rebuild after World War II. Recently, a bipartisan group of Congressmen have petitioned Trump to put on the brakes regarding his planned expansion of war in Yemen and there are hunger strikers at UN headquarters.




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4 Responses to Silence the drums

  1. Dear Kathie MM,
    Sometimes I wonder how we can all be expected to go on with business as usual for even a minute after hearing of such things as the dropping of the “mother” of all bombs. Or the dropping of missiles so transparently scheduled to yield political gain and defuse the investigation into Trump’s Russian connections.

    Perhaps, as Chris Hedges advises, we must immediately make ourselves ungovernable.
    For even a dictator, or a murderous leader, needs compliant followers. We can surely deny that to Mr. Trump.

    Alice LoCicero

  2. Tim says:

    From my friend George, a British expat who keeps in touch with his relatives “across the pond” with his own occasional updates. Some readers my take exception with his last comment (broadly echoed for left to right) but for the most part he is spot on. It should be noted that this was penned after the cruise missile strike but before the MOAB yesterday- but he presciently predicts it.:

    “Hi All,

    The default conversation on both sides of the pond when there’s nothing else to talk about is the weather. Few of us have had to resort to weather discussions since last November. Politics has provided much more interesting, albeit fraught, conversations. That continues to be the case in New England as we come out of hibernation and embrace spring’s damp approach.

    Yesterday’s airstrike on Syria reminds us that Trump should not be taken literally, but seriously. Disregarding his isolationist rhetoric, he has jumped into a country and region he fulminated against becoming entangled in. Trump’s response to Bashar Assad’s chemical attacks on his own people was proportional and appropriate; his mercurial and unpredictable behavior is not. Barack Obama made a mistake by not responding to Assad’s use of chemical weapons. But in fairness when he asked the Republican dominated congress to approve military action against Syria they refused. Obama’s instinct that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war,” as Churchill put it, was and is correct.

    There are a couple of reasons for concern over Trump’s unilateral action. Most importantly is Trump’s careless relationship with the truth. Can he be believed when he claims to act based on “vital national security interest” (which by the way was the legal justification for the attack)? I have my doubts. For those of you who follow this newsletter closely, you may be interested to know that there has been a recent spike in presidential porkies. In his first 54 days in office his average was 4 a day, at 77 days his average has grown to 4.7 a day. Wow. I can’t help but wonder if he’s turning the Rose Garden into a pig farm.

    With a confused and incoherent foreign policy, one that praises Putin and Assad one moment only to be at odds with them the next is dangerous. While he’s decimating the State Department, and thus withdrawing from engagement with the rest of the world, he wants to spend $54 billion more on the Pentagon. He then unleashes about $60 million of cruise missiles on a country he has repeatedly said we should avoid any military conflict with.

    Many people have spoken of Trump’s “transactional” nature, that he sees a “win” as a step forward, another “win” as two steps forward and so-on. He wants to win and be admired for doing so. But the art of foreign affairs is very different from the art of the real estate deal. Disengaging from diplomacy just because it’s not going well is not an option. One cannot just pick up ones marbles and go home as one might if a deal to buy a casino was going south. Short-term wins on the world stage without considering the long-term effects will lead to disaster.

    Rulers have used foreign entanglements for millennia to distract their citizens’ attention from domestic matters. This is by no means a new play in the political handbook. Failures in Trump’s domestic agenda, and continuing media attention to the possible Russian involvement in the presidential election will now take a back seat to events in the middle-east for a while. He wants, and needs, a distraction as much as he wants a win.

    While I would argue that 20 to 30 cruise missiles rather than 59 would have been enough to make a strong statement to Assad, and cost the US taxpayer far less, I think Trump’s action in Syria was correct. However, I can’t help but wonder if it was a cynical opportunistic distractive political move. My greatest concern is that now he’s experienced the opiate of approbation that military action brings, it will not be long before he once again bounds across the Potomac to open up the Pentagon’s toy box again to get another fix.

    Until the next time.


  3. Barbara says:

    I sought out Anthony Marsella’s complete essay and found in his conclusion a stunning (literally and figuratively) summary of this country’s disgraceful and dishonorable political stance. Here is what he says:
    “This article is part of a continuing series of publications I have authored on critiques and commentaries of USA foreign relations strategies, policies, and tactics.
    I have contended the USA is engaged in immoral, unethical, and illegal actions, including war, invasion, occupation, and exploitation of foreign nations and people
    toward the promotion of [USA] global dominance, control, and supremacy.”

  4. Linda Dupre' says:

    Taking Mr. Trump seriously is indeed good advice. It has been my thinking for years that we should get out of the Middle East and now my fear is that our President’s distraction action will keep us there for many more years to come. Continued war has its obvious consequences, and myriad others that are not immediately evident.

    I agree that 59 cruise missiles is overkill, and as Dr. Anthony Marsella states in his essay, our country is engaging in immoral, unethical, and illegal actions. We have the right to defend our nation, but in an ethical way, not to overtake and impose our will on others.

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