Down the Memory Hole

June 7, 2014   ww2pic6

About 14 million American and allied soldiers (including all military services) died in WW II. Of those, about a half million were Americans. Surprisingly, (to me, at least) three to four million were Chinese and over eight million were from the old Soviet Union, especially Russia.

I certainly don’t want to take away from the courage and commitment of the men whose storming of the beaches at Normandy we remembered this week – especially those who lost their lives there. But, all this week, I’ve heard how we stormed the beaches of Normandy and won the war, as if none of the sacrifices that went on before counted. Over eight million soldiers in Russia and the Soviet Union died repulsing the German push to the east; the battle of Stalingrad destroyed the best of the German Wehrmacht. Over three million Chinese soldiers died in fighting Japan’s expansion across Asia, without which we might not have survived the war  long enough to drop the atomic bombs on Japan.

But Germany and Japan are now Imperial allies, while Russia and China are on the Empire’s shit list, having apparently rebuffed our demands that we be allowed to spread “freedom and democracy” via NATO troops  missile batteries and military bases right up to their doorsteps.

We accuse China of the very same kind of spying on our corporations that our government and corporations do on China, even indicting five of their military (though, unless we are so stupid as to try and kidnap them, they will never be handed over to us for prosecution). And we have surrounded them with military bases and created the same type of imaginary monsters out of China that we have made of Russia, for the same reasons – money, oil and power.

In designating ourselves as the exceptional and indispensable nation, a shining city on a hill, chosen by God to go forth and maintain order (our version, anyway) globally, we are in danger of believing our own propaganda. We have not had a clear cut victory in any of the wars we’ve fought since “we” won WW II. Now, there are those in our military and government who have convinced themselves we can win a nuclear war with Russia and China if necessary. (Though they haven’t seemed to consider what would remain of the world they so want to rule, by “winning” such a war.)

It is never wise to base your policies on your own propaganda. The peaking of conventional oil has come and gone, the peaking of unconventional sources is just ahead, climate change is accelerating and so are its costs and, despite the illusions of a soaring stock market – pumped up by QE3 – our economy and financial structure is no more sound than it was in 2008. We are not in any shape to fight a war – economic, conventional or nuclear – with Russia and China.

And if history teaches us anything, it is that alliances shift, Empires fall and complex systems can grow or fail in ways both unexpected and non-linear. We are fools if we let these lessons of history slip down the memory hole.

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6 Responses to Down the Memory Hole

  1. Batalos says:

    The US fighted against Germany and USSR and GB, the goal being to completly destroy everyone’s economies except the American economy and to become the world superpower.
    And that was done perfectly: UK, Europe, USSR, Japan & SEA were ruined and lost many ppl (USSR alone lost about 27 million).
    Yes, USA won that war. Thts right.

    • theozarker says:

      Welcome to the blog, Batalos. Germany did a pretty good job on GB/Europe, as did GB in retaliation. We added our own damage to both Europe and Asia (especially the horrific A bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) while we suffered no damage. Then we sat back and, as “last man standing”, declared ourselves the world’s only superpower. And we’ve been raising hell around the globe to make sure we stay the only superpower every since.
      I think the 9/11 attacks were a tiny taste of the hell we’ve put other countries and people through. People around the world are getting tired of our bullying and I’m afraid 9/11 was just the beginning of payback as the American Empire declines.
      Thank you for your comments.

  2. eugene says:

    Something like 80% of German military deaths were in Russia. There is some thought that we delayed invading Europe to let Russia absorb the German army. I can understand the thought process and it sure looks that way. I believe we do believe our own propaganda. To say anything against America is close to treason. To me, the masses march blindly to whatever tune the government plays. When we invaded Libya, I watched well educated people hang on Obama’s word to learn if the war was legitimate. But then an education built around exceptionalism is hardly a test of the ability to think.

    I believe this is, or at least can be, a deadly game. Internal criticism is scarcely heard. Any country that cannot bear a negative statement is, in a sense, frozen in time and unable to adjust to new realities. If my reading of history is correct, this is the way it has been from the very beginning. We believe god had given us this land and this made us exceptional. It is a long fall from our pedestal to the real world.

    • theozarker says:

      Hey Eugene, I’ve heard that about the German army and Russia, too. Russia paid a horrible price, in both military and – especially- civilian deaths during WW II.
      I couldn’t agree more about believing our own propaganda and treating those who criticize the US here at home as traitors.
      I, too, think we’re playing a fool’s game and will pay a terrible price for our folly. No empire lasts forever and we won’t be at all prepared for the consequences of our fall because of our hubris and arrogance. I just hope we don’t destroy the whole planet in our death throes.

  3. graveday says:

    “It is never wise to base your policies on your own propaganda. ” So true, it is almost funny. Kind of a do what I say, not what I do warp. I especially like your noting the unexpected and/or non-linear things that may help or hinder. That’s about the only kind of hope I can entertain these days, that something totally unexpected moves us along in a better direction. Haven’t a clue what it could be, heh.

    • theozarker says:

      “That’s about the only kind of hope I can entertain these days, that something totally unexpected moves us along in a better direction. Haven’t a clue what it could be, heh.”

      You and me, both, brother Grave. Sigh.

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