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Are Afghanistan and Iraq Our Vietnam? English Professor Discusses War, American Responsibilty and Capitalism

by msuopinion on October 8, 2009

Our country continues to commit naked aggression in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hitler had more justification — a serious territorial dispute — for invading Poland in 1939. The Soviet Union had far more justification for invading Afghanistan in 1979: a CIA-supported anti-Soviet rebellion on its borders.

The world, including the U.S. government, rightly considers these events to have been illegal acts of aggression. By the same standard the American aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan has even less excuse.

American aggression has killed — “murdered” is the more accurate word — a million Iraqis and Afghanis.

The American government has revived Nazi-style torture. It uses hired mercenaries with a license to murder local citizens for any reason without fear of court-martial

The lie used to “justify” the invasion of Iraq – that Saddam Hussein was supporting the 9/11 terrorists and had nuclear weapons – has long since been exploded in the Downing Street Memo.

That the US invasion is to “defend” Americans is another sick lie. The opposite is the case.

Tens of millions of ordinary people in the Middle East and elsewhere now hate the U.S. They are right to do so. Americans would hate any country whose military did to the U.S. what our forces have done to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The world knows the real reason for these invasions. US oil companies, financiers and the US government which they, not we, control, want control over Middle East petroleum. Not to help American consumers but to gain ever higher profits and to blackmail their competitors in Europe, China and Japan who depend on imported oil.

American soldiers are killing, being killed, being maimed or “only” losing years of income and years away from their families.

All this so that the obscenely rich can become even richer while the working population pays for it all in blood, unemployment, lower living standards and debt.

According to Adolf Hitler, “patriotism” demanded that German citizens support whatever atrocities the German government wanted.

Today Americans are constantly told, “Patriotism means supporting the US government and military no matter what atrocities they commit.”

It was fascist when Hitler said it. It is fascist when American “conservatives” or “liberals” say it. Don’t fall for the “patriotism” hype.

Google “Iraq” and “Vietnam.” Why so many hits? Because these wars show great similarities.

I have taught a course on the Vietnam War for 25 years.

I designed that course mainly to try to understand that war myself. A number of articles in The Montclarion have outlined what I learned

Iraq and Afghanistan are YOUR Vietnam!

When I was in college, most of the soldiers and veterans of the Vietnam War were my age, many of them my friends or classmates, just as the Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers and veterans are yours, today.

There was a huge antiwar movement among American soldiers during the Vietnam War — a movement whose history has been suppressed. Many American soldiers did what they could to protest the war and to undermine the war effort. Some antiwar veterans organized into Vietnam Veterans Against the War, or VVAW.

Today the U.S. mass media are much more tightly controlled than during Vietnam. Journalists are “embedded,” controlled by the military, prevented from getting stories that contradict US military and government propaganda. Still, the truth is getting through.

Remember Pat Tillman? Before he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004, he had decided the U.S. invasion was “f***ing illegal.”

Today veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars who see how evil these wars are and how cruelly they themselves have been used by the US government join groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans Against the Iraq War. Their families join Military Families Speak Out .

“Capitalism” — Not Just the Michael Moore Film

Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story, has made it respectable, for once, to name the reason for these horrendous wars.

Capitalism is based on exploitation. A few employers and financiers profit off the labor of everybody else.

Capitalism also leads to imperialism: the extension of exploitation, and its accompanying mass murder, around the world. All to make the rich richer by making the rest of us as poor as they can make us.

This is what our soldiers — our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, relatives, friends and classmates — are fighting for. Let the rich get richer, and let the rest work, get poorer, and die.

Capitalism is also the reason for, and cause of, poverty, homelessness, poor education, unemployment, the recent financial crisis and much more.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The history of the 20th century is in large part the record of the struggles of working people to get rid of imperialism and of capitalism.

The communist movement made great efforts towards those goals. It is because of its successes that the apologists for capitalism lie so furiously about its history while whitewashing their own.

This movement for a better, more egalitarian world ultimately failed. That’s no reason to despair. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Chattel slavery existed for thousands of years. The “experts” thought it was eternal. Capitalism has been accurately called “wage-slavery.” It too will go down as a dark page in human history.

It’s up to us — and especially to you, the youth of America and of the world — to struggle for this end.

Grover Furr

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