In Memoriam, 2016, by Robert Gore

This article was first posted last year on SLL. It will be published every Memorial Day for as long as SLL continues as a website.

You don’t fight for your country, you fight for your government.

The Golden Pinnacle, by Robert Gore

On Memorial Day, America remembers and honors those who died while serving in the military. It is altogether fitting and proper to ask: for what did they die? Do the rationales offered by the military and government officials who decide when and how the US will go to war, and embraced by the public, particularly those who lose loved ones, stand up to scrutiny and analysis? Some will recoil, claiming it inappropriate on a day devoted to honoring the dead. However, it is because war is a matter of life and death, for members of the military and, inevitably, civilians, that its putative justifications be subject to the strictest tests of truth and the most probing of analyses.

Millions have marched off to war believing they were defending the US, which implies the US was under attack. Yet, setting aside for a moment Pearl Harbor and 9/11, US territory hasn’t been invaded by a foreign power since the Mexican-American War (arguably—Mexico claimed the territory it “invaded” was part of Mexico), or, if the Confederacy is considered a foreign power, the Civil War. That war ended a century-and-a-half ago, yet every US military involvement since has been justified as a defense of the US. That has gradually attenuated, in a little noted slide, to a defense of US “interests,” which is something far different.

Only one of those involvements could, arguably, have been said to have forestalled not an invasion, but a possible threat of invasion: World War II. Watching newsreel graphics of Germany’s drives across Europe, Northern Africa, and the USSR, and Japan’s across Asia and the Pacific, it was perhaps understandable that Americans believed the Axis powers would eventually come for them, especially after Pearl Harbor. However, that was a one-off attack by the Japanese to disable the US’s Pacific Fleet. To launch an invasion of the US, Japan, a smaller, less populated nation whose economy depended on imports of vital raw materials, including oil, would have had to cross the Pacific and fight the US, and undoubtedly Canada, on their home territories. The Pearl Harbor attack, provoking America’s entry into the war, proved a strategic blunder for the Japanese. An invasion would have been ludicrous. Similarly, Germany, up to its eyeballs in a two-front war, couldn’t conquer Russian winters or Great Britain across the English Channel. How was it supposed to either cross the Atlantic, or the USSR and hostile guerrillas, then the Pacific, and attack the US? That, too, would have been ludicrous.

The 9/11 attack was also a one-off. A majority of the attackers came not from a US enemy but rather a supposed ally, Saudi Arabia. They received funding and other support from people in that country and perhaps its government. A conventional war against a “state sponsor of terrorism” might have required war against Saudi Arabia; it is still not clear how involved its government was. That option was never considered. Rather, the Bush administration performed metaphysical gymnastics and launched the first war in history against a tactic: terrorism. Although the jihadists who perpetrated 9/11 were self-evidently not the vanguard of an invasion, the terrorism they employed was deemed a threat to US interests in the Middle East, and to life and property in the US. However, none of our subsequent involvements in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen have been necessary to maintain US citizens’ freedoms, the nation’s territorial integrity, or its lives and property.

There are undoubtedly many epitaphs on tombstones in this country to the effect: Here lies the deceased, who died defending America, and not one that reads: Here lies the deceased, who died defending American interests. However, the latter is in most cases more accurate than the former. Who decides the interests for which members of America’s military will die? Those considering entering the military today must look beyond the slogans, contemplate the risks of being killed, wounded, dismembered, paralyzed, or psychologically traumatized, and ask themselves: why and for whom are these risks being borne? “You don’t fight for your country, you fight for your government.” Is it worth risking one’s life for the US government?

In 1821, John Quincy Adams said America had not gone “abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” and while we wished those seeking liberty well, theirs was not our fight (see “In Search of Monsters,” SLL, 4/11/15). Since then, America has searched for monsters, found, and in some cases, destroyed them. However, as the poison of power has worked its evil on the minds and souls of those who possess it, the monsters have become more ethereal, apparitions conjured like creatures in the closet by children when they go to bed. The war on terrorism creates more terrorists, the monsters of choice since 9/11. The government still pays occasional lip service to “democratic values” and “civil liberties,” but allies itself with regimes which have no more fealty to those values and liberties than the “tyrants” the government opposes. “Defending America” and “Promoting Our Way of Life” have become transparent pretexts for American power and domination unbounded. As Adams so presciently warned, the search for monsters has turned the government itself into a monster, the biggest threat to Americans’ “inextinguishable rights of human nature.”

Those who have fought and died to defend America and its freedoms are noble beyond measure. Those who pay self-serving tribute to their valor, but make war and expend lives as means to corrupt ends are evil beyond redemption. Honor the former; expose and oppose the latter.

“YOU DON’T FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY,

YOU FIGHT FOR YOUR GOVERNMENT,” 

TGP_photo 2 FB

AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK

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12 responses to “In Memoriam, 2016, by Robert Gore

  1. A sobering, timely, and compelling reminder of the importance of CONTEXT!!!! As your work gains in recognition it will be all-the-more important to issue it annually.

    Have you read Richard Maybury’s “Uncle Eric” books, WWI and WWII?

    Dave

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  2. Yes, I have, and his “The Thousand Year War,” which is, like the World War I and World War II books, excellent. I also subscribe to his newsletter, The Early Warning Report, and he is on the SLL blogroll.

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  3. Pingback: In Memoriam, 2016 | NCRenegade

  4. I probably should have known……..

    I am curious whether TAM will publish your piece. FYI, I have forwarded a copy of it to Mark Alexander, editor of the “Patriot Post.” His site and work are much along the lines of TAM, offering the classic “out-of-context” articulation of “patriotism,” thereby potentially misleading to the reader.

    You, on the other hand, provide the context which properly reminds the reader of what is “patriotic” and that which can only be described as support of the “despotic.”

    I have also forwarded it to one Don Beezley, recipient of one of the copies of your book I gave him on his last birthday. He was a Representative in the Colorado House, and annually publishes a Memorial Day reminder. He too offers it in its proper context.

    Dave

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    • What is TAM? If it is The Appalachian Messenger, I know that NCRenegade just posted it, and David DeGerolamo runs both. So I imagine it will make TAM in the next week or two. And thanks again for distributing copies of TGP.

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  5. Pingback: Remember | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  6. Reblogged this on The way I see things … and commented:
    This is from Robert Gore, the author of The Golden Pinnacle (a book I ordered last night).

    Who are you fighting for? Me, I am fighting for my Nation because I want my three granchildren to know the same America I did!

    “There are undoubtedly many epitaphs on tombstones in this country to the effect: Here lies the deceased, who died defending America, and not one that reads: Here lies the deceased, who died defending American interests. However, the latter is in most cases more accurate than the former. Who decides the interests for which members of America’s military will die? Those considering entering the military today must look beyond the slogans, contemplate the risks of being killed, wounded, dismembered, paralyzed, or psychologically traumatized, and ask themselves: why and for whom are these risks being borne? “You don’t fight for your country, you fight for your government.” Is it worth risking one’s life for the US government?”

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  7. Pingback: In Memoriam, 2016, by Robert Gore | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC – American Hoplite

  8. Memorial Day stems from the last year of the War Between the States, when women of the Confederacy, in spring of 1865, went and decorated the graves of the dead at Bull Run, and also buried remains that had either not been previously buried, or had been exposed by hasty/incomplete burial. It was then, Decoration Day. Remember, started by Southern Women. It got picked up the next year by Northern Ladies, and every year there after. The ladies all had the decency and intelligence to know then that how a civilization treats its dead remains speaks volumes about the civilization itself. Memorial Day is not, and I say never was, about any damned dark political objective, policy, or party. It is about remembering, and grieving for, your dead. The husbands, the sons, the daughters, everyone. Caring for their resting place, remembering the loved and lost, and continuing on in life is the mark of intelligent, caring people. I reject to utter damnation all those who some how seek to make this day one full of politics, and recrimination about how govts. do all these horrible things in the quest for power and dominance. IT IS NOT ABOUT THAT. It is about the love and tenderness we all felt for those who are departed, especially in wars, and how we miss their presence, the touch of their hand, the sweet words that they once spoke. Why it has to be about dark purposes and monstrosities that happened, is wholesale bullshit. Nobody seems to know how to stick to the knitting anymore, and keep things in perspective. Memorial Day is to honor the memory of our dead. If no one is able to do that anymore, at least I guess I can. Do we not also remember those who have passed in other circumstances? The murdered, those who died of disease, accidents, or simply old age? The children who died as infants? Some times I truly believe that most everyone in this country is insane. Leave off with all the politics, and the blaming and the insults. Grow up, and understand when you look on that grave, with the fresh flowers there, the sun shining, that ere long, you too will be in the same place. Rounded with a little sleep. I wonder at night when after I say my prayers, why G*d does not come down and just destroy us all, because we have grown ungrateful for the life we get, and carping always about our lot.

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    • I said in my first paragraph that it was fitting and proper to ask: for what did those we honor die? You disagree. I respect your opinion and I thank you for expressing it here.

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    • Sean: I wish to respectfully reply to your, among other things, thoughtful reminder(s) of that which you reminded us.

      Is it not important to also remind us of why we find ourselves having to engage in such somber and sad “remembrance?” Is it not of even greater importance to try to understand what led to such brutality, carnage, injustice, and destruction, while remembering those who lost “all” in the conflagration?

      Robert’s powerful and poignant reminder of such things is his attempt to “never forget.” To never forget what are the seeds of such an awful harvest, as we once again, in the continually-to-be-planted garden, select seeds that will germinate and grow, only to again be harvested at some future date? Seeds selected as our founders attempted to do, or seeds that had begun their planting following that awful harvest of 1861 – 1865? Seeds, increasingly planted since?

      Memorial Day is NOT something that mankind should look upon with anything but abhorrence. Abhorrence at the tragic events that will again be harvested when using the same “tried and true” seeds and fertilizer, though in the expression of annual “anguish,” somehow expecting a different harvest!

      To simply limit the context to the observance and recognition for those who lost their lives, without regard for the causal relationships that led to it, amounts to feigned humanity cloaked in deception.

      One’s actual “humanity” on behalf of the rights of Man, should it exist in one’s heart and mind, deserves better understanding than mere symbolism only.

      Respectfully,

      Dave

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