In Memoriam, 2021, by Robert Gore

This article was first posted on Straight Line Logic on Memorial Day, 2015. 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.

21 responses to “In Memoriam, 2021, by Robert Gore

  1. Pingback: In Memoriam, 2021, by Robert Gore — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC – uwerolandgross

  2. Pingback: In Memoriam, 2021, by Robert Gore | NC Renegades

  3. Excellent and perceptive article Sir. Further to, I submit the following.
    The Arabs refer to us as “The Great Satan”, because we are.
    The Defense department is without a doubt the WAR DEPARTMENT.
    Without a real enemy to defend against, they manufacture an imaginary one, as with the current Russia, Russia Russia bogey man with rthe evil Putin at the helm. Keep the NATO funding flowing.
    Iraq and Lyabia were both a vitrual paradise, as their government was the most ideal. Benevelent dictatorship with lots of money. No different than Kuwait or the Saudi Arabia.
    Madeline Albright was on camera with 60 minutes and asked what she thought about us killing 500,000 children in Iraq. “Regretable but necessary”, she said on camera!
    Afghan DEBACLE has been going on now for 20 years for one reason only. The only asset they had that we could steal was not any oil, but the heroin, which the CIA has been controlling with production ramped to the max.
    Same as Vietnam, a war manufactured on a HOAX, to run guns in and dope out.
    Photos of the Marines guarding the poppy fields in the Afghan debacle are out there, and the cash is split with the local war lords.
    First rule is to follow the money, as always.
    The Military Industrial Congressional complex gets the cash to the max for ever more War making goodies.
    The bought and paid for Congress critters should be wearing NASCAR style coveralls with the corporate logos on them so we can see who owns them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert, I’m curious why you require an email to comment?


    • That’s the WordPress requirement, I have no control over it. I would just let people comment if it were up to me.


  5. william williams

    “If we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future….”

    Secretary of State of the USA, from a family currently using the name “Albright”


  6. More on the same subject..millions dead or wounded for what?…..


  7. Robert, excellent as always; and as a veteran of Vietnam – you know, the guys who fought with one hand tied behind their backs, blindfolded, with D.C. controlled shock collar – I’ve read this post every Memorial Day and will continue to, as long as you post. (along with the rest!) And remember – the Untidy States .gov are the critters who came up with “rules of engagement” back then, the best example of stupidity ever… ‘rules’ for war and warfighters
    – you have to take fire BEFORE you can commence fire… I have news for our erstwhile ‘masters’… not then, not now, not ever again – the warfighters make the rules. Kill them all, the Lord knows His own.


  8. I’m not fond of being reminded how I was duped, (line doggy in VN), but the wisdom derived from that experience is payment enough, I suppose. I say suppose like a man who has been decked by fists, and answers “I suppose” to the beaters question about not continuing. This all has benefits, to survivors and learners, and those are well known. On Memorial day I reflect on those young guys in my outfit whose lives ended, that they saw no more dawns, sired no more children, lived and breathed no more of life’s pleasures, or pains. To some one who has fought for it, life is funny afterwards. You know what life and love is, but it’s all different, and sometimes you are not glad about that. Your mortality is something that is always in front of you daily, you are keenly aware how easy it is to kill and be killed, without that ignorance of your youth getting in the way. Maybe that’s what civilians have that I don’t, a lack of awareness about the fragility of life, and how quickly it can end. Is life more precious that way? Sometimes I think so, and sometimes I am just tired of the whole damned thing. Not life, but thinking about it. You have to think, and just going on with your life gives you a feeling of both dread and exuberance, at the same time. I am still overcome with a curiousness about what will happen next, I guess because I just want to know and see and experience. The dead see no more, like Flanders Fields, and that is sad, because there’s a lot of places in the world like it. To all the lads and lassies I say Hurrah! to Thee! I will drink and toast them all today. And thank you Robert, from the bottom of my black and sinful heart, for your help and writings.


  9. Grandpa and Sean

    Thanks for your comments.

    I was never in the military and I have trouble imagining what combat and its attendant horrors would be like. It’s a cliche to say it, but I don’t think anyone who hasn’t gone through it can really understand it, or its effects on those who have. In many cases those effects last a lifetime. My next novel has a section on Vietnam and trying to convey those realities and effects has been one of the most difficult tasks I’ve faced as a writer.

    I don’t have to been in the military to regard war as the most criminally insane of all of humanity’s endeavors. I know many veterans who feel the same way. From that perspective I write my articles and post what I do of other writers’ articles concerning foreign policy, the military, the government, and war. I’m gratified for the perspectives you guys bring to SLL, and I’m sure many SLL readers feel the same way. Thanks.


  10. I have a 1st cousin I never got to meet who was killed I Normandy.
    His story:


    • Thanks for passing that along. Your cousin was a hero, in the old meaning of the word before it was debased to mean people who dance it Tik Tok videos.


  11. hardscrabble farmer

    Thanks for the memorial, Robert. I spent the day butchering a hog and tried to focus my thoughts on those members of my family who made the greatest sacrifice for their country so that we could live our lives as we choose.

    Never forget, memento mori est.


  12. The military is the iron fist of foreign policy. The ranks will be filled by the poor who need jobs or a career. Kissinger said the military are expendable.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sean’s,
    experience and thoughts along with Roberts comments ‘should’ be food for thought.
    Thank you both for your Honesty and your efforts.
    Sean, i do not believe your heart is black.


  14. I think it was Gen Smedley Butler who wrote, way back in the 1930’s, “War is a Racket”. He said we should only go to war to defend our homes (country…”repel invasion” and the Bill of Rights. Furthermore any use of force should be Constitutionally DECLARED a war or “Letter of Marquee and Reprisal” by Congress.


  15. A good read.


  16. hello Mr Gore

    Maybe there should be “brought to you by” “sponsored by” etc on the veterans memorial walls? This is not to demean the folks who served in ANY WAY!! They were all upright and honorable people who did what they thought was the best for the country.


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