Greatest Generation, Good War, Blah-Blah-Blah
By Mickey Z.
20 May, 2014
Photo credit: Mickey Z.
As we approach not only another Memorial Day but also the 70th anniversary of D-Day, well, you know what that means: enforced nostalgia, chauvinism, and anniversary mania.
In the midst of our perpetual war vs. evil, America is yet again celebrating the original "good war." More than just a good war, in fact, corporate media shill Tom Brokaw deemed WWII "the greatest war the world has seen."
But the United States fought that war against racism with a segregated army.
It fought that war to end atrocities by participating in the shooting of surrendering soldiers, the starvation of POWs, the deliberate bombing of civilians, wiping out hospitals, strafing lifeboats, and in the Pacific boiling flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts.
FDR, the leader of this anti-racist, anti-atrocity force, signed Executive Order 9066, interning more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans without due process. Thus, in the name of taking on the architects of German prison camps became the architect of American prison camps.
Before, during, and after the Good War, the American business class traded with the enemy. Among the U.S. corporations that invested in the Nazis were Ford, GE, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, IBM, and GM (top man William Knudsen called Nazi Germany "the miracle of the 20th century").
And while the United States regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe, another group of refugees was welcomed with open arms after the war: fleeing Nazi war criminals who were used to help create the CIA and advance America's nuclear program.
U.S. General Curtis LeMay, commander of the 1945 Tokyo fire bombing operation, summed up succinctly: "I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side."
The enduring Good War fable goes well beyond Memorial Day barbecues and flickering black-and-white movies on late night TV. WWII is America's most popular war. According to accepted history, it was an inevitable war forced upon a peaceful people thanks to a surprise attack by a sneaky enemy. This war, then and now, has been carefully and consciously sold to us as a life-and-death battle against pure evil.
Reality: American lives weren't sacrificed in a holy war to avenge Pearl Harbor nor to end the Nazi Holocaust. WWII was about territory, power, control, money, and imperialism.
What we're taught about the Good War buttresses the following historical façade: After whipping the original axis of evil in a noble and popular war, the United States can now wave the banner of humanitarianism and intervene with impunity across the globe without their motivations being severely questioned… especially when every enemy is likened to Hitler.
Revolutionary pacifist A.J. Muste said in 1941, "The problem after war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?"
Precisely how and when such a lesson will be taught is not known, but it can be safely assumed that this lesson will never be learned from a standard college textbook, an insipid bestseller, or a manipulative box office smash.
The past seven decades have proven that without such a lesson, there will be many more wars and many more lies told to obscure the truth about them.
Note: To continue conversations like this, come hear Mickey Z. in person at the NYC March Against Monsanto on May 24.
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on a couple of obscure websites called Facebook and Twitter. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here
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