I saw a tweet from the U.S. President honouring the 245th anniversary of the U.S. army. It made disturbing reading, at least for me.
“We” / “our country” = a fraction of the white population and none of the slaves or indigenous people. Ought not the birth of a nation be remembered as a collective celebration, a liberating memory for the bulk of the white population, slaves and First Nations?
“every milestone since”? What does it mean, exactly? I had understood that the primary reason for an army was for defence. What “milestones” in defence are we referring to here? Not long ago I wrote what an Australian history would look like if we refocused the war events so that they became paragraphs of mourning and tragedy.
“the call to serve” — another worrying phrase. What does it mean, exactly? I can understand “selflessly answering the call to defend one’s country”, but “to serve” sounds more open-ended than that. Public service brings to mind working for the public good. Formal recognition ceremonies are held for those who have contributed service to the community, to the arts, to the sciences, to some needy section of the community. The U.S. flag suggests it means “serving” the “patriotic” expansionist or controlling interests of certain power and wealth factions in the U.S. (“Selflessly” in this context is another problematic word but that’s another story.)
“around the world”? — Like Doctors Without Borders? Like Amnesty International? Like NGO’s assisting poverty-stricken communities? Like UNESCO and WHO? A United Nations peace-keeping force? But why does a national army need to “serve around the world”? That sounds very threatening and destabilizing to me.
“above it”? — so much for the ban on the militarization of space. How does one defend one’s county by having “the army serving” in space?
“changing / making history”? — Look again at what it means to “change history, make history” without war: When I think of armies “changing and making history” I think of imperialist expansion and conquest, genocide and plunder.
“next chapter” — how about making it a defence force? if necessary, contribute to United Nations forces under U.N. control from time to time. Reduce it to a size the demonstrates it is indeed there for defence of a continent largely pre-defended by two oceans. Free up funding and resources for positive humanitarian and civilizational pursuits that would make for a most inspiring history. Wouldn’t it be nice to remove the stain of being “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
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