US Wars, Past And Present
At least Some American historians and journalists admit now that the war in Viet Nam was “wrong”, notwithstanding how the mainstream media, as is usual with them, were cheering the war at the time. Same thing happened with the latest Iraq war. Those who had second thoughts about it later, were among those cheering it when it started.
But, what almost everyone speaks highly and proudly of is the role the US played in Second World War. Although it’s no secret that the US entry into the war helped turn the tide against the Nazis and their allies, there are some things that are almost never mentioned because they’re not so flattering of the US role. As the war seemed to be approaching its conclusion with the Soviets having gained the upper hand against the Nazis and marching into Germany, after suffering the most casualties of any single nation, it was only a matter of time before Japan would have to stop challenging the US in the Pacific and admit defeat. They had already suffered very heavy losses and with their European allies defeated, it would not be able to hold on to territories it had occupied before the war, most of which had been lost to the US, anyway.
Despite the US claim to the contrary, there was no need to bring Japan to its knees and so soon or so decidedly and devastatingly. There was no need or justification to drop nuclear bombs on two heavily populated large cities knowing that each would immediately kill over a hundred thousand innocent people who were already suffering the effects of war with many suffering the consequences of the radiation for a long time to come. Their decision to go ahead and use such an immoral weapon of mass destruction was not so much military or based on military calculations, as was political, and that’s what makes it such an atrocious and vile crime against humanity on such a massive and unprecedented scale. The cold blooded barbarism of that act is beyond comprehension.
The real reason they decided to drop the bomb was that they were afraid that the Soviets might develop the bomb and drop it on Japan before them and have the Japanese surrender to them, instead of to the US and its post-war allies.
The whole war was about dividing the world up among colonial powers with each vying for a piece of it for their own ruling class. England, France, the US and their European allies had long dominated and exploited the underdeveloped parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia where they had been looting many countries for a long time. Germany, Japan and their allies too where capitalism was fully developed wanted a piece of the action. Russia which had been competing with other colonial powers before the workers’ revolution of 1917, reversed course after the revolution and began supporting and aiding national liberation movements against colonial powers and viewed the war rightly as a war amongst the ruling classes of colonizers over the wealth of much of the world, just as was the case in the First World War, when the Bolsheviks pointed out that workers had nothing to gain from such wars among imperialists and everything to lose and that their workers and those of the other nations had to stand in solidarity with the oppressed peoples against the colonizers.
Nevertheless, they were dragged into the war when Nazi Germany invaded it. Ironically, they ended up paying the heaviest price: 23.3 million of their citizens perished. That figure is 26 times as many as the number of casualties of Britain and the US, combined. And at least part of the reason for that is that the US and Britain sat back and waited for the Nazis to do as much damage as they could before going to its aid. In fact, the Soviets played the main role in defeating the Nazis and made the most sacrifice. But, they wouldn’t have suffered as many casualties had the allies come to their aid sooner. Again, that was purely political.
And, when the war was finally over and the US offered the Europeans the Marshal Plan, or the European Recovery Program, as it was officially called, ostensibly to aid in Europe’s reconstruction and recovery, their main motivation was political in that they were keenly concerned about the appeal of socialism in the aftermath of the war and the prospect of socialist revolutions in Europe. In fact, one of the conditions for nations to get the aid was that they had to purge their parliaments of communists. Did I mention they believe in democracy?!
The US came out of that devastating war which took so many lives and destroyed so many others almost unscathed by comparison and became the largest military and economic power and was able to greatly expand its sphere of influence and hegemony. It left thousands of troops in Germany and Japan, mainly to control the politics and counter the threat of socialism. It went on to build numerous military bases, got control over many oil fields, installed puppet dictators and overthrew regimes it deemed unhelpful in its plans for world domination and resorted to many wars when other means didn’t produce the results they wanted. It saw an opportunity to expand its hegemony and sphere of control even more after the breakup of the Soviet Union. I doubt it would go to war against Iraq and Afghanistan or deploy drones to kill people everyday in several countries had the Soviet Union still been around.
These policies of renewed and expanded imperialism and militarism stem from the economic system of capitalism which always searches for more and newer profits for corporations and results in wealth accumulation in the hands of a few and impoverishment of the majority. Thus, instead of ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity after the most devastating war in history, imperialism brought new wars of conquest, as well as exploitation and economic oppression, whether through the use of military force or deceptive neoliberal policies, that spread poverty and hunger and further looted the underdeveloped world, widening the gap between the rich and poor nations, just as the gap between the rich and poor increased in individual nations, including in the American society. As long as capitalism exists, we will not be rid of wars, including major ones like the world wars, and as long as capitalism exists there will be oppression, exploitation, poverty and hunger among billions of people. We’ve had a world dominated, mostly unchallenged, by the US imperialism, with its unconditional and unwavering defense of the largest corporations. We see how well that’s worked out.