Pentagon’s “Paid Patriotism”

 

Remember all those sport events flying large US flags and featuring US troops and singing the national anthem? None of that was an accident or spontaneous display of patriotism. They were planned, paid for and ordered by the Pentagon to fan the flames of war and win approval for Pentagon’s endless wars. According to a report made public yesterday by news organizations, including NPR and USA Today “in the past few years, the Pentagon spent $6.8 million to pay for patriotic displays during the games of professional sports teams”. “Since 2012”, the report says, “the Pentagon has signed 72 contracts with teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer that amounted to ’paid patriotism’. “For example, taxpayers paid $49,000 to the Milwaukee Brewers to allow the Wisconsin Army National Guard to sponsor the Sunday singing of ’God Bless America’. In another contract, the New York Jets were paid $20,000 to ’recognize’ one to two New Jersey Army National Guard soldiers as hometown heroes.”

If you think about it, why would a nation that’s not under attack or even threatened by any other nation, and which on the contrary, is the one attacking, bombing, invading and going to war against others, need to encourage patriotism? Patriotism for a nation under attack or threat of attack may be justified and understandable, but for a bellicose, aggressive and arrogant superpower, which is after expanding its hegemony through constant acts of war and aggression, including war crimes and disregard for international laws and rights of sovereign nations and their citizens, patriotism is nothing but a stamp of approval on its aggression, war crimes, hubris and lawlessness. 

We must remember that millions have unnecessarily died by soldiers wearing US uniforms with US flags emblazoned on them, using tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets and navy warships flying the US flag or having it painted on them. We must understand and empathize with millions of people worldwide who have come to detest that flag and everything it stands for – which is nothing but war, massacres, assassinations, oppression and exploitation. Our solidarity must not be with US imperialism, but rather with its victims. Standing up and saluting the US flag or singing the national anthem at a time when under that same flag people are getting killed for oil or profits or for world domination is tantamount to siding with and giving our support and solidarity to US imperialism, in contempt and disregard for its victims. 

As the Pentagon and the entire military complex of the 1% tries to brainwash us, we must do the opposite and reject such symbolism and tools of deceit. Just as American multinational corporations and their protectorate US marines go overseas to kill, plunder, exploit, oppress and impoverish billions of people, worldwide, our understanding and empathy too must go beyond our national borders and become one with those suffering from US empire. 

We must cast aside nationalism for humanism and patriotism for empathy. We must recognize the real enemies of people, regardless of what language they speak, where they live and what church they go to, even if those enemies happen to be from our own hometown or our home country. We have much more in common with the Afghans and Pakistanis and Yemenis and Syrians and Iraqis and Somalis and Bangladeshis and others, than with the American billionaires and their generals in Pentagon. 

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