Another Memorial Day, another day of Facebook posts filled with tributes to 'heroes'. Many of these posts gush that the fallen 'heroes' will never be forgotten.
Forgotten, eh? Americans seem to have selective memories.
Americans seem to have forgotten that Dubya Bush promised a "humble foreign policy" and "no nation building", yet we have spent almost 12 years mucking around in Afghanistan attempting exactly that.
Americans seem to have forgotten that Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice swore to us with straight faces that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, yet those weapons never turned up after almost a decade of war.
Americans seem to have forgotten that every man or woman who dons the uniform of an American soldier, sailor, or airman swears an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, yet on at least four separate occasions American armed forces have summarily executed American citizens without giving them the due process promised in that document.
Americans seem to have forgotten that in spite of the endless television commercials telling us that our armed forces are a "global force for good", those same armed forces have killed tens of thousands of noncombatant civilians in our vain efforts to mold the world in our image.
Americans seem to have forgotten that our 'heroes' have gunned down innocents and been caught on tape laughing as they did so. They have deliberately targeted those attempting to give aid to the wounded in cold-blooded "double tap" operations. They have murdered civilians and attempted to cover up the crime by making it look like the work of the enemy. They have humiliated prisoners in their care. They have urinated on the dead. They have raided houses and villages in the dead of night based on faulty intelligence, and innocents have paid for the mistake with their lives. They have, in some instances, turned over captives to some of the most brutal regimes on earth in order to have them tortured for information. In other instances, they have done the torturing themselves, using techniques learned from regimes we were taught to despise -- Nazi Germany, North Korea, the Soviet Union.
Americans seem to have forgotten that time and time again, in the Shenandoah Valley, on the Great Plains, in the Philippines, in the air over Germany and Japan, in places like Wounded Knee and Mai Lai, our 'heroes' have wrought horrific death and destruction on civilian populations, people whose only crime was to be on the wrong side in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Americans seem to have forgotten that our 'heroes' are so traumatized by their experiences in uniform that over 2,000 of them have taken their own lives since 2001.
Americans seem to have forgotten that an estimated 1/3 of our female 'heroes' have been sexually harassed or assaulted by their male 'hero' counterparts.
Americans seem to have forgotten that the Constitution tasks Congress with declaring war, yet the executive has usurped this power and now feels free to commit American forces anywhere on the globe without congressional approval or oversight.
Americans seem to have forgotten how to ask hard questions, such as, Why are we being told that the war against al Qaeda will take another ten to twenty years? And, Who profits from this state of perpetual war?
In George Orwell's novel 1984, the fictional state of Oceania diverted its citizenry's attention away from problems at home by waging an endless war abroad, a war characterized by an endless unbroken string of battlefield triumphs, but never any final victory. Is that not what we have now? How many times has the death or capture of some high-value terrorist been trumpeted to us by our masters, yet there is still no end to the fighting? On the contrary, the 'war on terror' is being ever expanded -- ever more shadowy operators fighting in ever more countries, in secret battles funded by an off-the-books budget, in a campaign controlled by a tiny cabal in the highest seats of power, all while real liberty and prosperity is becoming daily more endangered. No one seems to care. No one raises the alarm.
When the good thing that used to be America, circa 1783, is irretrievably lost, will anyone notice? Or will we be too busy remembering our fallen heroes?