We are not a great country. We are not peacekeepers. We are not kind, compassionate people. We are a bloodthirsty and warmongering people. We invade countries on false claims and lay waste to them. We slaughter millions of innocent people, and thousands of our own troops. We destroy whole cities with our weapons.
We are hypocrites. The reason given for invading Iraq was their possession of weapons of mass destruction and yet we own countless of our own weapons of mass destruction. We have missiles and nuclear bombs. We have fighter jets and bombers. We have tanks and aircraft carriers. We spend more on our military than the rest of the industrialized world put together. We are violent and destructive.
Conservatives are still trying to crucify Obama for the Benghazi attack, and yet we ourselves bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, killing 3 and injuring 20.
On this Memorial Day, I propose that we remember all of the lives that we have destroyed. Remember all of the people in Iraq who are no longer living because we invaded their country. Remember all of the people in Afghanistan who have died because we insist on waging war on their land. Remember all of the children who were living in Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the time we decided to demonstrate the raw power of nuclear weapons. Personally, I feel that remembering these people will help us to be more peaceful in the future. Remembering those on "our side" who have died seems to be the typical attitude toward the holiday. And I can't say that I know that's harmful. But what I can say is that if we never think about "the other guy", if we never think about the victims of our aggression, then we may very well continue to believe that we are good, that we are making the world better with our military and needless killing. I think that remembering those whom we have destroyed is the best way to prevent future destruction.
When you say the words "Support our troops", think what that means. Think about the lives that our military ruins. Think about the innocent children that our drones destroy. Think about the civilian deaths that we dismiss by calling "collateral damage". Turn the tables. Put yourself in our enemies' shoes. Imagine how you would feel if it was your country being invaded. Imagine how you would react if the picture above were your hometown, decimated by a foreign power. When we support our military, we are supporting this kind of senseless destruction of innocent people's lives. It needs to stop.
We need to learn how to be rational. We need to learn how to settle our differences peacefully. We need to learn how to discuss things without resorting to violence. We need to cast aside these primitive instincts that we have to kill and destroy. Let us remember our fallen. But let us also remember the fallen of our enemy. Let us not glorify these deaths. Let us mourn these deaths, and use that mourning to prevent future deaths. Let us embrace peace. Let us avert violence. Let us honor the fallen by making them the last to fall.