By Gary Berg-Cross
With a bit of militarism in the air I see that the National Geographic Channel has a series on “American War Generals” The “war leaders” assembled have some familiar names:
Gens. Collin Powell, Stanley McCrystal, Petraeus, Wesley Clark, Jack Keane, George William Casey, Barry McCaffrey and Raymond Odierno, along with Lt. Gens. Karl Eikenberry and Michael T. Flynn, and Maj. Gen. Herbert R. McCaster.
Some call it must see other ambitious and fantastic. The Air Force Times called it a cautionary tale as:
“… the U.S. escalates its campaign against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, a new documentary offers a cautionary tale about putting too much faith in technology and forgetting hard-fought lessons from the past. American War Generals,” …. looks at how the U.S. military recovered from its disastrous endeavor in Vietnam, remade itself into an all-volunteer force that focused on fighting conventional wars, and then came close to defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan as it faced a type of enemy it vowed never to fight again.”
A cautionary stance is good, especially in these times and some of the generals use the word mistake and Iraq in the same sentence. So perhaps we owe some thanks to husband-and-wife co-producers Peter Bergen and Tresha Mabile, whose film cites sobering statistics on American and Iraqi deaths . They say 4,489 and more than 150,000, respectively but there are estimates of many more Iraqi deaths due to those external effects of war such as via disease and accident. The cost to US taxpayers comes in at more than $2 trillion, but here too one can estimate additional external costs such as the benefits of investing the money elsewhere.
Many of us remember the run up to the Iraq war and how militant voices were heard with nary an anti-war quest given time on the air. Perhaps we’ve learned a bit from that mistake. Still I’d be very happy to see a series on those very same anti-war voices now and their retrospective and prospective views. A good start might be selecting a few folks from the site Americans who tell the truth - Models of Courageous Citizenship which features:
citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness.
They feature quite a few people worth hearing from. Some like Dr. Margaret Flowers & Kevin Zeese have been speakers at WASH MDC. Others like Jane Addams have had featured blogs.
And we might all be the wiser to hear a bit more from someone like Chris Hedges War Correspondent, Writer : 1956
"Once we sign on for war’s crusade, once we see ourselves on the side of the angels, once we embrace a theological or ideological belief system that defines itself as the embodiment of goodness and light, it is only a matter of how we will carry out murder."