Jan G. Otterstrom F.

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In my lifetime, we have seen
how to excite a nation to war
coalesce emotions, anger
hate, awaken patriotism to
blind rage, calculating death
First Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941, 5:50 a.m.
the Japanese fleet of 6 carriers
was 220 mile north of Oahu, “I have
brought the task force successfully
to the point of attack” radioed
the Commander “from now on
the burden is on your shoulders.”
by 6:00 a.m. the first wave of bombers
and Zero fighter was in the air
then the second followed
by 8:00a.m. as the Star Spangled Banner
was being played on the U.S.S. Nevada
Japan attacked, first sailors thought
it was a spectacular drill, but soon
realized a full scale enemy attack.
Back in Washington D.C. Roosevelt
at 1:47 p.m. Eastern Time, 27 minutes
after the first bomb was dropped
Frank Knox, Secretary of Navy got the message
called the President with the news, being
Sunday only a skeleton crew served
the White House, but soon all was a buzz
by 2:05p.m. Roosevelt called Secretary of War
Harry Stimson, a believer that war
with Japan was inevitable, who later wrote
in his diary “a relief that the indecision
was over that a crisis had come in a way
which would unite all our people.”
a terrible moral problem had been solved
by a ghastly, destructive, death dealing event.

Second: Korea and Vietnam
The end of World War II brought the fear
of Communist world domination, Congress
rooted out communists from Hollywood
academic post, business and politics.
Senator Joseph McCarthy, an extreme
Republican conservative, raised the issue
of sweeping communists and fellow travelers
from public office, business, Universities
keeping America safe from this menace.
John Birch Societies sprang up, books stirred
my parents to donate time and money to the cause.
Many politicians were accused of owing their allegiance
to foreign ideology or branded as traders.
Senator McCarthy, with breathless hyperbole,
convinced many. Hearings were set up to roast
as many questionable left leaners as possible.
All this created suspicion and finger pointing
yet McCarthyism, as it came to be known,
was actually grounded in deep historical roots
of assumptions, judgments, suspicion of radicalism.
Democrats were often accused of “selling out”
or “leading the country down the road to Socialism”
or suggestions of “treason in high places”.
Within this flourishing context, the call to stop
Communist China and North Korean from taking
the Peninsula, General Douglas A. MacArthur
in charge, raised an army, Congressional
and National support to go to war, to kill gooks.
Later to rush in where France had feared to tread.
In both wars, the U.S. lost prestige, good men
Billions of dollars and valuable resources.

Third: Iraq
Desert Storm, a short war to stop Saddam Hussein
from claiming rights to the oil kingdom protectorate
of Kuwait, set the stage for Bush family legacy
allegiance to Big oil and its importance to the U.S.
economy and friend’s pocket books.
September 11, 2001, the first attack on American
soil since Pearl Harbor, became the catalyst
for bellicose chain reaction, Saudi piolets trained
Al Qaeda threats and rhetoric ignored
dismissed intentionally, CIA reports shelved
the Trade Towers already had been threatened
in a failed attempt once, a calm September day
was shattered, burned into collective memory
as people with blood in their eyes will believe
anything, Iraq played no part in the attack
only a pack a radical Saudi Arabians, a loyal ally
Ben Laden was soon a villain yet Iraq attacked
to combat their arsenal of Mass Destruction
the interest in oil was carefully not mentioned
though the first military objective was to secure
the oil fields. Saddam Hussein and his army
were soon defeated yet the U.S. had opened
the fabled Pandora’s Box, U.S. forces soon
were fighting a growing insurgency
no welcoming arms, International Jihad
against the invader, sectarian war quagmire.

© Jan G. Otterstrom F. December 25, 2014