I’ve long been acutely aware of how much we idolize war in this country. Not just our economy relies on war, so does our collective unconscious, to keep reminding us of the “sacrifice” of our young heroes to battle “in service of their country.” Plus, I’ve noticed that in all the war memorials that I run into everywhere I have lived, they’re always just dedicated to our dead.
For example, the town I hail from originally, Twin Falls Idaho, constructed a Vietnam Memorial in the city park where we used to run and play.
For example, Jackson Wyoming, in the very center of the town park (the one with the antlered arches), itself in the very center of the town, we find this. As I recall, it’s dedicated to the dead from World War II.
I lived in Jackson for 18 years. Now I’ve lived in Bloomington Indiana for nearly 15 years. Here’s our tall, imposing war monument, in front of the court house, court house square, in the very center of the town.
In all our monuments, the estimated 30 million who are not U.S. citizens that we have killed in our various excursions elsewhere are never mentioned, much less memorialized. Of course! For one thing, we have no idea who those foreigners were; even if we knew their names, we couldn’t pronounce them. They don’t speak English! And for another, we don’t really care. Not about them. Just about us. Or do we even care about us, since we keep funding war with our tax dollars? Since we keep on alluring impoverished young men — and now women! — to don uniforms with the promise of monetary perks afterwards? Since we keep on resourcing those 1000 bases elsewhere with “security,” with “goods and services,” with new infrastructure, not just airfields, but stores, dorms, recreational facilities, etc? Since college professors sell themselves to the devil by writing defence-related grants to keep their departments open? And that’s not even to mention the fact that creative human energy is continuously and massively misused by being misdirected into figuring out new, even more lethal weapons systems and their carriers — planes, drones, sea and space traveling vessels to destroy and to murder. On and on. The Deep State is indeed, deep. See this.
So, I’m thrilled to see that peace activist David Swanson has just addressed this very topic.
Oh, and BTW: Here are a few wonderful sculptures not memorializing war which grace the Indiana University campus. First the legendary Herman B. Wells, who brought Indiana University up to its present standards. You wouldn’t believe the number of people I’ve seen sitting next to Wells with their hand and arm seemingly frozen in the same position!
Next, Adam and Eve. A wonderful statue with space between the man and the woman. Beautifully proportioned and anatomically correct, their yearning for each other is palpable.
Adam was nearly ruined by a fierce storm that took out hundreds of trees in this woods and others a few years ago. Big local news. He’s back up now.
And finally, my very favorite, Hoagie Carmichael at the piano. Every time puppy Shadow and I walk by this sculpture on campus we see some kind of flowering in his hand.