The United States is like a mechanic who tries to solve every problem with his swell 5-pound hammer -- and he keeps on wondering why things get worse.
The U.S. has very powerful military weapons, but we keep using them like that mechanic uses his hammer.
We "lost" Vietnam because it was a civil war between a corrupt dictatorship (which we supported) and local communist revolutionaries (Viet Cong) and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam communists (North Vietnam). We used the hammer "to set those people straight" but instead killed millions, destroyed large parts of the environment and were forced to leave.
Wait -- we were NOT forced out. We were just "turning the war over" to the Vietnamese. Actually we turned the war over to a corrupt dictatorship that hated Americans and was falling apart.
Round one lost. We committed an illegal war of aggression but got away with it. But the people of Asia are still paying the price as are the men and women who "fought for freedom" in Vietnam. So many Americans were duped by President Johnson.
Round two and three: Afghanistan and Iraq -- Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama used that same hammer to "straighten out" those two nations. Two more illegal wars of aggression lost, more than 1 million people killed, millions of refugees and both nations ruined. Our leaders say we are turning those wars over to the Iraqis and Afghans to finish things up.
Actually we are just turning over losing wars to a pair of corrupt dictatorships that hate Americans. Does this sound familiar?
Round four Libya -- out comes that hammer again, another illegal war of aggression but this time few U.S. troops are on the ground but the nation is still left in shambles.
Round five will it be Iran or Syria? The U.S. is polishing up that hammer to teach those guys a lesson.
Peter, Paul and Mary sang that beautiful, sad song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" written by Pete Seeger. Young women, whose young men join the military and die, are left with dying flowers at gravesites and memories. This has been repeated over and over throughout history.
After World War II, the U.S. led the world in creating the United Nations, which outlawed wars of aggression like those of Germany and Japan. It was during President Ronald Reagan's presidency that the U.S. began to undermine the U.N. The U.N. gets in the way of the U.S. using that shiny hammer whenever it wants.
Now the U.N. has certainly changed with the addition of so many new nations after the destruction of the colonial empires after WW II. But it is still the only organization that has a framework to contain nations wanting to make war upon each other.
Since Reagan, all U.S. presidents have paid lip service to the United Nations but keep using that hammer whenever they want. They always argue they are using it to help make a better world, but that hammer is really used to gain access to oil, gas and precious resources. We are on an empire binge. We must rule the world. U.S. corporations must be the strongest and have the best access to resources and markets.
The joke "What is our oil doing under Iraq's sand?" is funny but it is a sickening reality. Our nation's wealth in dollars and people is being squandered in endless wars for resources and markets. That shiny hammer creates so much death and misery at home and across the world, breeding nothing but hatred.
United Nations' chemical weapons experts are now in Syria investigating. But Obama has asked them to leave just like Bush demanded the U.N. weapons of mass destruction experts leave Iraq before they found out the truth. These men are so eager to use that shiny hammer.
We must force our government to turn to the United Nations, to support the U.N., to invest in U.N. fact finding and peace keeping. We must strongly support U.N. diplomatic efforts to bring people together to talk out their differences and compromise.
The shiny hammer of war seldom, if ever, works.
When will we ever learn? You can help Obama learn by calling him at 202-456-1111 and leave an 11-word message: Mr. President, NO war on Syria. Support the UN. Or go to his website.
Leslie “Buzz” Davis of Stoughton