Larken Rose

More About: Military

Dying for a Lie

Today, to escape the hectic stress of life for a moment, I took a stroll through the cemetery in the town where I grew up. I saw lots of names I knew, but the main thing I noticed was how many American flags were adorning grave sites, and how many gravestones mentioned that the deceased had either died in combat or served in the military. If I were a good, loyal, patriotic American, the sight would have filled me with nationalistic pride, and thankfulness for the soldiers' sacrifice. But it didn't. It filled me with sadness. There is no greater love than that shown by someone who lays down his life for his friends. But there is no greater tragedy than someone laying down his life for a lie. And that is exactly what every soldier, of every country, who dies in battle, does.

I can already feel the outrage many will have at reading that. The last thing the flag-wavers, and especially the friends and families of fallen soldiers, want to consider is the possibility that, rather than being a great and noble sacrifice for the greater good--for freedom, security, peace, whatever--those who died in battle accomplished absolutely nothing worthwhile. Nothing. Those who parrot the phrase, "If you love your freedom, thank a veteran," are deluding themselves. The goal of the U.S. military has never been freedom, for you or anyone else. It's a gang that engages in turf wars with other gangs, and that's all it has ever been.

That's why I found the cemetery so depressing. It's a travesty that so many courageous humans have died, acting as pawns in games played by tyrants. What makes it worse is that, because the nationalistic, authoritarian indoctrination has been so successful, this is likely to continue for many years to come. And, perhaps saddest of all, it could be prevented if the friends and families of aspiring soldiers could set aside their blind nationalism long enough to see reality objectively, and then do anything in their power to stop the person from becoming a mercenary for the politicians.

Today I stood over the grave of a young man who died in Iraq. The gravestone talks about "love" and "service." I admit, it made me tear up, but not for the reason it would make "good Americans" tear up. It made me tear up to know that this young man, who by all accounts was a principled, giving, kind human being, had been duped into giving up his life for a lie. His courage, his integrity, were thrown away for nothing. His death accomplished nothing. The young man's virtues were twisted and exploited, to convert him into a tool to be used and then thrown away by some of the most evil people on the planet.

But who wants to be the one to point this out to the friends and family of the dead young man? I don't. But what happens if no one ever points it out? If no one does, then the pattern will continue. Thousands of young men and women will continue to be trained to feel profound pride and pack mentality, to the point where they will kill, or die, for a lie. And this is not unique to this country. Pretty much every war consists of two large numbers of basically decent human beings who have been twisted, corrupted, duped and deceived, exploited and manipulated, to the point where they will create hell on earth, engaging in prolonged, widespread mass murder, torture and terrorism, in the name of some abstract nothing. Sadly, both sides will do this, both believing their cause and their "country" to be righteous, and both being dead wrong--literally.

The comfortable, easy, feel-good response would be to "honor" fallen soldiers, treat them as brave heroes who fought for freedom, served their country--to be thankful for their "sacrifice," as if by giving their lives they somehow benefitted humanity and justice. But that is a lie, and repeating the lie will only lead to more people dying for the same lie. I don't doubt the courage of soldiers, but bravery without understanding, more often than not, ends up doing more damage than good. And that is the case with every war.

Somewhere, in others countries around the world--Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Japan, etc.--there are other cemeteries, filled with the graves of brave, patriotic men and women who fought and died for the same lie. It's very likely, for example, that somewhere in Korea is a gravestone marking where a decent, honest man lies dead, having been killed by one of the decent, honest American men whose grave sites I visited today.

Must we continue this insanity? Must we continue to allow those who crave dominion to divide and conquer us, to turn man against man, riling up millions to engage in vicious brutality and bloodshed? Must we keep acting as pawns for tyrants of all nationalities, and continue to be duped into exterminating each other, for the benefit of liars and crooks?

If I had a universal rewind button, and could go back and talk to that young man for a bit, before he joined the military, maybe give him a book to read, maybe challenge his assumptions a bit--maybe I wouldn't have stood over his grave today. Now it's too late. But it's not too late for the next one. However uncomfortable it might be, those of us who see through the lie must do whatever we can to keep the next generation from falling for it. Trying to avoid making waves, by repeating the lie that has cost so many millions their lives, does not serve anyone, except tyrants and megalomaniacs. If, by stepping out of your comfort zone, you might have a chance to keep the next young man from needlessly dying, scared and alone, bleeding in the dirt in some foreign country, how could that not be worth it? And if some people condemn you for your lack of blind loyalty and "patriotism," or get angry at you for exposing the lethal lie that they have always believed and repeated, is that really too big a price to pay to save a life … or a million?

(P.S. At the risk of bankrupting myself even more than I already am, I've decided to give a discount, down to $8, for anyone who wants to buy a copy of "The Most Dangerous Superstition" to send to someone in the military, or someone thinking of joining.)

22 Comments in Response to

Comment by Angela Mo
Entered on:

 I just came across your article.  To see someone speak the truth is rare indeed.  Dying for peace has never brought about peace and never will.  At the end of the day wars are not about establishing peace or protecting freedom or whatever nonsense we're told.  It's all about taking what is not yours to take.

Comment by Ken Valentine
Entered on:

 Well Mr. Mott,

Balls? Or stupidity?

Even a quick look at history will show you that every country that has tried to control the world (although not one has actually succeeded in doing it) has gone bankrupt in the attempt -- just as the United States is doing right at this moment.

Comment by Mike Mott
Entered on:

 While war probably isn't the answer for every conflict  I fail to see your rationale on why it should never be used. Go ask a South Korean how they feel about the Korean war. Without the U.S. intervention and occupation they would be under the communist rule of North Korea or Japan. I also agree the war in Iraq started with bad info but is it a lie that Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of innocent people in the 80s? I'd rather be on the side of the country that has the balls to control the world. Time has shown that the peace loving people get left behind and dominated by the ones who effectively dominate the actions of other nations.

Comment by Ken Valentine
Entered on:

 Mr. Rose,

Everything you said in the above article is true, but I'd like to add one more thing: We should think of not just those who were killed in all those stupid wars, but the many more who were seriously wounded and crippled for life.

According to the Veterans Administration, my father was 300 percent disabled in World War II.

That's right, the VA added up his "disabilities" and the total came to 300 percent -- loss of "this" muscle group ... 30 percent; another muscle group ... 30 percent, another muscle group ... 40 percent, still one more muscle group ... 50 percent. Then there's a crushed skull and resulting brain damage for another 50 percent and finally total blindness -- which brings the total up to 300 percent.

Politicians and their campaign contributors get all the profit (and war is extremely profitable) -- and the "glory" if you could call it that -- while it's up to the rest of us to do the paying, the bleeding, and the dying.

An extremely well written article . . . thank you.

Comment by Unsheepled Michael
Entered on:

 Having  been  part of   a  service  family  for  20 +years, having had  sons  in  the  service..I  fully  agree  with  you  Larken , truth  is  hard on the  deluded !

George Mason  :   As Nations  cannot  be  rewarded or  receive   punishment in the next  world, so they MUST be in this. By an inevitable chain  of  causes & events Providence  punishes national sins with national calamities !    Our  war and  murder  lust  has  earned  US  many  calamities...such  as TSA, DHS, all  reincarnations  of  the  brown shirt much  more  effective  than locust :(
Comment by Ken Sutter
Entered on:

Its nice to see  the acceptence of  Mr. Rose's article. Front page of Freedoms Phoenix is pretty good. Of course us Vietnam Vets have been trying to say the same thing for 40 plus years now. Old news to us - good to seee others finally waking up. Good work Larken.  Doc 

Comment by James Carlson
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Larken, Thank you for posting your views on the insanity of the American people. I am one of those men of my generation that volunteered to "work" for the US Navy during the so-called Viet Nam "War". We were told we "served our country". What a bunch of B.S. Over 58,000 men and women of my generation died for the liars, cheats, and whores from Corporate Washington DC. I was a brain-washed young man in those days believing the lies spewed to all of us Americans from TPTB. It took me just a few short years after I was discharged in 1967 to figure it out. The Vietnamese people had done nothing to me, my family, neighbors, or anyone else in America yet hundreds of thousands of my generation took part in the slaughter of thousands and thousands of Vietnam people. Insanity reigned then as it does now. Most of the American people are brainwashed to believe "the big lie". It is so sad. Don't Quit. Keep it Up. Keep telling the Truth. Regards, James Carlson
Comment by Joe Tittiger
Entered on:

Comment by: Dayton Herron (#42835)
   Entered on: 2011-07-14 17:59:58

 I agree wholeheartedly with your article.  However you ignore the human factor that if attacked; self preservation sets in and one defends themselves most often.  I paticurally agree since WW-II.  However until mankind has progressed or evovled to the point that automatice mental telepathy occurs we will have palnned decit and  evil.  Oldhobe


Mr. Herron,

You need to review your government school learned history. We agressed upon Japan long before they attacked us. And we became allies with the soviets who murdered 4 times as many people as Hilter did and then turned over Eastern Europe to them to be enslaved. How was any of this rightous or a victory?



Comment by Larken Rose
Entered on:

Mr. Jackson, just taking a wild guess here, but based on your tone, I'm thinking you were about to give a vehement pro-military response. I really wish your thoughts hadn't been eaten by a technical glitch, even if I would have completely disagreed with them. It's a little ironic that a computer spaz-out seems to have "censored" you from voicing what I assume were going to be pro-authoritarian sentiments. Be thankful that unpredictable computers is all you're up against. Some of us, including myself, have been forcibly silenced by state mercenaries. You lost and hour due to a technical glitch. I lost a year due to fascist thugs. But afterward, I came back and kept saying what I think. I invite you to do the same.

Comment by David Jackson
Entered on:

 I just wasted an hour responding to one of your "articles".

 When I tried to send it, I was told that my address and name were wrong - bullshit!!!!!!

  My name and address certainly didn't change while I was wasting my life in an attempt to add a little bit of information to what Is usually little more than unresoned thought and petty opinion, based on disinformation and dellusion.

  I'm done!

Comment by Kuerno Dechivo
Entered on:

Nice to see you're still givin' them hell, lighting those brush fires of the mind.

The one hope for our failing currency and economic systems is that it will pause the conveyor-belt long enough for people to take a step back and examine our road to destruction.

Comment by Stupid Amerkin
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"It is bad enough that many will perish believing the BIG lie, but the real tragedy are those who, have, are now, and will continue to do so, defending the BIG lie."   Stupidamerkin

Comment by Jimmy Dean
Entered on:


A voice of sanity in the wilderness.  Imagine that, an American who has the balls to say something that is universally known, albeit politically incorrect.  I guess the brainwashing hasn't worked on you, it sure has on everyone else.  Why are Americans so afraid to talk about something we all know is true?  Why can't Americans stand up for what they know is right and just?  Must be a pathetic bunch of whining crybabies who are afraid of their own shadows. Boo!

Comment by Kelly James
Entered on:

Fantastic article :-)

Comment by Dave Wilber
Entered on:









Comment by Dayton Herron
Entered on:

 I agree wholeheartedly with your article.  However you ignore the human factor that if attacked; self preservation sets in and one defends themselves most often.  I paticurally agree since WW-II.  However until mankind has progressed or evovled to the point that automatice mental telepathy occurs we will have palnned decit and  evil.  Oldhobe


Comment by Ken Valentine
Entered on:

 You're absolutely right Cronus: In the words of the late professor Jacob Bronowski, "War is a highly organized and co-operative form of theft."

To paraphrase the novelist F. Paul wilson: They jerk young men out of their lives, put guns in their hands and send them off to kill other young men who have been jerked out of their lives and had guns placed in THEIR hands. While these young men huddle shivering in their foxholes hoping they'll live to see the next sunrise, the people who cause all the problems; the politicians, generals, chiefs, mullahs, and tribal elders, sit back in their comfortable digs and move their chess pieces around.

Comment by Joe Tittiger
Entered on:

Good to see that there are others here on board with Larken, Smedley Butler, and  Liberty.  You would not know it from most vantage points.

Comment by Jared Broadbent
Entered on:

 Thank you for this very well written article Mr. Rose. It brings up some interesting points. How do you tell those who reject truth (sometimes violently) because they do not want to hear it, they do not wish to be awakened from thier lifelong trance? I was one of them once, sleep walking through life in the same trance, as most people who are awake now were at onme time. Therefore, it's not difficult understand why people don't want to wake up. It turns the world on it's head. Everything in your life must be re-evaluated and the lies discarded and if one has virtues, it will require that the individual take some sort of action. A complete reset of one's life. As disturbing as this is it can also be a blessing to those who choose to not remain silent but giving thier life meaning and purpose and discovering hidden gifts and talents within oneself. This is not a group thing and usually leads to a loner existance as old friends and even family members become alienated - but it also brings out an inner strength and an independence. It is a struggle, a life test, but one that I believe we are supposed to be on. We have to persevere. There is no choice really, as inside ourselves we know that we can never go back to the way things were. We cannot unlearn what we have learned, but that exactly what others whom we try to awaken will often ask us to do. Instead of listening, they simply repeat, playback the recycled collectivist propaganda, aka lies, in order to "enlighten us".  If we actually did, that is reverse evolution. What we are talking about here is not a difference of opinions between those who know and those who do not, but different realities. On the one hand we have an artificial reality within which most of the worlds population is trapped. Made possible through a lifetime of indoctrination and propaganda. And on the other hand we have the true reality in which we ALL live. This is why it is so difficult to break through to someone, it's a clashing of realities. To many we might as well be an alien talking in a dialect never used on this planet. I know I feel like an alien in this place now. Over the 4th of July holiday and lately with all the wars we see the flags coming out like rabbits multiplying. We see the bumber stickers for our troops overseas. And this saddens me too, as I know how these symbols are used against us. People will say "we don't love our country, or our freedom, or don't support our troops". But they speak out of ignorance not understanding what is really going on. I also have been to national cemeteries and I too have shed tears for the men and women whom I've never met. It is tragedy of the highest order that these brave souls, there lives are used and thrown away so that a few evil criminals get more power and control. I agree with Mr. Rose we cannot just do nothing, if we know it is our responsibility to make our world a better place - whatever it takes.     

Comment by Bob Podolsky
Entered on:

Ah, Larken! You are so right about wars based on lies! I too grieve for the lives lost for those lies.

There is just one important detail that I'm surprised you didn't mention - and that is the truth of why wars are fought. I've studied this question for many years - and have reached one simple overarching conclusion. Without exception, every war ever fought, anywhere, was fought for control of someone's resources. Oil, gas, minerals, water, arable land, grazing land, timber, seaport access, fertile women, and slaves all qualify as resources over which wars have been fought!

And of course it's never the poor slobs on the battlegrounds that profit from the acquisition of those resources - it is, as you've so eloquently said, the psychopathic megalomaniacs (who own the armies) who mainly reap the rewards - if rewards there be. As much as humanity has evolved technologically, our social evolution hasn't progressed significantly in at least 8,000 years.

For a clue or two about how our social evolution might be accelerated, visit .

Comment by Larken Rose
Entered on:

First, to Mr. Hall, thank you so much for your comment. The fact that people like you, the folks at IVAW, and others are identifying and pointing out the lie gives me hope. (Some folks think a civilian like myself has no business saying anything about it.) Since you mentioned him, I thought I'd quick quote some comments from Smedley Butler, who I also quote in "The Most Dangerous Superstition." This is from a man who, in his day, was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history. Here is some of what he had to say:

 Smedley Butler:

“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

Comment by Eric Hall
Entered on:

No less authority than the late Major General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps said "War Is A Racket". Having served during the Viet Nam War in vain, and having learned that it was entered into under false pretense, I have concluded that what is bandied about as patriotism is in reality a form of idolatry. This false worship of the state to the detriment of the individual because of other men's greed and their need for controlling others plays on the need of people to give and serve and be a part of something bigger than themselves. That is why this phenomenon is so tragic. Thanks Mr. Rose for the courage to speak truth even though many may not want to hear it. 

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