by Stephen Lendman
On Christmas day it rages. Holidays are no exception. America's killing machine observes none. Mass slaughter and destruction continue. It's longstanding US policy.
Historian Gabriel called the 20th century "the bloodiest in all history." Civilians suffered most.
Wars ravage humanity. New millennium ones rage. America bears most responsibility. Its quest for global dominance takes millions of lives. US leaders consider it a small price to pay.
Calls for peace go unheeded. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ said: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the sons of God."
In Syria, Christmas day violence restricted observances to prayers and masses. Martyrs who fought US-sponsored death squads were honored.
They died "for the safety of the homeland," said the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
Mass was held at the Mariamate Cathedral of Damascus. Patriach Yahanna X Yazaji led it.
He prayed to God for peace in Syria. Patriarch Josef al-Absi led another mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Dormition in Damascus.
He called for reconciliation, saying:
"(W)e are in need to be Syrians, as nationality is our nature and originality." He prayed to preserve Syria, protect its president, its army, and restore prosperity.
In occupied Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Sebastia Atallah Hanna said Christmas and New Year's celebrations would be subdued. They're limited to expressing solidarity with Syria.
He stressed close ties between Palestinians and Syrians, adding:
"(H)ow can I be happy during the holiday (season) when I see my brothers the bishops, my sisters the nuns abducted, and the Syrian people deprived of the joy of holidays?"
He expressed confidence in Syria's ability to overcome its ordeal. He thanked its leadership.
He praised the solidarity of its people. He did so against hostile invaders. He recognized the courage of Syrian soldiers.
He called violence an "imported phenomenon." The vast majority of Syrians oppose it. He offered condolences for those who lost loved ones.
He said terrorist attacks on Syrians threaten all humanity. It's everyone's duty to defend Syria, he stressed.
He denounced the Adra massacre. He blamed Arab Gulf states and holier than thou so-called democracies. They boast about human rights, he said.
They're indifferent to mass slaughter, destruction and human misery. They support crimes of war and against humanity. They bear full responsibility for ravaging Syria.
On December 12, Pope Francis delivered his first Message for the World Day of Peace.
"I wish to offer to everyone, individuals and peoples, my best wishes for a life filled with joy and hope," he said.
"In many parts of the world, there seems to be no end to grave offenses against fundamental human rights..."
"Can the men and women of this world…ever manage…to overcome indifference, egoism and hatred, and…accept…legitimate differences..."
(F)raternity (is) the foundation (of a) pathway to peace."
"An authentic spirit of fraternity overcomes the individual selfishness which conflicts with people's ability to live in freedom and in harmony among themselves."
"(O)nly love...enables us to accept and fully experience fraternity."
May "service to persons…bring peace...on this beloved earth."
Remember 1914's Christmas truce. It was during WW I. German and Allied forces stopped fighting.
Fraternization stopped war. Soldiers on both sides left their trenches. They did so over half the front. They took time off from fighting.
They defied orders calling "such an attitude…dangerous…(It) destroys the offensive spirit..."
They shook hands. They buried their dead. They chatted with each other. They enjoyed calm. They played football.
Unofficial truces occurred other times throughout history. They did several times during WW I. Never on the scale of Christmas 1914.
It sent a message heard today. War is the enemy of peace. It's the scourge of humanity. It risks annihilating it altogether. Waging peace, not war, matters most.
Wars are immoral, dirty, unjust and illegal. Good ones don't exist. They never did. WW II was worst of all. More on that below.
On October 15, 1900, Mark Twain expressed outrage about America slaughtering Filipinos. Things then were like today.
Imperial conquest isn't pretty. Mark Twain denounced it, saying:
"...I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines."
We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem."
"And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."
"We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields, burned their villages, turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors, (and) subjugated the remaining ten million by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket..."
He proposed a new American flag. He envisioned one "with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones."
He was appalled that General Jacob Smith ordered his troops to "kill and burn."
"(T)his is no time to take prisoners," he said. (T)he more you kill and burn, the better."
"Kill all above the age of ten. (T)urn (the Philippines into) a howling wilderness."
Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide remain official US policy.
In his book titled "The Good War: An Oral History of World War II," Studs Terkel explained its good and bad sides. He did so through people who experienced it.
The only thing good was that America was spared. It "was the only country among the combatants that was neither invaded nor bombed," said Terkel. "Ours were the only cities not blasted to rubble."
The bad side was how it "warped our view of how we look at things today." We see them through the prism "of war."
"This twisted memory…encourages (people) to be willing, almost eager, to use military force" to solve problems. They exacerbate them more each time.
Wars are "lunatic" acts, said Terkel. They resolve nothing. They're horrific by any standard. They turn ordinary people into crazed killers. They destroy any hope for peace.
Howard Zinn denounced the myth of good wars. They prevent peace. They perpetuate violence. World War II was worst of all.
Modern warfare is indifferent about who dies from 30,000 feet. "You just press a button, you know, and somebody dies," said Zinn.
You don't see faceless victims. You don't hear children scream. You don't know about human flesh ripped to pieces. You think you're the good guys. Kill the bad ones.
"World War II is not that simple," said Zinn. "The good guys became the bad guys. War poisons everybody. It corrupts everybody."
Neither side reflects saintliness. Both sides are villains. All sides slaughtering civilians demand condemnation.
Did WW II stop fascism, asked Zinn? Did it stop racist persecution? Did it end militarism? Did it restore peace?
When it ended, Zinn got a letter from General George Marshall. It wasn't a "Dear Howie," he said.
All US armed forces personnel got the same one. It was "something like this," said Zinn.
"We've won the war. Congratulations for your service. It will be a new world."
"It wasn't a new world," said Zinn. "War after war after war after war" followed. They rage today. The second war to end all wars perpetuated them.
Millions died for nothing. Fascism, despotism and militarism didn't end. Zinn said wars can't be tolerated "no matter what we're told."
So-called good wars don't exist. They're worst of all. Every one harms civilians most of all. Children suffer like adults. Wars institutionalize violence. It persists globally.
If enough soldiers refuse to fight, if enough people say no more, if mass outrage demands peace, only then can things change.
Post-WW II, America had no enemies except ones it invents. Gratuitous slaughter persists. Imperial adventurism works this way.
Planet earth is America's battleground. How many more millions must die? How much human misery is enough? When will swords be turned into plowshares?
How much longer will populations tolerate what demands mass uprisings to stop? When will America be challenged righteously?
When will one century of war after another end? Is peace in our time possible? Will humanity survive long enough to find out?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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