Opinion. Connecting the dots by American author Hal O’Leary

Opinion. Connecting the dots by American author Hal O’Leary

Pythagore 2000. Photo attribution DanyJack Mercier

Opinion. Connecting the dots by American author Hal O’Leary… All men are created equal? . . . life, LIBERTY?…

“To begin at the beginning” (if I may borrow a phrase from Dylan Thomas), with the birth of a nation founded on the principles stated so elegantly by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All men are created equal? . . . life, LIBERTY? . . . This amid an accommodation of slavery so necessary for economic growth and an accommodation of genocide so necessary for territorial growth? With apologies to and for Jefferson, a slaveholder himself( but one I admire for many other reasons), we cannot help but admit that his premise smacks of hypocrisy.

Connect the dots.

But there was no hypocrisy in the secession of Texas from Mexico and its annexation by the United States; it was a blatant and admitted desire for coast-to-coast territorial expansion by the United States, to be accomplished by a boastful, brazen and blatant force of arms. Unfortunately, this greedy desire for expansion made necessary the genocide of Native Americans.

Connect the dots.

At the close of the nineteenth century, the battleship USS Maine sank in Havana Harbor under suspicious circumstances, giving American forces an excuse to invade Cuba and drive out the Spanish. While great historical emphasis is given to the war in Cuba, little attention is given to the shameful and simultaneous acquisition of the Philippines, another Spanish colony, taking place in the Far East. It was shameful in that after the Spanish were driven out, the Philippines sought independence, but such was not to be. War between America and the Philippines broke out and lasted for more than three years, with estimated Filipino casualties placed at between 34,000 and 1,000,000. It ended with American annexation. American expansion had suddenly gone global.

Connect the dots.

It was just a few years later during World War I that the liner RMS Lusitania sank off the coast of Ireland with a loss of 128 American lives. It had been hit by a single torpedo from a German submarine which was assumed to be the cause of her sinking. However, it was determined by divers in 2008 that the ship actually sank as the result of secondary explosions of munitions in her hold, in violation of U.S. neutrality. Although President Wilson denied knowledge of the munitions, we will never know the truth. In any event, the incident took us into World War I.

Connect the dots.

We thus come to the Big War, World War II, and as in World War I, America found it necessary to secretly supply the English with arms and munitions through a “lend-lease” program. This time, however, it was not the sinking of a single ship that took us to war, but of several. It was the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. It came as a great surprise to all but the high-ranking officials who had manipulated Japan into a desperate situation that all but determined that they strike. This bit of chicanery was followed by the shameful incarceration of thousands of Japanese-American citizens on the west coast, a distinct violation of the Constitution. But even this insanity could in no way match the horror of the inexcusable bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With them came the sudden realization that mankind had conceived a weapon by which we might very well do ourselves in.

Connect the dots.

The Korean War was euphemistically referred to as a “United Nations Police Action” with a rather hefty loss of more than 2,000,000 lives. Some police action. It was really a proxy war between two ideologies to determine the military strength of each, just as was the Spanish Civil War. It is the only major war in history never to have ended. There were, however, winners and losers, as there are in every war. There were the losers who died, for no reason other than to make the winning bankers and armaments manufacturers even richer.

Connect the dots.

In the Vietnam War that followed, 58,183 American soldiers died; more than four million civilians were killed or wounded. However, these numbers do not take into account the fact that because of the use of chemical weapons, people are still dying, all at a cost to the American taxpayer of 165 billion dollars. This horror story is the result of the little lie of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which never occurred. It was reported that the USS Maddox had been attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats, and this report, although known to be false, was used to persuade the American public to support a war that should never have been fought. It is interesting to note that we now find an America that had never lost a war up to and including World War II in the position of having fought to a stalemate in Korea, and having lost in Vietnam. Then, of course, came a most dubious “victory” in Iraq and, after more than two decades of fighting, we find ourselves with the distinct possibility of losing to the Taliban in Afghanistan, as have both the British and Soviets before us.

Connect the dots.

These last two bombings and incursions, first, into Afghanistan, for complicity in the attacks on 9/11 for which there is insufficient evidence, and then Iraq, for possessing weapons of mass destruction which were never found, are international crimes against humanity. It might be wise to look into the dots that reflect a truth that must, in some fashion, be dealt with. Apart from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the most pressing issue to be resolved is the issue of accountability for 9/11. If a propeller-driven light aircraft crashes anywhere in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene within hours for a thorough investigation. Here, we have four alleged crashes with a loss of more than three thousand lives, and it took more than a year for the President to agree to an abysmally limited investigation, and then only in response to tremendous pressure brought by the families of those who were killed. We would do well to connect a few dots here, as well:

Following 9/11, President Bush demanded that the Taliban surrender Bin Laden. They said that they would do so upon receipt of evidence showing that Bin Laden was responsible for the hijackings. Bush refused to submit any such evidence and proceeded to bomb Afghanistan.

Plans for the bombing of Afghanistan were on Bush’s desk prior to 9/11.

The crime of 9/11 does not appear on Bin Laden’s FBI wanted poster. When asked why, the agency replied that they had no “hard evidence” of his involvement.

The chairman and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, in their book Without Precedent, state that they were “set up up to fail” and were “misled,” leading them to contemplate “slapping officials with criminal charges.”

Connect the dots.

We are now confronted with a situation in which the “checks and balances” set down by the Constitution for the three branches of government no longer function. The Executive Branch has now taken unto itself the power to declare war, suspend Habeas Corpus, order the assassination of American Citizens without due process, detain citizens indefinitely without stating cause, make use of the practice of extraordinary extradition, and torture detainees under the euphemism of “enhanced interrogation.”

Connect the dots.

When you have connected all the dots, you may find a nation quite different from the one whose textbook history and American “Exceptionalism” have taught you to believe in. You’ve heard that hideous phrase shouted by pseud-patriots, “MY COUNTRY, RIGHT OR WRONG,” ignoring or excusing America for its somewhat sordid past as well as its dubious future. If so, you might do well to consider the source of that misused phrase. It was Senator Carl Schurz on the floor of the Senate on February 29, 1872, who felt a need to correct a far less-erudite and exceedingly bombastic colleague:

“The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, ‘My country, right or wrong.’ In one sense I say so, too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

His statement was followed by thunderous applause.

Connect the dots.

View Comments (1)

Hal O’Leary is an eighty-seven-year-old Secular Humanist who believes that it is only through the arts that one is afforded an occasional glimpse into the otherwise incomprehensible. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from West Liberty University.

More in Books

Creatives working at The Phoenix Artist

Independent venue launches hub for London’s creative community

Yareah MagazineJuly 19, 2016

Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap. A Midnight Clear in Kansas

Yareah MagazineJune 19, 2016
The Nantucket Book Festival

Book lovers. The Nantucket Book Festival features a stellar line-up of authors and events

Yareah MagazineMay 11, 2016
Ceramics by Sister Augustine

Author John Schlimm has won a Christopher Award for Five Years in Heaven

Yareah MagazineMay 5, 2016
Ken O'neill. Casino Woman in Red Throwing Dice

Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap. Today: burn baby burn

Jenean C GilstrapApril 24, 2016
Lions painted in the Chauvet Cave. This is a replica of the painting from the Brno museum Anthropos. The absence of the mane sometimes leads to these paintings being described as portraits of lionesses. Source: Wikipedia. Author: HTO - Own work (own photo)

Sunday Poetry with Gypsy Woman, Jenean C. Gilstrap. Today: Home

Jenean C GilstrapApril 17, 2016

Yareah Magazine

Art is Everywhere and Up to You.

About Us - Press Kit - Contact Us

YM on Twitter

Top Posts & Pages

Yareah® Magazine is a Registered Trademark in the United States