Once again, the war on terror has failed dramatically. Aerial bombardments struck a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan, early Saturday morning. A death toll of 19 was confirmed by the organization, and there has been minimal backlash on social media and in the news for the “mistake.”
Let’s be honest with ourselves about this. If any other country did this there would be intense scrutiny and backlash from the international community. Since it was the USA who bombed the hospital, it’ll just be written off as a mistake and the dead will be remembered as “collateral damage.” Why is this the case?
The 21st century has ushered in a new era of American patriotism. A patriotism that is fake. A patriotism cloaked in “God Bless America” and red, white and blue. A patriotism that has, for lack of a better term, dehumanized an entire region of the globe. This type of blind patriotism is dangerous. It creates a societal mentality that believes America can do nothing wrong. Very little outrage from the public occurs when we blatantly do something wrong, leaving almost zero accountability on behalf of the U.S. government. This is one factor that contributes to the infallibility of American foreign policy.
A second factor by and large is the size and scope of the military industrial complex. We’ve spent roughly 1.2 trillion (with a ‘t’) dollars on the military in the past two years alone. With no actual wars going on, and an elusive enemy known as terrorism, why are we spending this much? The reason is that a good number of our politicians receive hefty campaign contributions from military contractors. The three largest military contractors (Lockheed Martin, Northrup Gruman and Boeing) spent around 7.5 million dollars in the last election cycle. These contractors build bombs that kill people, build planes that kill people, build guns that kill people, etc. All the while, a quarter of our children go to bed hungry every night, our roads are crumbling, education is becoming more expensive, health care costs continue to rise, and the list goes on.
Thirdly, we have an entire party that distracts us from the mistakes our government makes internationally and divides us on abortion, gay marriage, etc. Republicans have successfully fooled half of this country. We often hear about Iranian citizens chanting “Death to America!” in the streets of Tehran on the evening news. But what about the entire party in this country that can’t wait to go to war with Iran? Let’s not forget, this is the party (and some Democrats as well) that fooled us into thinking Iraq had nuclear weapons. They were wrong, still are, and probably will always be when it comes to foreign policy.
As a nation and as a more connected generation, it is our duty to hold our government accountable for its wrongdoings. We have all the tools and resources to do so, so let’s do it. Finally, in the words of the late Carl Sagan: “The old exhortations to nationalist fervor and jingoist pride have begun to lose their appeal … A new consciousness is developing which recognizes that we are one species.”