by Bob Avakian
Revolutionary Worker #1193, March 30, 2003, posted at http://rwor.org
by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, USA
Recently, the RW published a commentary that showed how the U.S. armed forces are not, and cannot be, a force for liberation.* They are the military instrument of the U.S. empire-- its machinery of mass slaughter, destruction, conquest and oppression--that is their essential purpose and role. This basic fact is even proclaimed by these armed forces themselves.
Take, for example, the Marine Corps Hymn. Check out how this hymn begins:
"From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We will fight our country's battles
In the air, on land and sea."
Of course, neither Tripoli nor "the halls of Montezuma" is in the United States. This is not a song about "defending America"--it is a celebration of aggression, of invasion and occupation of countries all over the world--acts which have been carried out time and time again, not just by the Marines but by all branches of the U.S. military.
In case this is not clear enough, the Marines' Hymn goes on to boast:
"Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun
In the snow of far off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines."
This passage in the Marines' Hymn-- and indeed the hymn as a whole-- smacks of the same arrogance as the British colonialists, during the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, who bragged that their empire was so great that "the sun never sets on it." As we know, such empires are established and maintained by armed forces of conquest. This is "the job" the Marines are "on"--this is what it means when the Marines' Hymn speaks of how they have fought wherever "we could take a gun."
Of course, the Marines' Hymn portrays all this as fighting "for right and freedom." That is hardly surprising, since every imperialist power has proclaimed that it is bringing "civilization"--or "liberation"--to the peoples it seeks to conquer and enslave, and that the "freedom and security" of the people at home depend on the defense, and expansion, of the empire abroad.
Rooted in slavery and genocide--expanding its wealth through the exploitation of immigrants-- enlarging its territory through the theft of Mexican land--the U.S. capitalist system, over the past century, has set out to expand its empire all over the globe, continuing its bloody conquest and oppression. From the Philippines 100 years ago, where U.S. invading armies massacred hundreds of thousands with the most gruesome atrocities...to Vietnam, where the U.S. killed millions, including many old people and children, and deliberately targeted farmlands and villages, dams, schools, and hospitals in a desperate but failed attempt to terrorize the Vietnamese people into submission... to the first Persian Gulf War, where tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed, followed by more than a million, many of them children, who have died as a result of sanctions enforced by the U.S. military (with its faithful sidekick, the British)...to the current war against Iraq... In country after country, in every part of the world... Through invasions and bombings, occupations and bloody coups, through the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons... Many millions have been massacred and many, many times that number have been subjected to horrendous conditions of life and slow agonizing death, as a direct result of the actions of U.S. imperialism- -wherever its armed enforcers "could take a gun."
And they celebrate this.
If you need further proof of this--look at the Marine Corps Hymn.** Listen to their own words.
*"Support the U.S. Armed Forces?...NO WAY!" RW #1192, online at rwor.org.
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