Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Investing in Peace
I don't think that forgiving through forgetting is a very good strategy even if it is one which we all rely on someway in our lives. I think it is far better to forgive something through its full awareness and through the confronting and accepting of as many uncomfortable or difficult dimensions as you can handle. This event on Wednesday is important because of that very reason. It is looking at parts of the war story which we don't usually blazon about each July during Liberation Day celebrations. Those celebrations are meant to convey the power of the US, its gloriousness and the dutiful dependency and subordination that Chamorros still get to inhabit up until today because of it. If you have ever wondered how the lives of Chamorros have become so militarized, so naturally accustomed to the military and to it and its principles being at the top of society, so much of it has to do with the way we have embedded the lessons of Liberation Day as the lessons of our lives. From the perspective of the happy ending of the World War II story, there appears to be no real downside to militarization. The more military, the safer you are. Military is a great awesome presence for good and seems to have very little detrimental effect on society except for when its the military of your enemies involved. It is no wonder that when the buildup was first announced in 2005, almost no one could imagine negatives. It is one thing to say that you couldn't prove or theorize negatives since nothing had really been decided at that point, but for people to have so much trouble imagining even that a massive increase in population would in some way be bad is truly incredible.
What I like about this event is that it focuses on the part of the war which we too often glaze over and fast forward through to get to the happy and patriotic ending. The start of the war doesn't inspire much confidence in the US or stir up much patriotism. It is a time which shows the limits of militarism, where the US had long assumed for decades that Guam could not be defended and so even when it knew war was coming chose to do close to nothing to prepare the island. Guam was left to be sacrificed, and if a New World Order war was to take place today would things be any different? Congresswoman Bordallo likes to say that the more military the island has the safer it is, but any sane person knows that such is not the case. The more military on Guam, the more militarized the Asia-Pacific region in general becomes, the more dangerous things are for Guam. 100,000 Marines in Guam might deter outright war with someone like China, but if it ever came down to actual war, China would not be invading Guam and hitting the beaches and those 100,000 Marines would valiantly defend the beaches and hold them at bay. No, it would simply bomb Guam and soften it up, which every nation including the US does now before it strikes. How much good would those 100,000 Marines do then? Very little.
Remembering how the war began is essential because it is a solemn reminder of the need for peace. The lessons are much more difficult then just pretending that Uncle Sam and his sack of Spam will always be waiting for you just over the ridge in Manengon Valley, but for a place which is the tip of America's military spear, peace is a far better investment than war.