War: Thanks But No Thanks

The Battle of Missionary Ridge, fought the day before the "Thanksgiving Day" proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln.
The Battle of Missionary Ridge, fought the day before the “Thanksgiving Day” proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I seldom think of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people dining together (likely sans turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie) in Massachusetts in 1621.

Rather, my thoughts wander to Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation inviting his fellow citizens “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

What was Lincoln thankful for? “Fruitful fields and healthful skies” …  and Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.”

Wartime Thanksgiving holidays are the rule, not the exception. As Christian Oord reports at War History Online, the United States has enjoyed a whopping 17 years of peace in its 247 years of existence. It’s been at war 93% of the time since 1776 (that article was written in 2019, but nothing’s changed in a big way since then).

America’s wars are seldom formally declared. Nor does the US regime always go whole hog – in many cases, it fights through proxies, arming, funding, and looming threateningly behind client states (as in Ukraine’s war with Russia and Israel’s war with the Palestinian Arabs).

I’m not thankful for America’s wars.

I suppose I SHOULD be thankful that it’s been more than two decades since those wars last  came closer to my home in the form of major “blowback,” but I find it hard to dredge up much gratitude.

The deaths, injuries, and dispossessions caused partially or wholly by US foreign military adventurism – the toll comes to millions even if we write off everything prior to 9/11 – constitute a huge karmic debt, put on all our tabs in a perpetual dine-and-dash by the American political class.

We may not be noticeably paying that bill down now, but we’ll beyond doubt pay eventually, with interest … at which point the warmongers who brought the next terrible thing down on our heads will whine bitterly, from their secure bunkers in undisclosed locations, that the debt collectors “hate us for our freedom” and that the only solution is yet another round of war.

Is all that a little dark for a Thanksgiving column? Yeah, I guess so. But it’s where my thoughts are turning this week, which also marks 60 years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, likely by elements of the very national security state that keeps the US constantly at war and its people constantly in danger.

I am, of course, thankful for my family, my friends, my readers, etc. And as the American holiday season kicks off, my wish for all of you is that ever-elusive goal: An America, and a world, at peace. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

8 thoughts on “War: Thanks But No Thanks”

  1. William Lloyd Garrison was an interesting man. He would not condemn the killing by abolitionists, because he saw (unlike what is hidden in Gaza, has been hidden for 75 years) what it was like for black slaves, day after day, after day. He did not condemn the Nat Turner rebellion for the wanton killing during the rebellion. It was inevitable. Was the breakout from the concentration camp on 7Oct23 inevitable? Are there similarities with the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by a handful of Jews with a handful of weapons?

    I fervently wish that the country can turn itself around and not seek monsters abroad, or support monsters, but to be a force for peace.
    I am 80 now. Time is running out for me to see that happen. I am thankful for my wife, my family, my friends. I wish the same for everyone on every continent. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. The Pilgrims were ungrateful to the Native Americans that had a Thanksgiving meal with them. The USA committed genocide and ethnic cleansing against them. Blacks were brought here as slaves because the Native Americans died from wars and diseases and couldn’t be enslaved.
    The Pilgrims could have avoided causing problems by staying in Holland after leaving England.

  3. Here is some more history few Americans were ever taught in their indoctrination centers called schools.

    Mar 23, 2022 A Brief History Of The Trail of Tears

    The Trail of Tears refers to the forced displacement of what white American colonizers called “The Five Civilized Tribes”. Over twenty years between 1830 and 1850; somewhere around 60,000 to 100,000 Native Americans were forced from their homes into the land the new Government had decided would be “Indian Territory”. During their removal, countless died from exposure, disease, and starvation. Their unnecessary deaths are now seen as a near-genocidal event, and the route they walked and died upon is forevermore known as The Trail of Tears.


  4. Re: The without a doubt payment with interest…
    Much of the world knows very well what America is all about. The same cannot be said of the Americans themselves about their own country with many, if not most, thinking they live in a country of milk and honey. However, despite their “93% of the time” existence as a warring nation, most humans relate to one another on a level far beyond the comprehension of the elite masters of the world. Humans are more prone to resist injustice than they are to revenge. It’s easier to stand up to a bully than it is to muster up the effort to go over to his house, when he is “off-bullying mode” to cause a raucous. Most people in the world don’t hate America, they are just tired and wary of their nation’s shenanigans across the world. They can’t wait for America to go on holiday or somehow be restrained from their relentless bullying and wanton rampages. It’s understandable their maybe sporadic occurrences of blowback, isolated terrorist attacks, etc, but these are the exceptions not the norms considering how many nations and peoples that may have a bone to pick with Uncle Sam. I can assure you the number of such acts and it’s facilitators is much lower than the number of stateside serial killers. At the end of the day, the blowback due will come up creeping from within the US borders, from a citizenry traumatized by its own nation’s violent history and the psychological effects plaguing them. The systematic culling of the targeted population from suspect epidemics and a broken health care system; zombification of the masses through controlled media, consumerism and drug addiction; degradation of the human condition via debt, racism, stereotypical discrimination (this is deployed across all so called races depending on the need, currently white men are feeling the pinch); poisoning of the human spirit via mass exposure to porn, promotion of promiscuity, unusual sexual lifestyles, systematic dismantling of the the foundations of family, promotion of vague and often times demoralising religious practices all under the guise of supreme court approved “rights”, stripping of children of their innocence through sex change agenda, etc etc. I won’t even go into the potential blowback from war veterans whose brains, if they survive the psyco drugs and/or haven’t hit rock bottom and suicided themselves. In all the catastrophic policies that the US’ political establishment and its wealthy elites have affected upon world, their is no greater victim to them than the American people themselves. The rest of the people of the world knows this, it’s a shame the Americans themselves cannot see it.

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