The Best Way to Honor Fallen Soldiers Is to Stop Sending Troops to War

Monday, May 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Carey Wedler
ActivistPost.com
MAY 27, 2019

Every Memorial Day, Americans pay their respects to soldiers who have died while fighting for the US military. Though the good intentions and courage of those who enlist in the armed forces are admirable, the best way to honor those individuals on this holiday—and every day—is to stop sending them to war.

This pro-peace sentiment is often conflated with disrespect for the troops: If you don’t support the government’s wars, you must not support the soldiers fighting in them. However, considering the great cost to human life inflicted by military conflicts—the immense suffering soldiers, their families, and civilians in battleground countries endure—scaling back the size and scope of military programs is not only the best way to respect the troops but also a necessary measure to preserve liberty and freedom.

Militarism
Though America was founded on the principles of limited government and skepticism of the state, popular political discourse and the politicians who perpetuate it too often fail to apply this wise distrust to militarism, which is an extension of government. Indeed, Memorial Day was established following the Civil War, where as many as 750,000 Americans died fighting each other on behalf of their splintered governments.

According to one 2015 estimate by PBS, over 1.1 million Americans have died fighting in wars throughout US history. In recent decades, especially, these wars have been spurred by state corruption. As General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned when he left office in 1961, observing the build-up of the defense industry following World War II:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Potential Ulterior Motives in Big Army Contracts

In the subsequent years, an arms industry dependent upon government funds grew bigger and increasingly powerful, gobbling up taxpayer dollars in the form of deals with the Department of Defense. In September 2018 alone, Boeing received 20 contracts worth $13.7 billion. In November 2018, Lockheed Martin scored a nearly $23 billion contract for F-35 jets. As with all big government programs, inefficiency, waste, and corruption have plagued this state-subsidized industry.

From the military paying $300,000 for coffee mugs or a projected $1.5 trillion over 55 years for Lockheed’s notoriously faulty F-35s, there are hardly any better examples of the perils of intrusive government than the current military establishment. In one instance, the Pentagon could not account for over $21 trillion dollars in “unsupported journal voucher adjustments,” a term that “refers to improperly documented accounting adjustments that are made when different financial ledgers do not match,” as the New York Times explains.

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