By David Swanson: Doughboys and Dumb Things Humans have Done!
This November 11th at 11 a.m. will mark 95 years since World War I ended. Next July 28th will mark 100 years since it started. The world war, the great war, the war for no good reason, the war of poison gas, the war to end all wars, the war for mass stupidity, the war that went on for days after the Germans agreed to end it, the war that continued until 11 a.m. as that time had been set to end it, the war whose last man killed in action was a suicidal American who ran at the Germansat 10:59.the war that in fact was intentionally not ended but extended into mass-punishment of the German people until World War II could be commenced, this century-old piece of historical stupidity that shames our species is about to be commemorated on a serious scale, so dust off your gas masks and get ready. A hundred years. A hundred years. A hundred ever-loving years, and we've neither learned that wars don't end wars nor ever really ended World War II, ever brought the troops home from Japan and Germany, ever scaled back the taxation and military spending and foreign basing and war profiteering. The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten War by Richard Rubin is 500 pages of excellent history of World War I but without the appropriate rejection of the decision to go to war or the embarrassment one should feel for those who thought they could find glory or goodness by joining in this mass murdering madness. We tend to look down on all sorts of aspects of early 20th century morality. Colonialism, sexism, racism, corporal punishment in schools, creationism you name it, we've moved on. Yet writers still recount wars as if the decision to take part in them were neutral or admirable. In a way this makes sense, given what we're all taught about history. The Khan Academy is a wonderful website for kids, or anyone to use in learning math. But if you click over to the section on history its literally nothing but wars. Perhaps they plan to add in a few unimportant things that happened during the pauses in between wars, but they haven't done so yet. Its' nothing but war after war. That's history. President Kennedy supposedly said Lincoln would have been nothing without the Civil War, it takes war to make greatness. It takes war to be in the history books. Richard Rubin found and interviewed the last remaining U.S. veterans of World War I before they died. As he spoke with them their average age was 107. Everything he learned and recorded is of great interest, but much of it is simply about what it's like to become 107. Everything he learned and recorded is of great interest, but much of it is simply about what it's like to become 107. Everything he learned and recorded is of great interest, but much of it is simply about what it's like to become 107. Such a study could have been done of non-veterans. A comparison could hsve been done of non-veterans. A comparison could have been made of veterans and non-veterans. Or a study like this one could have looked at World War I resisters. That there's not a similar book about them, and now can never be, says little about them and a great deal about all of us. A comparison of the lifespan of veterans and refuseniks would have been an interesting test of the author's theory that going along to get along increases your life.