A Christmas Truce Would
Come in Very Handy Right About Now
David Swanson / World BEYOND War
(December 14, 2021) — Ya gotta love how the US media annually freaks out about a “War on Christmas” (by which it means something completely unrelated to any wars) while the US military always has several actual wars going on over the Christmas holiday, the same as every other day. Perhaps especially on Christmas, as George Washington’s slaughter of drunk and sleeping British soldiers on Christmas 1776 has been rendered so “special” that it’s claimed as the very first in a string of millions of glorious “special forces” actions, and the wars now generally consist of oh-so-special actions.
When the New York Times reported two years later on a 2019 bombing of a crowd of civilians in Syria, it framed it, just as it had a drone-missile murder in Kabul that had followed 20 years of such murders in Afghanistan, as a sort of aberration.
But the Times later felt obliged to report that the Syria bombing followed a pattern of killing by a super-secret special unit that dominated the war. It seemed just possible that some of the Times’ sources — people responsible for the killings — had urged the Times to be a bit more forthcoming.
Of course, when it came to the Kabul killing of an innocent family, the US military “investigated” itself and determined that nobody had done anything wrong — not just a dubious conclusion, but one arrived at as the result of a privilege afforded no other murderers on Earth.
The US government is arming and participating in a war on Yemen, *STILL* keeping unwanted troops in Iraq, and bombing and claiming the right to continue bombing Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, etc.
The US government has ceased reporting on its bombings through what was a source for serious journalists. So, it’s hard to know how much the depiction of a virtual end to all the bombings is due to a decrease in bombings and how much a decrease in reporting.
We do know that, at some level, the bombings and the threats of bombings, and the deployments of “special” forces all continue in numerous nations. We know that Biden demanded a bigger military budget than Trump, and that Congress gave him one even bigger than he demanded.
We know that virtually everything that could be done to exacerbate the risk of major war in Ukraine, Taiwan, and Iran is being done, while the US still has time to go on preventing peace in Korea.
We know that weapons shipments to every flavor of nasty government around the world are flowing out of US ports like pus out of an imperial infection.
The Secretary General of the United Nations has long since proposed a pandemic truce. Come February, there may be another Olympics, with or without the Olympic truce for which there is some precedent.
Peace groups are talking about asking Congress in 2022 to please end US participation in the war on Yemen. (After all, December is for shopping and schmoozing with campaign bribers.) But what about something a little sooner?
What about a Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Solstice truce? (Felt like I should join the “war on Christmas” in that last sentence just to be clear that I’m proposing to end actual wars.) On one hand, a Christmas truce would be extremely difficult. The public is clueless, and the Congress bought and owned.
On the other hand, for air-conditioned warriors who simply have to introduce a war powers resolution and vote “Yay,” we’re asking very little. The Christmas truces of World War I were created by people actually risking their lives and overcoming a steady diet of propaganda to befriend their enemies — and not over Zoom.
The military is powerful, but it’s not going to jack-kennedy 535 Congress Members if they all spend 7 or 8 minutes away from their important duties to end all current US wars.
I think that at least annually — if not more frequently — we should try recalling what happened during the Great War (“great,” my ass).
German and British soldiers fraternize – Christmas 1914.
A photo from a collection on the Christmas Truce.
Here are some records of what went on:
• A Christmas truce letter is here.
• And here’s a script that turns the above letter into a play that can be performed on Christmas by anyone who likes: PDF.
• Here’s an account from someone who was there: Bullets and Billets.
• Eyewitness account from Frank Richards.
• Here’s Belleau Wood lyrics by Joe Henry and Garth Brooks.
• Here’s Christmas in the Trenches lyrics by John McCutcheon, and videos below.
• There’s a movie too.
• The last known survivor of the 1914 no-man’s-land football died on July 22nd, 2001, aged 106: Bertie Felstead.
• There were also Christmas truces in 1915 and 1916.
• A poem: The Christmas Truce of 1914 Seen from 2014.
• How to sing Silent Night in various languages.
• Snoopy’s Christmas lyrics.
• The Open Christmas Letter.