The U.S. House of Representatives is getting ready to pass the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act, which, as the name implies, would authorize the creation of a National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial on federal land in Washington D.C.
The problem with the war memorials in our nation’s capital is that they don’t actually encourage people to remember what happened in particular wars. There are trite, formulaic expressions about bravery and sacrifice, but nothing much beyond that. There are no plaques reminding people of the lies and treachery that have accompanied the eager march toward combat. There are no words honoring the civilian victims of our nation’s wars.
If we had an honest National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial, it would have to point out the millions of non-combatants that died as the result of that war. It would have to remind people that, if America hadn’t launched Desert Storm and Desert Shield, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 probably never would have taken place.
Imagine what would happen if Congress passed a law requiring that war memorials show visitors the complete, unfiltered experience of our country’s wars. I imagine that no one would introduce legislation to build a new war memorial ever again.