I don’t get all gooey over US soldiers. No, I have never served in the military, although I could have been drafted to fill a body bag in Việt Nam. Yes, I applaud the admirable courage our soldiers show, and our veterans have shown, as well as their commendable devotion to duty. But that courage extends only so far: our military men and women can face enemy fire without fear, but they cannot face down our misleaders with the same audacity. I cannot completely blame them: most believe what they are told, like the religion shoved down their throats since they were old enough to be abused by clerics, and the rest either don’t think for themselves, or can’t, or don’t care to.
Therefore, I am in partial agreement with what RJ Evans wrote in the first paragraph below: I am grateful for the freedom for which our military fought 65 years ago.
As a former Marine who served two years during peace time… I extend my sincere thanks and love to all military veterans for their service. To the families of those who have perished in service to our country, I extend my condolences and my sincere hope that you find peace through time.
To the politicians who put our service men and women in harm’s way for political gain, corporate greed, and religious ideology… Fuck You.
Here’s the thing: I have not seen in my lifetime (of some 57 years) any military conflict, in which the US has been engaged, in which anybody can honestly say our country’s freedom has been at stake. From the Korean “police action,” through Vietnam, to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, my country has shown in equal measure its strength and its stupidity. This is not in any way the fault of our soldiers. But I believe we have become a nation of sheep. I wish that the protests surrounding the Vietnam War, with which I grew up, would return with the same passion and disrespect for authority.
On this Veterans Day, I salute our soldiers. But, like RJ, I save for our misleaders my special one-finger salute.