My pal, Alon Shalev, writes a daily blog, Left Coast Voices http://leftcoastvoices.wordpress.com/author/leftcoastvoices/) on subjects about which he is an activist. Alon chose, for his Veterans Day posting, to feature marine sergeant, Andy Brandi, the PTSD counselor I met back in New Mexico.
Although I have drafts of several posts in my blogging queue, after reading Alon’s post, I decided to share some of my own thoughts of Veterans day. My firmest rule of this blog is to maintain political neutrality. Nothing below is intended to support a political cause, platform, or party.
I am a pacifist, but I am not single-minded about it. I believe there is a time to stand and fight—that time—paraphrasing British politician, Tony Benn, is after diplomacy has failed.
I have some resentments about the wars my country has been involved in this last decade.
I will admit that my first reaction to 9/11 was that somebody needed to be bombed. That reaction diluted when it was clear that the attack was the work of an international hoodlum, a coward who hid in a cave an inspired a few wild-eyed men who needed to act out.
I still resent the biggest lie in a half-century that we needed to attack Iraq again– ostensibly because Saddam Hussein, like us, had weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found. It was a war about oil. What we spent on that war would have bought every single drop of oil under the Iraqi desert.
Most of all I resent the campaign that equated the nonsupport for the war to nonsupport for the troops. The way to support and respect our brave warriors is not to order them to fight in a frivolous war, to beef up the machismo of elected officials, or to enrich the cash cows of industries, which profit from equipping and prosecuting military adventures.
If you are only lately coming to the notion that the waging of war by the United States has a momentum and inertia of its own, you’ll be interested in Major General Smedley Butler’s book, War as a Racket, first published in 1935. Butler, at the time of his death in 1940, was the most decorated Marine in American history.
The cost of war is several times the cash tally when the fighting ends. What is the cost of a generation of family disruption and violence? What is the cost of alcohol and drug self-medication of thousands of damaged warriors? What is the emotional cost to the families—parents, siblings, spouses, and children—of young people returning from a tour a duty who are “not the same” or “having a hard time”?
I support out troops. I am furious at the profiteers and the sycophancy of their legion of parasitic politicians.
Tomorrow, I will return as the Curious Traveler, Chronicler of the Odd and Amusing, with the upbeat stories I am much more comfortable with.