Something to Think About on Veterans Day
Happy Veterans Day — especially to those who served this nation, both past and present.
Let’s take a moment to remember what this day was really intended to celebrate and who it’s designed to honor.
Veterans Day was first proclaimed on November 11, 1919. It was initially called “Armistice Day.” Thereafter, it became a national holiday intended to honor all of the men and women who have served in the United States armed forces.
The date of origin is important. It carries with it a special meaning. Recall that World War I ended at precisely the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month — of the year 1918. That totally pointless war, which all began because of some ridiculous political assassination of a worthless member of a so-called “royal family” in Sarajevo (what in the hell is an “Archduke?”), ended up costing n estimated 20 million needless deaths, mostly in Europe. Twenty million people dead because of some clown marching around with a feather in his hat caught a bullet in the abdomen. But 116,000 Americans were killed too in that bloody conflict, and another 360,000 were seriously wounded. Since then, historians have asked — why?
Even had the United States stayed completely out of the war and not joined the fight, the outcome and political aftermath of the continent it was fought upon would likely have been the same. In other words, America joining the war didn’t make much of a difference. Which reminds me of the notion written by novelist Irwin Shaw in The Young Lions, which goes something like this: “After all the arms and legs have been blown off, nothing much changes.”
Indeed, it’s our veterans who bear the scars, some we see and many more that we don’t. It’s veterans who pay the highest price for all the cowardly flag-waving politicians of both parties so eager to send younger men (and women) than themselves into harms way, in some cases knowingly off to their deaths. It’s veterans who are asked to make the biggest sacrifices while the rest of us make virtually none at all. It’s with some shame that I include myself in this company.
Sadly, we’re now repeating history. Again. Instead of learning from our past, we forget about it. We engage in hostile conflicts and occupations of foreign lands which come at a terrible price — both financial and human.
Think about it. The United States has virtually been a perpetual state of war with someone out there across the seas ever since we adopted imperialism and colonialism as a national sense of purpose. No nation has engaged in more wars in its history than America [LIST OF ALL WARS AMERICA HAS ENGAGED IN HERE]. No nation has gone into more conflicts within the past 100 years than we have. And right now, the United States has military bases in 63 different countries. We have troops in 130 different nations. Those figures are obscene, especially while parts of our own nation are crumbling. We aren’t the world’s policeman. We’re an arrogant, know-it-all, superhero pretender exposing our young people to perpetual hostilities and violence while our politicians make speeches about freedom and giant corporations post billions in profits greasing those same politicians and the war-making machinery.
We continue to lie and tell ourselves that they’re serving “over there” so we don’t have to fight the enemy “over here” — wherever that means. This outright deception didn’t start with sending our troops into Afghanistan and Iraq (under false pretenses). It’s been the cornerstone of American policy for the past 100 years. The evidence is overwhelming — two world wars, four more costly prolonged battles which were undeclared, repeated foreign invasions, ceaseless occupations, and a nauseating display of firepower which constantly circles the globe in the form of ships and submarines and aircraft and drones and rockets and satellites supposedly protecting us whoever the enemy flavor of the month is this time — be it the Russians or the Chinese or the Koreans or the Vietnamese or Al Queda or now ISIS, It never fucking ends.
How about we try this. Let other countries take care of their own security. What an original idea. How about letting our so-called allies bear more of the cost? If they think it’s important enough to build planes and ships and send their finest young people off to war, then so be it. But be certain — this will never happen. Not as long as both parties are bought and paid for by the war machine, and the military contractors have our government by the balls, and the fairy dust of fear continues to be sprinkled upon the ignorant and gullible masses.
Bringing the troops home. That’s best gift we can give the troops. That the way to honor veterans. By not ignoring our history, but from learning from it.
READ MORE: Cheney’s Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War (this figure doesn’t even include Afghanistan profits)