We Are Combat Vets and We Want America to Reboot Memorial Day

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    • #319017
      Passionate Progressive
      • Total Posts: 2,142

      Pandemic or no, resilient Americans will celebrate Memorial Day together. Be it through Zoom or spaced six feet apart from ten or less loved ones at backyard cookouts, folks will find a way. In these peculiar gatherings, is it still considered cynical to wonder if people will spare much actual thought for American soldiers still dying abroad—or question the utility of America’s forever wars? Etiquette aside, we think it’s obscene not to.  

      Just as the coronavirus has exposed systemic rot, this moment also reveals how obsolete common conceptions of U.S. warfare truly are—raising core questions about the holiday devoted to its sacrifices. The truth is that today’s “way of war” is so abstract, distant, and short on (at least American) casualties as to be nearly invisible to the public. With little to show for it, Washington still directs bloody global campaigns, killing thousands of locals. America has no space on its calendar to memorialize these victims: even the children among them.


      Faced with unrecognizable brands of war, most people substitute nostalgia and myth. Grappling with war’s reality has implications that are too disturbing. Far simpler and more satisfying is to commemorate long past sacrifices at Normandy and Iwo Jima, rather than more confounding losses in Niger and Iraq. The temptation persists even as the last World War II veterans pass; old notions of what combat is die with them. 


      The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.....Martin Luther King '63

    • #319025
      David the Gnome
      • Total Posts: 2,388

      At the end of the Vietnam war, soldiers coming home were spat upon and called baby killers.  That was despicable in the extreme.

      That said, I think we honor our military best by fighting only just wars – wars that must be fought to protect ourselves or our allies.  In truth, world war 2 was the last such war.  Frankly, we need to organize ways to put the military to use more at home.

      Their skill and discipline could be awesomely applied to any number of things.  Infrastructure, teaching, building… all branches should be doing stuff here at home.  We do not need so many bases and people in other Nations.  Bring them home to help fix our broken Country.

      I’ve never understood why we don’t use our troops to help resolve the plastic situation – make it into useful materials for the building of homes for example.  Military doctors can have clinics here, mechanics can be put to use fixing broken shit.  Anyone with engineering expertise can help figure out how to rebuild and convert railroads and trains to use an electric system.

      There is much to be done.

      • #319076
        • Total Posts: 3,272

        There were a few incidents where members of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade attempted to spit at US military personnel returning from Vietnam. There is some debate about whether or not they actually succeeded. Newspapers at the time were filled with accounts of the spitting incidents, and it became an accepted part of the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War, but I always wondered how many people actually got “spat upon.” I served with many Navy men who went back and forth to and from Vietnam, and many of them repeated the “spat upon” stories, but none of them were attacked, nor did they personally know anyone who was attacked. I travelled in uniform in the early 1970s and never encountered any problems.

      • #319199
        • Total Posts: 5,583


        Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. Born out of accusations made by the Nixon administration, they were enlivened in popular culture (recall Rambo saying he was spat on by those maggots at the airport) and enhanced in the imaginations of Vietnam-generation men — some veterans, some not. The stories besmirch the reputation of the anti-war movement and help construct an alibi for why we lost the war: had it not been for the betrayal by liberals in Washington and radicals in the street, we could have defeated the Vietnamese. The stories also erase from public memory the image, discomforting to some Americans, of Vietnam veterans who helped end the carnage they had been part of.

        The facsimiles of spat-upon veteran stories that are surfacing now confuse the public dialogue surrounding the war. Debate about the war itself and the politics that got us into it is being displaced by the phony issue of who supports the troops. Everyone supports the troops and wishes them a safe and speedy homecoming. It’s the mission they have been sent on that is dividing the nation and it is the mission that we have a right and obligation to question.

        The “support the troops” symbolism also comes with a hidden agenda, a subtext that is about the anti-war movement. Understandably, the war brings a lot of emotion to the surface and some of that feeling stems from frustration with the economy, a sense of helplessness in the face of large-scale social and technological change, and fear that cherished American values are being lost. For some people, the real war is the war at home and the enemy coalition comes bundled for them in the anti-war movement. The redirection of their legitimate anger about the deteriorating quality of life in America onto peace activists is shortsighted scapegoating that won’t solve problems.

        Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #319037
      • Total Posts: 2,626

      I spent 4 years in the military and can recall nothing that I, or anyone around me, ever did that was in the least beneficial to humanity.  We were well trained hired killers, hit men, and deserve no applause.

      Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

      • #319043
        Ohio Barbarian
        • Total Posts: 13,806

        @bazukhov At least we saved some whales from an illegal whaler one time.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #319056
      David the Gnome
      • Total Posts: 2,388

      Why we don’t do stuff like that on an organized level.  Ancient Rome, while certainly suffering its share of issues, built incredible infrastructure for their time.  They did this largely by using an organized, disciplined military.  The legions and auxiliary forces were for a lot more than just fighting.

      Better still, in this age we have a many more people, many more hands to pitch in.  It would be a great way for them to take pride in service.

    • #319073
      • Total Posts: 718

      The US military is given over 70% of the discretionary budget, not to train, care fore , and pay soldiers. They care for soldiers as a propaganda tool. The US government is propping  itself up by full scale funding of the military industrial complex. Where the money goes up the chain not into making high quality anything.  then we use it to bully people in 3rd world countries, leaving them slave states. Mean while the soldier’s used for propaganda are left in a way that is appalling! On the streets, massive mental health issues, unable to hold down jobs, sick. Poor.  The USA is a failed state


    • #319078
      • Total Posts: 3,272

      I watched All Quiet on the Western Front this morning. It would be nice if we remembered the fallen by questioning whether or not they had to fall in the first place. If we want to celebrate the glory of war, perhaps we could designate a holiday specifically for that and Trump could have his military parade on that day. (BTW what ever happened to that idea?) It seems a gross disservice to those who died in warfare to spend all our time acting all John Wayne.

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