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My time in-country, as they say, with the First Cav, embraced the Tet offensive in 1968 and a year's worth of immersion in a patently worthless, fruitless, feckless, foolish bit of wealth-transferring adventurism. And two years stateside, playing soldier. From what I hear and read, the uniforms have changed (many times, as the procurement machinery grinds away) but not the underlying day-to-day reality.

I enlisted in 1966, in part believing a lot of the crap that people still believe about the Grand Military Machine as a "bulwark against the enemy" (a category that morphs day-to-day as "doctrines" and corporate interests change), growing up as I did as a Cub and Boy Scout in the '50s and early '60s with the "Commies" always a milimicron away from sneaking under our beds and into our institutions and polluting our precious bodily fluids.

Far as I can see, from my aging perspective on my own and subsequent young males' (and now females, proving that stupidity and subjugation to certain base impulses is not limited to the Y-chromosome), the only honest voices who have weighed in over time, to try to dispel the testosterone-miasma "fog of war" are people like Smedley Butler and Joseph Heller and even Noam Chomsky, who see and try to describe the reality behind the morality play that the vast majority suspend their minuscule bit of disbelief to take in, day after year after decade: "War is a racket."

And the ongoing shitstorm in Iraq and Notagainistan, and at and around all the hundreds of "bases" our Networked Battlespace Commanders have erected across the planet, serves no interests, except those of the MIC and certain post-national corporations and their political puppets.

A few wise heads, generally with small voices unfortunately, argue that it is time, PAST time, to pull in our horns, redirect our energies, put our residual wealth and tiny pretexts of moral superiority to some better use -- by "getting out of [wherever] NOW.

This Vietnam vet seconds the motion.

The US military is a Godzilla gone to fat, a huge bloated grasping careerist-driven doctrinaire appendage of a broken political system and industrial monstrosity that is driving the nation and the world ever deeper into a giant black hole, a coruscation of Grand Strategies and ever-more-lethal technologies that have no meaning and no end except satisfaction of the greeds and ambitions and random thrashings of a very few self-selected humans. Want to educate yourself on how it really works? You might start with The War Department's own "Dictionary of Military and Related Terms," http://www.dtic.mil/...  and pay attention to the provenance of this one among millions of War Department "initiatives," which has its own budgetary constituency of "commands" and hundreds of millions of dollars in real-wealth-converted-to-military-doctrinarianism. It's a cancer, and feeding it should be the last thing any of us not "serving their countries by killing Others and converting real wealth and true security into scrap metal, splattered corpses and dead-end games" should be wanting to do.

The joke, of course, is that the Machine has so much momentum and inertia that there's not a snowball's chance of halting it or even changing the course a little. "We kill some of their people so they kill some of our people so we kill some of their people so they kill some of our people...." in a wonderful irrational-number series. All while cramming billions of unaudited invisible dollars into the backs of SUVs and private jets, and "gaining support" for hugely wasteful and expensive "procurements" as, get this, "jobs programs." Bunch of BS. An enormous, Augean-stable-sized, daily-growing-as-a-geometric-rate pile of bullshit.

And this Memorial Day, be clear what you are actually doing when you "thank us for our service." Makes you all weepy just thinking about the phrase, right? You mostly have no tiny idea of the reality of the self-serving, self-indulgent, I would even say "traitorous" nature of the military leadership (go read Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory," the life and death of Pat Tillman, and Gary Schroen's "First In: How the CIA Spearheaded The War On Terror In Afghanistan" (sic) and all the other exposes out there about how the War Machine really works, before you lecture me on insufficient blind stupid gaping patriotism and disrepect for all those who have "served" the war machine god) or the huge amount of wasted motion and wealth, featherbedding, goofing off, bureaucratalifornication, play-acting and other assorted idiocies that you believe, you BELIEVE at least, constitute that institution that you have been suckered into "supporting" on the totally specious notion that it "protects your way of life." Your "way of life" is, in increasing measure, in fact dictated and warped by the military overlords, who every once in a while thanks to languid incompetence or whistleblower conscience let us get a glimpse of what they are really up to -- like using psyops staff to sucker and delude Congressmen, and "buying the loyalty" of "insurgents" with Viagra and flat monetary bribes to not shoot up those long-supply-line-over-the-Kyhber-Pass convoys before the weapons and $400-a-gallon-delivered-to-the-active-face-of-the-Networked-Battlespace gasoline and diesel. And waving a whisk and saying "piffle" to contractors electrocuting GIs in the showers, and the "unaccounted disappearance" of weapons and billions in cash. And forgetabout all the "wogs," from my war the "gooks, slants, slopes, dinks" and from this imperial adventure the "hajjis and sand n---ers and towelheads, etc." killed "by accident" or because "we" invade their homeland and destroy their "homeland security." All for the seriously reported, "regrettable-necessity" "best of reasons." That on dispassionate examination turnout to be pure, unadulterated, total, complete Bull. fucking. SHIT.

And when you've digest and gotten all dyspeptic about that bit of contrarian failure-to-swim-along-with-the-tsunami-wave-of-Current-Narrative, go take a look at this little page from the Walmart catalog, and ask yourselves "What the F_CK have we come to when our great Free Land Culture provides such nice packaging for the flags our Military so cynically hands over to the beloveds of GIs killed "serving their country:" http://www.walmart.com/... . Or, if you want to price-shop for your memento-holder, http://www.nextag.com/... By the way, I still have the now a little moth -eaten 48-star flag that draped the coffin of my uncle, a WW II "server." And my father skippered a 108-foot sub chaser in the South Pacific from 1943-45.

We've done gone and been suckered into engaging with Tar-Baby, and are in it, the Generals and Admirals, both self-aggrandizing would-be Emperors and the armchair versions, all hope, with both fists and both feet and apparently with a brain-addled head butt too.

It's been said so many times that apparently nobody believes it any more: "War is a racket." Per Maj. Gen. and 2-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Smedley Butler.

Oh, and when you are next in Walmart, check out the shirts and slacks, good stuff too, "Made in Vietnam." Tell me, all you yellow-ribbon "patriots," what THAT was all about again? Other than a trillion-dollar transfer of real wealth to the war toy makers? And some kind of sick, perverse, fraudulent "jobs program?"

Originally posted to jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

Will the Troops We Support ever escape from Notagainistan?

7%8 votes
12%13 votes
26%27 votes
4%5 votes
5%6 votes
9%10 votes
7%8 votes
3%4 votes
20%21 votes

| 102 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  T&R for NOTAGAINISTAN...Laos edition... (7+ / 0-)

      NOTAGAINISTAN is a brilliant, brilliant neologism.  I'm adopting it as of now.

      Lest We Forget about that clusterfuck that was our little jingoistic romp in Southeast Asia, THANK YOU jm214 for reminding us of what a right royal CF it was.

      I wish my aunt and uncle could have lived to tell the tale.  

      Here's all we know about their passing:

      In Memoriam: Laos Edition

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      The most heavily bombed place on earth.

      "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

      by bekosiluvu on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:08:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  G_d be with you and your family. I could see the (4+ / 0-)

        Freakin' "Arc Light" bombs falling for part of my tour, on what had to have been Laos. I am so sorry "we" were not smart enough to drop millions of those little tiny gold bars that pass for safe savings and traveling money in SE Asia on the landscape instead. Think of what a subsistence farmer, already producing the stuff that once made the Mekong "the rice bowl of Asia," could have done with that kind of "intervention," rather than a night visit from one of the Ninja Assassins of the Phoenix Program.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:12:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. I still honor those, like you, who (20+ / 0-)

    served. But I also agree with your perspective that yours and the service of others has been abused by the powers that control our military.

    It is up to us to change that.

  •  Respectfully contrarian (21+ / 0-)

    The pride in my dad and the other WWII vets today always brings me to tears, but I want to respectfully offer the contrarian view that propelled me through the 60s...

    To some extent, the rituals we associate with Veterans' memorials are intended to glorify war for the next generation. It's especially the "chicken hawks" like Cheney who were deferred again and again yet push endless war on the young who send me into orbit.

    For every act of respect and honor we offer today, we need to say: "Thank you. Now help us insure we stop this for the future."

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:25:55 AM PDT

    •  we are especially reminded of this (17+ / 0-)

      with the fetishism of the Civil War, even to the point of mass re-enactments.  Doing genealogical research I found my paternal great grandfather's father and 3 brothers served, with one dying. I have a daguerreotype of him, an earnest young man in his stiff new uniform who would not see his 20th birthday.

      Research on my maternal ancestors revealed my great grandmother had 9 brothers, 7 of whom survived into adolescence.  All served in the war, with 5 of them dying, one each year of the war.  I cannot understand glorifying a conflict which had to devastate my great grandmother and her mother and father to lose 5 of 7 sons  

    •  Finding a way to honor the warrior without (15+ / 0-)

      honoring the war - I think that will always be a problem until we redefine the word warrior. I actually had a hard time when we started calling our current troops warriors again. I was happy with soldier, marine, airman, and sailor. But I especially hate the words wounded warrior.  They seem so right wing.

      Yeah, I'm a peace loving military wife. A lot of people don't get that. Even when I married my husband, I had friends question why on earth I would want to do that. But he is peace loving as well. We just both happen to believe that the world isn't ready for peace without some people willing to hold it. I naively thought that our nation had moved into 'holding the peace.' Little did I imagine that before my husband's career was finished, we would be embroiled in not one, not two, but three wars. Which are right? Which are wrong? Can we tell the difference anymore?

      •  I can still tell the difference. Afghanistan? (6+ / 0-)

        Wrong. We got bin Laden through police work, and we keep making the #2 Al Quida leader kind of, well, dead through police work.

        Iraq? Wrong from the get-go, the Shrub just wanted to be a "War President".

        Libya? UN approved, which doesn't make it right, but OTOH, it's a part of the Arab Spring. I'd let them handle it themselves, but the rebels are out-gunned and out-financed. France came to our aid during the Revolutionary War with Brittan, admittedly for their own reasons, but we have all these missiles, anyway...

        "Somehow our slogan 'We’ll protect YOUR Medicare, but your kids are screwed' never really caught on."

        by BobSmith415 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 01:18:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's more complex than that. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, Merry Light

          In my "youth" I read The Far Pavilions 3 times. Yes, it's a fantasy...but it very clearly details the hopelessness of anyone who wants to make or consider Afghanistan a single country.

          But we are in there for a reason no one speaks--India. Pakistan is a mess, and we are trying to get them to stop abetting the terrorists on their west while aiming nukes at the Indians to their east, whom they consider their real enemy.

          Obama is one of the few intelligent enough to realize it's a real mess.

          Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

          by MrMichaelMT on Mon May 30, 2011 at 01:43:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "We" are in there because, I respectfully sug (7+ / 0-)

            gest, "we" are schooled in the Great Game by the dead hands of people like Kermit "The Frog" Roosevelt, and by playing too many rounds of RISK! tm as children. "We" gain nothing at all vis-a-vis India, Pakistan or China (the latest Communist Menace, front-loaded with "Yellow Perils" and "Manchurian Candidate" mythology. The "winners" in the world, if humans are to have a future, are the negotiators, the people who play positive-sum-games. Not the beetle-browed, beady-eyed, no-lips manipulators and thieves who run the "policy" racket these days.

            Obama one of the "few?" It would be so nice if the Great Speechifier would explain what all that secret-squirrel strategicalifragicationism is about, for us who play only 2-dimensional chess. I don't believe it.

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:50:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think he can (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angelajean

              There are things we simply do not speak aloud in international relations--Israel's nukes, the Saudi's tyranny, the fact that Pakistan is very nearly a failed state with one government (the military) totally focused on India and the Hindu kush.

              He committed a mortal sin last week when he said the truth: Israel can't keep occupying territory it gave up by treaty in 1967 and ever make peace.

              Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

              by MrMichaelMT on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:54:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They've won (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jm214, Texknight

                the terrorists that is. Convince yourself otherwise if you insist. Rationalisation often saves us from mental discomfort.

                The plo and other terrorist groups forced the IP Conflict (TM!) into the eyes of the world. And those terrorists ,for the most part simply evil, knew a profitable business when they found one. And the Isreali government sanctioned terrorists (as any war against civilians is nothing but terrorism) saw the profit potential and responded in kind.

                And now.. we have extremists on both sides embracing the latest comfortable lie. If only Israel would.... if only the Palestinians would...

                The reality is that this is a game of oil, money, and blood. The more blood flows the more the profits increase whether you be an IDF contractor, a right wing Isreali pol, an american pol, a saudi prince, a syrian king, a terrorist.

                The "IP Conflict" (TM!!)  is as much about land and human rights as world war two was about rabbits.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:41:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Won"? (0+ / 0-)

                  What, is it over??  If so, what makes it "over"?  In fact, what is "it" (cueing Mike Patton!) that they've "won"?

                  The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

                  by Panurge on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:20:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I honestly didn't understand the comment (0+ / 0-)

                    to which you are responding. I have the impression that Obama is actually, slowly but surely, winning the so-called "war on terror" by supporting peaceful revolution in the Middle East. When Egypt won without bombs, Osama lost big-time.

                    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

                    by MrMichaelMT on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:49:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "they've won" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Panurge

                      I think that the comment was an attempt to indicate that the profiteers have already "won" their profits. Any conflict can be lucrative to anyone supplying the goods to either side. Peace would be detrimental to their cash flow. Having said that, I do believe that Obama is on the right track and I will let my optimism take over and envision a solution to the IP conflict...  That's my dream and I can dream any way I want to!
                      Peace

                      I'm not your momma, your daddy, your uncle or your caddy.... carry your own wit!

                      by Texknight on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:58:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  What did they win?? (0+ / 0-)

                    The Isreali right wing won political power. Its supporters won land and money. The terrorists? They won political power, money, "respectability". Yassir Arafat... many these days view him as a statesman or a freedom fighter. He was never anything but a sociopathic terrorist. Ariel Sharone is a war criminal and revered by many Isrealis.

                    Money, power, control.. what else Is there to win? Why do you think this is about palestinian people? They are a tiny group and any of the arab nations screaming about their plight could give them a home or homeland easily. They dont.

                    It is naive and foolish to believe that the world is so concerned about a microscopic nation and a microscopic wouldbe nation that exist on near barren land. At a time when across the world billions live in conditions even worse and face even worse horrors.

                    A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                    by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:56:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I saw the "game" (0+ / 0-)

                    as being a strategy to lock us into a conflict and suck our economy dry. In other words, do to us what we had them to to Russia in the 80s. By those standards, the terrorists won.

            •  IT must be nice (0+ / 0-)

              to declare the intellectual rationale of others and then declare them wrong. Many of us who have disagreed with nearly every military action since world war two believed afghanistan was the right thing to do. And we, unlike you and the "yellow peril" and scary red" etc fearmongers (yes youre committing the very sins you accuse others of), have actually considered the situations. The causes, effects, potential outcomes, costs.

              The pride of ignorance in your wordslinging re china, india and pakistan seems a dead giveaway. Easy it is grasshopper to assault the "grand leader" of the past to your fellow coffeeshop Kerouac wannabes. Hard it is to study the historical facts and thank some of those leaders for their preparation for future danger. But then for some, saved from Hitlerism, those taking risk to stop the hitlerism were mere users of the good coffeeshop armchair anti-warriors.

              A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

              by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:35:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And what did YOU do in the war, Daddy? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Texknight, native

                I did my little patriotic bit, and I even get a little disability payment from the VA every month as a kind of gratuity. I have read a lot of the shit pumped out by the self-righteous and pompous and Colonel Blimpish and the kinds of Policy Leaders, so beautifully limned and so properly lampooned by our more sarcastic and cynical present and past participants in the Grand Game. I even made the unpatriotic mistake of viewing "The Kite Runner" on a Saturday and "Charlie Wilson's War" on sunday.

                So you can take your smug certainty that "on this point" (the serial invasions and CIAmanship in Notagainistan) and stick it in your ear. Got the usual problem, don't you, of being so pretextually wise that YOU and your wisdom and presumed "double secret knowledge" are ineffably and inarguably Right, so you can stand on some self-inflated prominence and say "Ohnonotagainistan" was "the right thing to do."

                Bullshit, buddy. The policy-wonk wargamers who develop the Grand Doctrines and Strategies and Tactics for their ever-more-Tower-of-Babelish "management" of the "Networked Battlespace" that they have divided the planet up into may master complexity, but have no more fucking common sense than a gray-haired goose.

                Remember this little Powerpoint slide that the Networked Battlespace Managers paid a couple million dollars to a BRITISH firm to develop, a "contractor" who had the balls to claim COPYRIGHT for, on a quintessential "work for hire?" The one that some general quipped,  http://eatitorwearit.wordpress.com/... , "If I could even begin to understand that, I'm sure we would be well on the way to winning the war." As if he, or you, could define what "winning" meant or means, then or now, much less what "the war" is, or is all about. Other than "We kill some of them so they kill some of us so we kill some of them..." And some of us get very rich, and more get very dead, or horribly damaged.

                And those leaders, so wise in the past as you aver, the ones that did not want a mass exodus of Jews and Gypsies and suchlike to save them from Hitlerism, which ones and which of their wise policies and preparations (like letting the peacetime US war machine languish, and encouraging IBM and other US companies to BOLSTER "Hitlerism," and selling weapons to Axis nations, and all the rest? Which ones did you have in mind? You got no clue, chum.

                You want wordslinging? C'mon down and let's get it on.

                "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:07:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes i understand (0+ / 0-)

                  that in your chatrooms and coffeehouses you surround yourself with other wankistanians and preach your wisdom too holy for the masses to understand. That you understand a deep hidden truth that the rest of humanity simply fails to recognise in our intellectual ineptitude. That you study Kerouac and the other "brilliants" in an attempt to fashion mushy psuedo-intellectuallism to the appearance of brilliance.

                  Sadly only the few wise men playing digeridoo across the land while imbibing the wisdom of the gods from handmade turkish smoking pipes understand the true brilliance of the intellectual angelfood you purvey.

                  But go on.. preach the wisdom of your ways. Commune with my dead uncle who fought his way through nazi tanks and infantry battalions across europe. Let him know what a fool he was and that if he had only understood the divine wisdom he would have planted a daisy for peace and simply loved the nazis away.

                  Your psuedointellectualism is bereft of  intellect. Your cheap kerouac impersonation is just that. You're attempt at Hubbardesque guruism though may have hope as the world has, ever, no lack of fools.

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:05:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Please note though (0+ / 0-)

                  having said all of the above..

                  I do indeed quite enjoy your writing style and hope you continue.

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:06:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Tell you what, you deep old file you, maybe I'll (0+ / 0-)

                    leave you the last word so you can, in your own sorry voice, reinforce how much you need to have a Plexiglas TM window installed in your lower abdomen so you can see, darkly, where you are going.

                    My father and uncle were "Greatest Generation" types who "fought their way through Japanese battle groups across the South Pacific," 'n stuff like that. Uncle died back then. I'm sure he would have preferred to get back to being a damn good carpenter. Are you all about borrowing your dead uncle's experience to jack up your personal creds?

                    Who is "Kerouac," again? Oh, wiki has articles. I at least can't see the relevance. I MUST be much stupider than you. And "Hubbard?" Who? Chatrooms and coffeehouses? You mean like your participation in this-here blog? That the best you got for pejoratives?

                    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                    by jm214 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 03:46:37 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Reading "The Far Pavilions" right now, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jm214

            for the umpteenth time.  This should be required reading for every person in America, with a test to follow.

            -6.50/-5.23 Palin / Trump 2012 - "I quit!" / "You're Fired"

            by Merry Light on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:14:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pleasant, romantic and... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light

              ...so much politics. The author is knowledgeable! The moral: Afghanistan isn't a single country. The multi-cultural and "no real government" nature of the country is very clear. Of course, it's fiction. The protagonist struggles with 3 ethnic heritages. But it forces a reader (especially summer-casual) to realize that there are no easy answers there.

              Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

              by MrMichaelMT on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:19:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  non-fiction on the same topic (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Merry Light

                is Peter Hopkirk The Great Game. Strongly recommend reading it.

                Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

                by Mnemosyne on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:21:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll look that one up at the library. thanks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mnemosyne

                  -6.50/-5.23 Palin / Trump 2012 - "I quit!" / "You're Fired"

                  by Merry Light on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:22:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  there are any number of (0+ / 0-)

                    books on the topic of the Great Game and empire in that part of the world that will give you a much more accurate picture of the time and place than that particular bit of fiction, entertaining though it is.

                    Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

                    by Mnemosyne on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:47:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  MM Kaye lived there for many years, (0+ / 0-)

                and studied the history.  She wrote another book about the first mutiny, called Shadow of the Moon, which was also a very well written fictional account.  She does a great job with the backstory history of what really happened and how the British bungled it with their colonialism and snobbishness.

                -6.50/-5.23 Palin / Trump 2012 - "I quit!" / "You're Fired"

                by Merry Light on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:26:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Notagainistan (40+ / 0-)

    Epic! I must remember that.

    Ghosts

    BOHICA
    Repentant ex member of Murder Inc.
    Southeast Asia Division

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:32:24 AM PDT

  •  War? The military? The MIC??? (13+ / 0-)

    What is becoming of our country, of our children, what are we doing with the "freedom" we enjoy at the expense of our own treasure and other people's children?

    Oh, let's not discuss that on Memorial Day, it's none of our affair. After all, someone else is fighting it, no one in MY family is. So don't ruin our barbeque by even mentioning the fact that we are engaged in at least 3 wars, at least that might be mentioned on TV once or twice.  Come on, Memorial Day is FUN, it's the official beginning of summer, so don't remind us that men, women and children are dying in other lands ostensibly for our "freedoms", so noble, so righteous.  What do we do with that freedom? Go to the nearest mall, they have great bargains today, and the American Idol finale is coming up.  Hey, we have wieners to put on the grill and oh, is that shrimp cocktail?

  •  Yes! 100 times. (5+ / 0-)

    Don't know how to begin to stop it though.

  •  What's up is down and what's contrarian is the (6+ / 0-)

    truth.  Maybe that's the third party we need, the Contrarian Party.  The Contrarians, sounds like an old 60's TV drama.
    The empire is trapped now.  There's no getting out.  We can only hope they don't break out the nukes.  Is that contrarian?

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:43:38 AM PDT

  •  Always up for the rant. (7+ / 0-)

    The militarism of the United States is of course the cornerstone of all our problems.

    "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:51:02 AM PDT

  •  Kerry's POTUS run reminded people that (13+ / 0-)

    there were pacifist veteran groups like VAW during that era and that returning vets did not get ticker tape parades or invitations from the American Legion or VFW to come by for a beer.  By 1970, it was obvious that the war was lost, that the draft was patently unfair and rigged so that the scions of the wealthy and powerful had no worries while the NG became a private club in many areas for the pampered offspring of the privileged.

    Kerry reminded us by 1971, no one wanted to be the last man to die in VN and there were mutinies and refusals to engage the enemy, all of which were swept under the rug.  Though Nixon had supposedly ended American direct participation through "Vietnamization", units like the 5th Cav. still ended up in firefights with our guys dying in a cause already lost.

    I guess "Fortunate Son" sums up the situation pretty much but on this Memorial Day, I am finding Mason Proffitt's songs to be relevant for all those who served in futile causes and Erich Maria Remarque's writings to echo the commonality of service

    •  There are a lot of current vets who oppose the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, YucatanMan, Mnemosyne

      idiocy, who have had that wake-up experience that takes them beyond the "duty-honor-country" moist-eyed crap to a clear-eyed view of what the "enterprise," in the Milo Minderbinder sense, is really all about. http://www.ivaw.org/

      Too bad it seemed like Kerry, and Gore for that matter, really did not want to be president of all the people, way down deep. I wonder if they found out something that the rest of us have yet to discover? Something that might happen in, oh, maybe seven days in May? http://en.wikipedia.org/... ?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:09:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've always thought that at least part (0+ / 0-)

        of the reason the Bushies were so terrified of Kerry becoming President is that he knew, and probably still knows, more than anyone else about Iran-Contra. And once in office, he could do something about it. Perhaps.

        Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

        by Mnemosyne on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:27:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  a shout-out (15+ / 0-)

    to you and BOHICA and all other combat vets that still care enough to speak truth...to anyone who cares enough to listen and think.  We are all going to have to dig deep to keep caring for this country and each other dispite the apparent triumph of greed and power.  

  •  What can I add? (10+ / 0-)

    My signature to your rant . . . .

    and "happy !?" Memorial Day
    [anyone who says that needs a slap upside the head]

    Bring them home now. It's long past time

    by llbear on Mon May 30, 2011 at 09:22:43 AM PDT

  •  Reposted to the MCM, not the MIC (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, jm214, YucatanMan, Mnemosyne

    A good rant is always welcome.

    I would like to see more rants all year long.

  •  War is a Racket, As is it's Glorification. (8+ / 0-)

    Bravo, jm214 for telling some much needed truths.  Without soldiers willing to fight, there could be no wars.  We need to stop the glorification of war and warriors, not honor them.

    The people who are willing to fight get only death and injury, while the big defense contractors and corporations get obscene profits.  War is against the interest of the vast majority of our population, we should not allow ourselves to be duped into venerating wars and those too ignorant or too poor to resist fighting them.

    Let's put the energy and money invested in our capitalist wars to re-building our country, using the skills and knowledge of those who otherwise might go to war to improve our infra-structure and economy.  

    Let us celebrate peace, not war, and expand our Peace Corps, not our military budget.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

    by Justina on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:57:47 AM PDT

  •  Today is officially Memorial Day, when we, what, (10+ / 0-)

    celebrate, remember, mourn our war dead in a frenzy of retail binging. It gives the peasants an extra day to get drunk and cry about our dead children. War is ugly, I know. I went, and hated every God-damned heartbeat of it.

  •  The idea of the "warrior" (19+ / 0-)

    and by extension of a "warrior class" was once totally alien to the American psyche.  Take a look at how soldiers have been portrayed over recent years.

    The American men and boys who helped to defeat the Axis powers were "sad sacks",  grunts, jarheads, deck monkeys.  Think Bill Mauldin's Willy and Joe.  They were regular guys pulled from farms, factory and office jobs, and sent overseas.  They wanted to get the job done and come home to civilian life.

    In Vietnam, most guys wanted to survive their tour and come home to civilian life.

    Contrast the image of haggard, war weary Willy and Joe with that of today's "warrior", the beefy young man in a space age suit of armor and wrap around sunglasses who might be a marine or a "contractor" or a member of your local SWAT team...  Beefy young men accountable only to their "superiors"... It's a disturbing cultural shift - from citizen soldier to professional "warrior" - that we ignore at our peril.

    The festishization of the "warrior" and the warrior ethos is just one of several signs that our democracy is being eroded.

    Whom do you blame more? The rattlesnake, or the bipartisan guy who put it in your sleeping bag?

    by chuckvw on Mon May 30, 2011 at 01:58:33 PM PDT

  •  Recced for a lot of reasons (5+ / 0-)

    Mostly for the authority of experience.

  •  I never know quite what to say when (17+ / 0-)

    someone "thanks" me for my service.  I'm never rude or unpleasant, and just nod my head in acknowlegement.  On the inside I'm burning to say, " ok, but what about my 60,000 brothers that were not as lucky, or the hundreds of thousands that returned as someone else.
    And lets not even talk about the 2 million or so Vietnamese people who perished , wounded, dislocated or mentally unable to live a normal life. What was it all for ? You're thanking me for what ?"

    As a medic in a MASH unit, I saw more than my share of pain, death and dismemberment. And 45+ years later I still can't explain the whys or what ifs. War truly is HELL and those who 'arrange' them will have a special place in hell.

    My grandson is serving in Afghanistan, and I pray for the Afghan people just like I do for him.  They are all victims of people that could care less about them.

    Oh, and btw, GREAT RANT !  :)

    Poor government comes about when good citizens sit on their hands instead of standing on their feet.' -- Robert Baker

    by jaysunb on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:30:28 PM PDT

    •  The horror in part is that those who know the real (10+ / 0-)

      face of war, the reality, not only of the violence but of the supply sergeants who steal "trophy weapons" that are taken from GIs because of fear that they will "frag" their "Brass" and sell them back to the "insurgents" for a quick buck, and the huge black market, the involvement in the drug trade, the outright murder, the huge "contractor" army that maintains (often not very well) the garbage that the Procurement Machinery sends Our Sacred Troooooops (unarmored Humvees, and how about those Buffalos) and FAILS to police up all the huge piles of artillery shells and bombs our "policy" people gave to guys like Hussein and Massood and such, all the enormous stealable waste of it, are disabled from being able to get together and communicate that reality to the people hiding behind the comfortable commonplaces, now with the sweet-smiling expression of "Thank you for your service" on that blank yellow Walmart-pricing disk.

      "Have a nice day!" my aching ass.

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 03:02:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those very people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jm214, penguins4peace, jaysunb

      who spout "thank you for your service"..

      are the first to call for cuts in benefits.
      Theyre the first to ignore a vet when he comes home and goes out for a beer.
      Theyre the first to call for the head of any vet who says something they dont like (Pro or Anti war).
      Theyre the first to toss Actual vets aside when they come home.

      Even now i see it. The people who make the loudest claims of patriotism and supporting vets. In real life. And the moment that vet isnt somewhere else shooting at someone else for some reason.. he is their enemy.. home to take their women, or their jobs...

      We have not had a military full of Combat Vets since viet nam.  Even in the 80's actual combat badges were an extreme rarity in the military and most who served never faced even a remote chance of combat even if the ywanted it. These soldiers we have now? Sailors, Airmen? Every single one of them signed up knowing they would likely risk combat operations even if they never f ired a weapon. These people now are the real deal unlike all of us who served in times of peace, of expected peace. And the "thank you for your service!" people all have a silent followup to their statement.. " Now.. go away and dont make me think about dark things"

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:51:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sometime after I returned from VN (12+ / 0-)

    I realized the false statement that they "died for their country."  Maybe WWII vets and previous did, but the rest of our skirmishes (tongue planted firmly in cheek) did nothing but prop up our corporations.  I am proud of my service and my actions give me pride. No one ever thanked me 40 years ago...but they do now...and I cringe when they say it.

    "The United States should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."Thomas Jefferson (also attributed to George Washington and John Adams)

    by regis on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:50:48 PM PDT

  •  that's some strong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, YucatanMan, wayoutinthestix

    truth to power.  Bravo.

    "Welcome to Costco, I love you" -- Greetings from "Idiocracy"

    by martinjedlicka on Mon May 30, 2011 at 03:03:15 PM PDT

  •  Just home from a Vets for Peace event in Madison (6+ / 0-)

    People took turns, three names at a time, reading the names of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan from Wisconsin: 115 in all. Each then carried a red carnation to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade monument. We honor them all in order to stop the next war. The most moving song was a Springsteen cover.

    Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

    by plankbob on Mon May 30, 2011 at 03:08:52 PM PDT

  •  A "futile rant" perhaps, but I want you to know I (5+ / 0-)

    read and respect every heartfelt word of it.  

    Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

    by feeny on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:00:26 PM PDT

    •  P.S. I have two VN vet step-brothers, both (6+ / 0-)

      with PTSD; my mother and father both served in WWII, and my father was heavily decorated for his service.  All have been (and still are) vehement anti-war protestors and critics of the military, starting with Vietnam.

      Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

      by feeny on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:12:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Same age, me (5+ / 0-)

      I served my years stateside 1967-69.  I didn't see war, but I did see what it did to the families back home.

      My army service changed me from a Republican into an Albert Gore Democrat.  At the time he was the one trying the hardest to get Americans to see the folly of the Military-Industrial Complex.  

      But I have never felt one iota of respect for my military service from anyone who thinks that war is good.

  •  Logged in just to tip and rec. (6+ / 0-)

    I go back and forth: not wanting to act like I "hate" the troops, yet seeing what they are used for as a steaming pile of shit that needs to stop yesterday and wondering how to say that without coming across like I "blame" them or "hate' them.

    I think of the war dead on Memorial Day and wish for an end to war - but the "machine" is so vast that I might as well wish in one hand and shit in the other.

    •  The point isn't to "support the troops." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Merry Light, chuckvw, zett

      The point is to DO RIGHT BY THEM.  

      We've been taught that supporting the missions they themselves believe in is the same as doing right by them.  That's the linkage we need to un-link.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:26:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should fix the link to the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, YucatanMan

    Dictionary of Military Terms (just need to remove the comma from the URL).

    "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." - Barack Obama 12/2007

    by Sagebrush Bob on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:07:03 PM PDT

  •  If we honor Vets on Memorial day... (8+ / 0-)

    Why the fuck do many vets work while many armchair warriors get the day off to barbecue?

    I also took that Asian vacation.  War is not the answer...unless you are a military industrial complex employee or a MIC mogul.

    Bush lied and our soldiers died...and lots of wealthy armchair warriors who would not know an incoming round from a root canal have prospered.

    I honestly mourn for the ignorant worker bees who allow their children to be sent off to wars that never needed to be fought in Iraq and Afghanistan so that the ruling class may thump their chests in vicarious glory and make more money.  "Bring 'em on."  God that still makes me want to vomit.

    Woodie Guthrie could have written a song.

    After all, for progressives, taking one for the team is desirable, but all too often at present, we are taking one from the team.

    by El Tomaso on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:12:41 PM PDT

    •  We should not honor Vets (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, El Tomaso

      on Memorial Day.

      We should honor the dead on Memorial Day.

      Vets we honor on Veterans' Day and, to the extent they earn it, every day.

      Memorial Day is a day to mourn those who made the supreme sacrifice (and no lesser sacrifice) and to pray for peace.

      It is a day to hate war, not to engage in an orgy of phony war-love.

      Television: The Plutocracy's Bully Pulpit

      by penguins4peace on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:21:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You got that right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        El Tomaso, penguins4peace

        From my Memorial Day diary

        Memorial Day is for the dead. Those who died during war. We commingle the dead and the living as if there is no difference. November11th is Veterans Day, which is for the living and those who did not die in war. The dead never got to be veterans.

        "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

        by BOHICA on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:25:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  and yet other Nam vets... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, YucatanMan, jm214, LLPete

    ...swear to this day that we would've "won" had it not been for cowardly liberals undermining us.

    And we wonder how it could happen again.........

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Mon May 30, 2011 at 04:18:51 PM PDT

  •  "A Vietnam vets contrarian view... (7+ / 0-)

    JM214;
    Hey, don't sugar-coat it!

    My younger brother did two tours in 'nam. And all he got was multiple myeloma (from Agent Orange). He died an agonizing death in 1986.
    It took my 15 years to reconcile myself to the fact that his country LIED to him (and countless others), that Agent Orange would only de-forestate the jungle.
    My younger brother was the only brother I had...the only one that I could look forward to calling in a future I could not yet see. And he was gone. In 1986.
    25 years ago; and I still miss him.

    FWIW

    •  And there's so much painful dying to go yet. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne

      I am so sorry that you lost him, in that horrible way. For me the word "closure" is just a media fraud -- that's never how it works, there's no consolation, only the passage of time to fade the pain. G-d bless you. FWIW, I say a prayer for you.

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:23:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  another viet Vet with same sentiment (8+ / 0-)

    Nobody bothers to talk about the fact that today's "soldiers" are not citizen soldeirs.  Let's face it, they're "professionals.  In the service for the "long haul".  Memorial Day used to be to celebrate those who gave their lives as citizens first - soldiers second.  I don't go to events and have little empathy or sympathy for today's professional soldier.  

    What concerns me most is the fact that less than 3% serve.  The rest do "their part" by waving little flags and becoming tea party members.   As the article stated "you BELIEVE at least, constitute that institution that you have been suckered into "supporting" on the totally specious notion that it "protects your way of life." "

    This professional army is going to be a problem someday.  A bunch of fanatics whose allegience isn't to the flag, the con stitution or the principals of civilain control.   The idolization of the uniform and all that it (doesn't) stand for and the rightwing christian fanatics taking control of the officer corps in the academy's and the un-official hazing by those who believe in God's Army", we will continue down the path to Armaggedon.

    •  one here too (4+ / 0-)

      well said

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:10:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Never mind the paid 'mercenaries' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pete Rock

      Blackwater,(XE or whatever) and the others that make up a HUGE percentage of our presence overseas employ large numbers of NON-US former soldiers - from SOuth America, Africa and elsewhere.....

      Do you think THEY care at all about anything other than their paycheck?

      Our government has not cut back these contracts - or held any of these 'contractors' accountable for their illegal and amoral behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      THAT should be a far larger and more frightening - concern

  •  Great rant... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, jm214

    though I am not a veteran, I second it...

  •  Viet era vet (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214, pontechango, Mnemosyne, LLPete

    gives you two thumbs up.

    I Know a place where a Royal Flush never beat a Pair" T. Waits

    by NearlyNormal on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:16:17 PM PDT

  •  But they're 'volunteers' now....... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214, Merry Light, Pete Rock, Mnemosyne

    Add W's smirk to that comment and you see how our leaders REALLY view the members of our military......

    Sadly, by eliminating the draft and having a military populated by those who have limited career choices - and those who are drawn by the faux uber patriotism - the population at large is no longer concerned with how our servicemen are used.

    We no longer see our wars nightly on the news (a lesson well learned from Vietnam) and keep the dead and wounded out of sight (except for those 'inspiratiopnal' stories of amazing recoveries (no stories of the horridly wounded and the brain damaged who will never recover).

    The difference can also be seen in our military leadership.... the 'professionals' who like to claim they  are the ones that 'win the wars" (a phrase I heard a lot in my limited time at West Point)dominate.   Personally I think the civilians who join up - as in WWII - who want to 'get it over with and go home' are the ones who 'win' wars... the 'professionals' are too often concerned with 'punching their tickets' - and seem to have few qualms about how many of their subordinates they might get killed in the process of proving their leadership.

    Entering West Point in 1972 you had an interesting assortmnt of 'firsties' (seniors graduating in the spring of 1973).  These were men who entered USMA AFTER Tet - in 1969 - whemn clearly it was apparent that Vietnam was NOT going well.  

    You had a variety of cadets:

    the 'true believers' - the patriotic that really believed they were fighting for God and country against the evil scourge of Commnunism

    a few who seemed to be there for the opportuynity to kill and wreak mayhem (One who actually BRAGGED about family that had served in Hitler's SS)

    Some who were exactly what the military claimed they wanted (and needed) - true leaders whose men would follow them anywhere, men who served even if they had some peronal reservations about things in general they wanted to make it 'better'

    future 'careerists' who had chosen the military (through family tradition or personal desire) - ready to 'play the game'

    BUT there was a surprising number of 'anti'cadets' - people who would not have been there EXCEPT for the draft.   These were those who enetered USMA as an alternative to being drafted as a n enlisted ground pounder.  They were often men who had started their college careers elsewhere and received a low draft lottery number.  Going to West Point meant they would be putting off active service for 4 more years.  Maybe Nixon WOULD get us out of 'Nam by then - or they might graduate high enough in their class to choose a less 'casualty-prone' assignment (though the gung-ho types went for the really high risk spots like chopper pilot first)

    But no matter what an individual's POV, the overall mood at the academy was hardly positive.  Casualties were ongoing and 'personal'.   Platoon Leaders have a high casualty rate and those gettign killed were often recent grads well known to those yet to graduate.

    There was a sense of waste and futility - even among the most 'gung-ho' perhaps because of a diversity of backgrounds there.  I suspect that with an all volunteer military - and with those at West Point going becaue that IS their career choice (or because it IS a 'low-cost' college option in a world of exhorbitantly exensive colleges), you now have an 'echo chamber' where these future junior officers (and eventual careerist senior officers) are those who 'believe' and who have a vested interest in continuing things the way they are.......

    Ironically, the junior officers who after VIetnam vowed to never again get mired in impossible 'nation building' DID manage to revamp the Army - if only for a limitied time.

    They stuck out the bad times after VIetnam, rebuilt the Army and got it through its worst times - making it a 'professional' volunteer force geared to fighting and winning conflicts in a short time.

    They spent their lives making the Army a modern effective force only to see George W. Bush undo all they accomplished with Iraq.   Many of the best senior officers resigned or rretired - unwilling to support the disaster they saw in the making.  Some even called it for the illegal venture it was.  Only the political careerists - willing to do whatever the politicians wanted - stayed and sadly, PObama left them running the show insted of consulting those that walked away under Bush.

    With an economy in the dumpster, people have few options now so the military is no longer having the problems filling quotas that it was having 5 years back.

    You always had some who had few options - the black or hispanic kid from the Bronx who could move up the ranks to a senior NCO spot (having far ore responsibilities than they'd be allowed elsewhere), the kid from Iowa or North Dakota (the latter is my niece's husband) who had no opportunity to go to college and no job openings in a fading farm town, those that could not afford college.... but now you have people intheir late 20's and even 30's enlisting beause they are unemployed and need to feed families - or get them health care......   These people are unlikely to air grievances openly (though one First Sergeant recently retired from the 101st confessed he was 'glad' he'd blown out his back.... 7 deployments in 11 years meant the odds were growing against his long term survival.....  but he'd seen Bosnia, Iraqand Afghanistan..... 'traveled the world'......

    I entered USMA a 'true believer' and lost my naivety quickly.....   I didn't stay and left (along with 40 % of my class - a shock to those who recruited us so heavily).   A lottery number in the high 300's (gotten AFTER my resignation) only seemed to verify my choice.  The next year ther ewere more than a full squad of former USMA 76'ers at my engineering college.  My squad at West Point only graduated 5 of the original 12.

    The latest (and potentially the most accomplished) in a long line of citizen soldiers in my family  chose to end that tradition.  I would advise my own sons to avoid what to me seem like pointless empire building conflicts that are NOT in our nation's best interest.  They are very bright and will do amazing things  - too many bright people who might make a real difference in the world never do so because they die young in futile, pointless wars.  Three of the Scouts I've worked with over the years are at West Point now.  The place has changed in many ways.   I hope they will have the maturity to see beyond the groupthink that now predominates - but then the system is designed to make sure they will not.  Only a few - like Ian Fishback - seem to have the courage to stand up for what we SHOULD be and SHOULD represent.  Most will serve bravely - and blindly.   I wonder what would have happened if Pat Tillman lived and published his journals...... if someone of public stature' managed to make a contrasting voice heard......

    My gut still tightens and tears well up when at a place like Gettysburg - or while visiting the Vietnam Memorial in DC.   Our nation has had some astounding men serve in its military but has not held up its end of the compact that SHOULD be in place with its fighting forces.  War should always be a LAST resort - employed with moral and ethical 'rightness'.     But sadly, as Smedley Butler noted, war is too often a 'racket' ....

    •  Would you consider turning this into a diary? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly, Pete Rock, Mnemosyne

      Your voice and these words deserve more attention. And it it is so timely, as "we" start to sicken of the latest warfraud, and it begins to become apparent that "we" can't afford this shit and survive as a sorta "free" nation, and on the larger scale as a species...

      Please?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:26:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right on. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light, Mayfly, Mnemosyne, LLPete, native

    I realize all the IGTNT diaries are not for ranting, but I hope this one is OK. I am tired of hearing about how all the soldiers in "Notagainistan" and Iraq are fighting and dying for MY freedom, or OUR freedom. They are not. They are fighting for Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, Halliburton, KBR, "Xe" and every other member of the sacred Military/Industrial complex.
    Actually, it is, as was originally meant by Eisenhower, the Military/Industrial/CONGRESSIONAL Complex. And that is a sad thing, for without the Congressional part, we wouldn't be getting into these messes whose only profits go to the War Machine owners, and whose only sacrifice is by the poor grunt in the field.
    How many of our soldiers  have we sent to their death for nothing. Get that. FOR NOTHING. Alice today they have been able to help make this a better world
    I am not upset at them. I am upset at US, for allowing their blood to be shed in far off lands for some corporate asshole's wet dream.
    Think of the money we have squandered. The right loves to say we need to cut everything we have instituted to help Americans because of the debt THEY created for their lust for blood, oil and money.
    As Gen. Butler said (and you pointed out), war is a racket. If you want to end it, take the profit out of it. But we all know it will never happen.
    And to all of those who are to goddam lazy to vote because "it doesn't matter", or "because they're all the same" remember this. They are NOT all the same. And it does matter.
    I honor the service of every soldier who has ever served, or is now serving. My dad was a WWII bombardier in the ETO. I just wish you they had a country that didn't send them into harms way, or cause their death, for nothing more than corporate profit.

    A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.

    by MA Liberal on Mon May 30, 2011 at 06:47:29 PM PDT

    •  The kids--they are mostly kids--who volunteer for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      the armed services are sometimes desperate for some way to help support their families and themselves. And, of course, they are seduced by the "fighting for America's freedom" meme.  

      These are good kids and would not be so quick to sign up if the truth were told--that they are being asked to fight to steal oil.

      US energy corporations realize that both solar and wind power share one big drawback--they are free.

      by Mayfly on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:34:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Soldiers have been lied to for decades (0+ / 0-)

        perhaps centuries.
        Smedley Butler became a General, and he said most wars/conflicts he was sent to were to protect corporate interests.
        He's been dead a long time and things haven't changed.
        I admire people in the services. I really do. But I'd prefer they weren't lied to, that their very lives would be respected enough not to use them as cannon fodder.
        And while I agree with you that some might not be so quick to sign up if they knew the truth, I think that, in fact, there are many who sign up because of economic conditions and just hope they can get through their stint alive.

        A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.

        by MA Liberal on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:51:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  on the IGTNT diaries, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      I recommend them whenever I see one, and tip the writers because they are brave and noble people to do that research and attempt a selfless honor.

      And I read the names of those being honored, because to read their names, whoever they were, means that just for a moment they are remembered.

      But I cannot bear to read the comments, lest I degenerate into a screaming rant. Thanks for this very true comment.

      Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

      by Mnemosyne on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:38:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I too respect the IGTNT diares (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne

        but cannot read them. Every face I see of a dead solider just makes me want to scream or cry for the wonderful lives lost, the small children who will never know mom or dad, and other family members and friends left behind. These wonderful people have had their lives wasted, not sacrificed. And that is a tragedy.

        A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.

        by MA Liberal on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:54:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Other soldiers speak out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light

    Link: http://www.answercoalition.org/...

    Soldiers speak out on Memorial Day:

    'Remember Sgt. Kirkland! No more deaths from Wall Street’s wars!'

    The following is a statement from veterans and active-duty troops in the organization March Forward!, an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition.

    On Memorial Day, we are asked to remember those who have died in Washington’s wars. Of course, we’re only asked to remember the lives of U.S. troops; the lives of civilians killed in the current wars are supposed to not exist. As veterans, we know the human toll all too well, and cannot forget the more than one million innocent Iraqis, and the tens of thousands of Afghans, including an entire home just obliterated yesterday by NATO that killed ten children--cut from life before it had even begun.

    In the United States, there are many families who will be mourning a loved one this Memorial Day: over 6,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past ten years. That number is climbing by the day as casualties hit record numbers in the hopeless Afghanistan war, and troops continue to be killed in the “ended” Iraq war.

    Donate today to March Forward! Support a movement of anti-war veterans and service members.

    But what this government doesn’t want us to remember is the record number of troops who have lost their lives to suicide. They, too, are victims of the U.S. military's wars. Over the past two years, more active-duty troops have killed themselves than have been killed in combat. Outside the military, veterans commit suicide at a rate of 18 per day.

    This epidemic is the result of criminally negligent mental health care from the U.S. military and Veterans Affairs—but no matter how much the mental health care system is improved, it doesn’t stop the constant flow of thousands of young people who are sent to be traumatized in the first place in two imperial wars. A recent study found that now 80 percent of soldiers and Marines have witnessed a friend killed or wounded in combat. Morale is down the drain.

    Under these conditions, the wave of suicides can only get worse.

    Active-duty troops are standing up and fighting back. This Memorial Day, let’s remember those killed by the U.S. government’s actions, and honor those who are memorializing a fellow soldier by speaking out and fighting to punish those responsible for his death.

    Sgt. Derrick Kirkland, from 4-9 Infantry at Fort Lewis, Wash., deployed to Iraq twice. He was rated a “low risk” for suicide after three consecutive suicide attempts, was publicly ridiculed for seeking help by his superiors, then placed in a barracks room alone in violation of Army regulations. Days later he killed himself, on March 19, 2010.

    Kirkland’s mother, Mary Corkhill, told March Forward!: “the Army has massively failed him … I am very angry at the Army and I feel they killed my son.”

    Click here to read the powerful interview with Sgt. Kirkland’s mother.

    March Forward! members in 4-9 Infantry immediately sprung into action upon his death to expose those responsible. They have been heroically organizing and speaking out. They are still working today to expose Sgt. Kirkland's case and the criminal treatment given to all troops, and to organize against the wars.

    You can help their voices be heard by signing their petition and circulating their statements widely.

    Help build the campaign to win justice for Sgt. Kirkland, to hold the government accountable for their mistreatment of traumatised soldiers, and to end the wars!

    Eli Stephens
    Left I on the News
    "Stand Up, Fight Back!"

    by elishastephens on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:09:44 PM PDT

  •  So true. The Vietnam war was unnecessary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne

    My husband was a paratrooper (101st Airborne) in WW 2. (Wounded in siege of Bastogne.  Awarded a Bronze Star.)

    He considered WW 2 a failure of the "old men" who messed up the peace agreements after WW 1. (And he was right.)  After serving in WW 2, and being wounded, he still was eligible for the draft in Vietnam.

    He asked me what Vietnam was about (he didn't keep up with politics) and I gave him my best synopsis.  Then he said he didn't intend to go.  "Ok," I responded.  "If it comes to that we'll move to Canada."

    I wish the Canadians, who have been sensible enough not to get involved in Iraq, would still support US defectors.    

    US energy corporations realize that both solar and wind power share one big drawback--they are free.

    by Mayfly on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:27:06 PM PDT

  •  I am just stunned and amazed, by the diary and all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne

    the comments.  How wonderful to hear these thoughts, which go against what we've been told we must feel on Memorial Day.

    It is gratifying, knowing that many vets feel the way I do, that it's not about "protecting our freedom" - which I always ask, "How, by killing people in Iraq or Afghanistan, are we more free?"

    I have long felt, and rarely articulated, that we keep ourselves free by voting, by keeping up with the current events of our country, by not just knee-jerk support of one "side" or another.  By being informed and educated.

    I am the daughter of a WWII vet, who fought in the Italian theater, including the battles of Salerno, Italy, and at the beach in Anzio.  He was wounded, we knew that much, but he never talked about it much until right before he died.  Then he told me about where he was, and wanted me to read about it myself.  I guessed he did not want to revisit it in his mind.

    From Wikipedia:  "No campaign in Western Europe cost more than the Italian campaign in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces..."  I wonder, if he were alive now, how he would feel about Dubya's rush to war, and would he support it?  I'd love to think he wouldn't, but I'll never know.

    Thanks to the vets who have commented here, from your heart, after experiencing things I cannot imagine, even after reading a really great book by EB Sledge about the Pacific theater, or reading about the Italian battles my dad was in.  Thanks for speaking out, for being informed, for not buying into the hype of war and warriors.   I am glad I came to this diary.  

    -6.50/-5.23 Palin / Trump 2012 - "I quit!" / "You're Fired"

    by Merry Light on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:44:57 PM PDT

    •  D-day dodgers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Merry Light

      "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

      by BOHICA on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:28:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow. Thanks, BOHICA, that was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BOHICA

        something to watch.  War is something we should never take lightly or ignore.

        -6.50/-5.23 Palin / Trump 2012 - "I quit!" / "You're Fired"

        by Merry Light on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:45:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The term D-Day dodgers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light

          From Wiki

          A rumour spread during the war that the term was publicized by Viscountess Astor, a Member of the British Parliament, who supposedly used the expression in public after a disillusioned serviceman in Italy signed a letter to her as being from a "D-Day Dodger." However, there is no record that she actually said this, in or out of Parliament, and she herself denied ever saying it.
          “Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea.
          Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.”

          After she told him he was drunk;

          “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

          "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

          by BOHICA on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:55:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome home, Jim (0+ / 0-)

    and thanks for bringing your brain back intact. More voices like yours need to be heard. Like you said, War is now more than ever a business decision.

    The question needs to be asked of our "leaders"- "Who do you serve?"

    May you find yourself constantly in the company of noble souls.

    by Gentle Giant on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:39:31 PM PDT

  •  Great rant! I would do one myself, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LLPete

    I am like a broken record.....

    Vietnam was not a mistake. Iran was not an error in intelligence misleading the president. It was the President misleading theru manipulating and lying about the evidence.  Notagainastan is the correct term for the Afghan debacle.

    The wars America fights now are out of economic necessity, to keep the world's largest war machine fed and occupied so it doesn't become stale or turn on itself.
    The economy is so parasitized on itself and wrapped up in defending fossil fuels as a paradigm forever it seeks out wars to have an excuse for growing.

    Memorial day honors all who died in wars.  Be it in America's "service" or not. (Civil War rebels are honored, too}.

    Only the Indians/native Americans fighting for their families and way of life are not honored except that many of their descendants fought bravely in WW 1 WW 2, Korea and elsewhere in spite of all that happened to them.

    My father thought he would be a career officer. 9 years in the service, WW  2 broke out and after 5 1/2 years of it he was utterly done and retired  never to go back.

    We need a new paradigm, and to expose at all times what has happened to this country with a professional military that is inseperable as co enabler of the defense contractors and the war for profit machine.

    When a man or woman spends thirty years in the service and gopes to work as a lobbyist to indulge the war for profit system and become even more of a zealot for warmaking as a way of life, we are finished as abeaconn for the world. We are the terror and fright of the world among all decent people. If we care to take the blinders off and observe.

    Those red poppies that are sold by vets observing Mwemorial day are a reminder of what all this cost us.

    The interpretation and future is up to us.

    I spent the afternoon reading Maya Lin's "Boundaries" the 2000 book where she discusses how she conceived and managed to get the Vietnam War Memorial done in spite of its simplicity and engraving of the 57,000 plus names.

    Very moving .  Miracles do happen, even now.

    cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

    by Pete Rock on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:44:59 PM PDT

  •  Coda (0+ / 0-)

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Mon May 30, 2011 at 09:01:00 PM PDT

  •  War is the worst evil there is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA

    In all of existence, there is nothing worse than war.

    You write awfully well. Many thanks for telling it like it is. We don't hear near enough of that.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:27:25 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for your diary (0+ / 0-)

    Well done. I share your sentiments.

    Sorry I did not come earlier to tip so many good comments.

    By coincidence I happened on to a link to Hearts and Minds this morning and watched the entire video. Highly recommended if you've not already seen it.

    “Humankind can not bear very much reality.” - T.S. Eliot

    by truong son traveler on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:15:07 AM PDT

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