Veterans Day, 2013
Last night, at some point I looked over at the TV and saw hundreds of football fans in the stands holding up sign cards that read:
“THANK YOU MILITARY”
I guess my eyes were supposed to tear up and my heart was supposed to fill with gratitude, but instead I was immediately reminded of the scene from Idiocracy where the fat greeter says, “Welcome to Costco. I love you.”
THANK YOU MILITARY. I LOVE YOU.
Carefully orchestrated, programmed and prompted gratitude. Gratitude as a meaningless social convention.
Like when mom tells you to thank your great aunt for the sloppy kiss and the McDonald’s gift certificates.
THANK YOU AUNT BLANK, I LOVE YOU.
Depending on exactly who we’re talking about, I do have respect for soldiers. Not so much the men and women who work in the massive bureaucracy of the military-industrial complex doing the same jobs as civilians slobs.
Actual soldiers. The relative handful of fighting men who have been overseas, who have actually seen some kind of action. I respect them for having had to deal with physical and emotional hardships that I’ve never had to handle. Guys who have seen pals get their legs blown off. Men who know what it feels like to be under fire. Even men who never saw combat, but who were sent into combat zones and had to go through the mental preparation for it. That’s heavy shit. I respect that.
I have and would readily take some time to listen to a soldier who needs someone to talk to about some kind of traumatic experience. Usually, I end up hearing about how the government is fucking them over after the fact.
I despise smug, spoiled people who portray soldiers as stupid monsters. Some of them probably are, but that hasn’t been my experience, and for the most part I think American soldiers are, or started out as, decent men trying to do what men have always done in the only way that American society allows them to do it.
I also envy soldiers. I envy the opportunity to be tried in that way and I envy the opportunity to be trained for combat. It would take a lot of expensive weekend tactical training courses to replicate the training most of these guys have gone through. There’s no way I could afford the instruction, the toys or the ammunition that Uncle Sam gives readily to poor kids from the heartland. By the time I started to realize what I’d missed out on, I was numerically too old and had too many other personal obligations to think seriously about signing my life over to some recruiter.
So, respect, yes. Conditionally.
Compassion? Yes, more than I have to spare for some mouth breathing mall-walker with his mundane problems.
No thank you.
That may be offensive to some people, especially veterans and their families. But I’ve known several vets who in honest moments admit that they are basically mercenaries. Some sign up knowing that, and some figure it out later, after realizing what MILITARY actually is and what it actually does and why.
I guess there are still plenty of guys in MILITARY who think they are saving us all from some vague foreign threat — as if “the terrorists” are going to wash up on some Carolina beachhead and impale soccer moms on their white picket fences in the name of Allah.
Frankly, I’d be far more grateful to MILITARY if an aircraft carrier rolled up on Manhattan and finished destroying the financial district. They’d easily kill as many enemies of the American people, and they’d save a bunch on fuel.
MILITARY isn’t protecting “our freedom.”
The British aren’t coming.
MILITARY is protecting the business interests and supply chains of the people who buy influence in American politics. MILITARY is protecting the interests people who have enough money to buy freedom for themselves and who want less freedom for average Americans. MILITARY is doing the overseas dirty work of Zionist millionaire politicians like Feinstein and nanny-state-loving billionaires like Bloomberg — people who protect themselves with armed guards and work to forcibly disarm average Americans. MILITARY is fighting to serve the political interests of Barack Obama, and will probably be fighting for Hillary Clinton in a few years. In many cases, MILITARY might be just be fighting to keep the military-industrial complex running — because what the hell would all of those people do if the military stopped fighting?
In a sane and righteous patriarchy, honoring the fallen and returning warriors who fought against foreign aggressors — or even for the glory, honor and prosperity of their tribe — would be sacred and serious public business.
But the American people are only getting poorer as American leaders get richer, and the question of fighting for the honor of the American people as such is completely alien to contemporary American discourse.
Average American men have a far better chance of being murdered, enslaved or imprisoned by the American government than they do of being murdered, enslaved or imprisoned by some foreign invaders.
And it is ultimately the implied power of MILITARY to put down with shock and awe any twinkle of American revolution, secession or insurgency that keeps the corrupt regime of bankers, corporations and politicians comfortable in their spendy socks and bulletproof limousines.
MILITARY isn’t just protecting our access to iPads and ensuring that we won’t have to pray facing the Kaaba. MILITARY is also protecting the American ruling class from the American people.
So, “No thank you, MILITARY.”
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