Another Memorial Day has passed—the day set aside to honor those who died in U.S. military service. Whether or not that service was voluntary, an honest and instructive remembrance is proper and fitting. Yet the traditional shtik found in mainstream media's celebratory forefront is disgusting. So choreographed is the nation with red white and blue shmaltz that even hard-core veterans find it difficult to renounce the disingenuous "hero" labels and the ill-advised "thank you for your service" adieux—both promoted and popularized by "unwarranted military influence" which Ike so futilely warned against in 1961.The youngest of minds absorb the lie that military service is inherently heroic and worthy of emulation. Contradictorily informed veterans, thinkers, and scholars constantly and consistently reveal U.S. military actions to be nothing more than complimentary corporate muscle for well-heeled international business interests—something especially obvious in this millennium.
Americans traditionally do not celebrate victims of crime and there seems no reason to make an exception in the case of veterans. Some enlist "to preserve our way of life" as the bromide goes yet incrementally discern they are but unwitting participants in acts of aggression supporting direct or indirect imperialism. This awareness is perhaps the first indicator of "moral injury"—an increasingly fashionable term in the world of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Certainly the overwhelming realization of being a cog in the world's most accomplished killing machine can produce "profound emotional shame" in individuals perceiving such participation to be personal "moral transgression" despite having been "duped". With no escape clause in service contracts the shame intensifies with time. This makes the now-sentient volunteer a victim of his chosen circumstances. U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antal currently appears to be a case in point. As for the less-perceptive, combat zones victimize everyone whether victor or defeated.
Public support for war typically is manufactured via mainstream's uncritical reporting of unsubstantiated government allegations against some targeted "enemy"—so the conduct of war typically inherently becomes war crime. Chilcot showed us that in spades. Consequently.one can only surmise that the typical U.S. combat veteran is a crime victim. Certainly George W. Bush and a few high level officials guiding his administrations arguably are long past due for prosecution1. Commendably the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal already has returned several guilty verdicts1 however symbolic. Certain lies, deceits, and barbaric actions of the last four [#5 in process] U.S. administrations appear to be directly responsible for the untimely demise of several million innocent Middle East and North Africa residents, largely explaining the exponential rise of extremism in that part of the world and completely explaining the greatest European refugee crisis the world has ever known. It seems both sides of conflicting forces invariably are war crime victims along with others in the neighborhood, even near bystanders.
So next Memorial Day what will you thank a deceased veteran for? Illegal invasions of sovereign nations? Slaughtering brown people for riches? Defending our way of life? Ha. "Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war" is how U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler stated it back in the 1930's. Wars are not initiated to defeat enemies but to create conditions favorable to national policy interests. U.S. forces historically in any final analysis are but complimentary corporate muscle.
Deceased veterans must be remembered but not for heroism or glory or any perceived "victory". Their untimely deaths best remind us of the pain of war, the futility, the loss of innocence, and the needless suffering that lingers in places far beyond the battlefield. The youngest of minds need to know these realities to learn an abhorrence of war and to appreciate the value of diplomacy, detente, and informed consensus—the value of human dignity—and to embrace a loathing of military service for imperialistic purposes. Such awareness constitutes education in part. Training produces more flag-waving fools.
Long ago Plato argued that cities, nations, and the human race could have no rest from evils before rule by philosopher kings is established and until political greatness and wisdom entirely coincide—not a likely happening under The Donald. Try to envision the planet under highly educated and astute world leaders who place enormous value on human dignity and who never attempt to expand their influence with either extortion or brute force. Then dream on.
1Noted 5/29/2017 domain criminalisewar.org is under new ownership unaffiliated with Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal.
Relevant information about KLWCT and the findings can be found at the following 3 links:
Bush/Blair guilty (Common Dreams)
about KLWCT and trials (Aljazeera)
Bush/Blair guilty (Foreign Policy Journal)