Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, May 28, 2007. Take a moment to say a prayer or send a thought to all those who've died or been hurt, physically or emotionally, in all the wars man has ever fought. And to all the family members of those brave soldiers. And I do mean brave. I don't often agree with the war, but I will always respect the soldier. Throughout history they've mostly been young, strong men--and sometimes women--with less at stake than their superiors. Cannon fodder. There have been some conflicts brought about by lack of sufficient food or water. During my lifetime those have occurred all over the globe. The wars my country, the United States, has been involved in, have not had such dire necessity to explain them away: I was born during the Korean War--a conflict to keep Communism at bay. Or a conflict to keep US interests in the area alive in more than just Japan, which we'd semi-annexed following WW II. Then there was Vietnam, a war fought to keep Communism at bay--and to open up new markets for sneaker manufacturing-- at rock-bottom pay prices--as well as to gain access to the billions of new clients who might buy those sneakers. Then there was Granada--an exercise in penis strength, and the Panamanian War of Poppa Bush: a testing ground for the Stealth Bomber at best. Then Iraq 1--to protect our little oil interest in Kwuait, and Afganisthan, to root out the people we'd put in power initially, and currently the war in Iraq, to shore up oil interests.
Let's not forget the wars we don't call wars: the coups we arranged throughout Latin America in the 1970s and '80s, though we've managed a few more since then, or the skirmishes, like Somalia and elsewhere.
Each one, just of those handful, have cost good men their lives and limbs, have cost children their fathers, mothers their sons, wives their husbands. Take a moment today to appreciate their sacrifice--not necessarily because they were fighting to save anything, as they mostly were not--because most of those who died or were wounded, and all their loved ones, thought they were doing the right thing. Or were dragged into the fray against their will.
I never was in the military. I've often wondered whether I would have been a coward when the first shots rang out or if I would have had the courage to fight, even if just to save the next soldier's life. I hope I would have had courage, but I don't know.
I do know that a lot of men, good men, know the answer to that question. And a lot of men, good men, have paid a lot to find that answer out.
And while the bigger question of WHY might be visible to a lot of us and not make sense, to those who were in the thick of it, to those who were fighting to save their friends, the WHY doesn't matter. The WHAT does. And the WHAT is that they were courageous.
And for that, I thank them.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:

Peter Gorman said...

Rose Covered Glasses: I'm sorry I havn't responded sooner but thank you for a brief, clear, explaination. It takes the courage of people like you to begin to make others see what is really happening.
With all respect,
Peter Gorman