Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day (plus bonus links)

(Apologies for the profanity that is sprinkled throughout my writing. When I re-read my posts and discover the frequent vulgarities, I think to myself, "Goddamn it, what the hell was I thinking?")

Memorial Day. It's a great day to say that I do not "support the troops", I do not believe that soldiers who fight (or fought) in Iraq or Afghanistan are heroes, and I am sick to death of all the obsequious kow-towing for the corporate stormtroopers and oil nazis (yeah, I said it) who are the fingers and toes, the teeth and the claws of Cheney and Bush and the rest of their vile syndicate of neocon pigs.

I apologize to those fellow bloggers whom I respect so highly, and who I am surely going to offend with this post, who write of honoring the fallen. But I say this "I oppose the war but support the troops" line was bullshit 15 years ago when it accompanied our first war against Iraq, and it is bullshit today.

"The troops" are not defending our country, or our freedoms, or our way of life (unless you define our way of life as an orgy of consumerism and excess consumption). They're carrying out the marching orders of powermongers whose gluttony is boundless. Invade and conquer, destroy and possess, crush all dissent, crush all opposition, death and carnage from above and below. Dick Cheney says they're defending democracy, so they must be heroes.

Give me a fucking break. The troops are either 1) gullible dupes who got sucked into hell as victims of their own ignorance, in which case they have my sincere and utmost sympathy, or 2) they are violent assholes who love to shoot and kill (and they are out there in droves), or 3) they are rightwing idealogues who share the sentiments of Cheney and Bush and the rest, in which case I say to hell with them, they (2&3) are more dangerous to our country than the foreign terrorists.

Memorial Day. Yeah, I honor the memory of those whose sacrifice actually meant something for this country, who defended America and what it really stood for, the freedoms which this administration wants to abolish (using "the troops" as their instrument). But as for the dupes of the military-industrial complex, they have only my sympathy. And the willing participants of American imperial expansionism and exploitation receive only my contempt.


A Brief History of United States Interventions, 1945 to the Present

Let the Bloody Truth Be Told: A Chronology of U.S. Imperialism


Rick said...

At least you are honest. I have more respect for your position than the "I oppose the war but support the troops" crowd. It is pure, unadulterated bullshit as you state.

That I could not possibly disagree with your thinking any more, is neither here nor there.

Worried said...

I support the troops, just as I support all of humanity, and especially the innocent children and other civilians slaughtered all over the world by greedy power mad jerks. I do have more pity for the dupes, and - as you say - contempt for Nos.2&3. However, in principle I am opposed to slaughter of human beings. Perhaps it is because of my medical training and long career devoted to helping others.

I hesitate to use the word "hate" but I can say without the slightest qualm that I thoroughly despise Bush, Cheney and cohorts and what they have done to our country. We have had some bad presidents in the past but Bush tops them all in pure damned evil.

nunya said...

You are correct. Your anger and frustration is valid. That said, many of the troops are economic victims of the war for profits waged by the 1-2% of Americans who hold real power in this country. Here is a particularly sad example:

A Soldier's Tale: Lynndie England

I say this only because I personally have heard so many reasons from the troops as to why they joined the service. Yes, there are major assholes in the service. Most are trying to escape something when they join. Not all, however, are trying to escape themselves.

SheaNC said...

Rick: Thanks for the comment about being honest. I know that a post like this leaves me wide open for some strong rebuttal, especially from veterans like yourself. I really don't want to insult people, but my opinion on this subject, admittedly, is probably quite insulting to many. All I can say is, many soldiers may have joined the military with the best of intentions, but you know what they say about the road to hell...

Worried: Thanks. By the way, I didn't find that addy...

Nunya: Thanks, too. Boy, I expected people to rip me to shreds on this one, but so far everyone's been very understanding.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

They're carrying out the marching orders of powermongers whose gluttony is boundless.
And that is why I do support the troops, just as I would you, were you a fire fighter sent in burning building to save a bauble of a rich woman. The consequences of you not retrieving that bauble could well be many, and severe, and affect your life for years to come. So it is with the soldiers. It is true that this is a voluntary army at the moment. For far too many, military service is the only, and I stress only, way to achieve an education, a way out of system and environment that guarantees them life long poverty. It's true that they knew a war could start at any time, but why should that be held against them for wanting to improve themselves? You have to take risks in this world...many of them very unpleasant.

I'm a Vietnam Vet, and while I saw some #2's, for most of them, their enthusiasm tends to diminish quickly when they watch the head of the guy next to them explode in a red mist. They do exist, however, there's no doubt. The same goes for the "sis rah boom, damn, but war is fun!" crowd.

You are right when you say they are not dying for anything that protects America against a threat of any kind, but you are wrong when you say you don't/won't support the troops, in the narrow sense of the word. They didn't start this war, and very few have a death wish. They are unwilling pawns in a rich man's chess game, and the very reason they SHOULD be supported, is to stop the deaths of so many. To say you don't support them is to say you don't care how many of them die, and I know good and well that's not the case.

Kudo's for speaking your mind on a tough, sensitive subject. That's never easy.

Rick said...

Being anti war or opposed to a war is a legitimate position to hold. I was having a back and forth with Mike of the north some months ago (might have even been on your site) and I was telling him about my college roommate. (post Vietnam) He was conscientious objector. ( 60s term often used as a synonym for coward) He did not seek sanctuary in Canada or go underground in Berkley. He reported and asked to be made a medic. He was on hill 937 (hamburger hill) in May 1969. He was unarmed and did all he could for the wounded and dying. He changed how I viewed C Os.

I believe we are in a war for western civilization. It has been ongoing for decades and will continue for a generation or more. I believe the confluence of nuclear devices and Islamic terrorism will have cataclysmic consequences for the west. I know that you disagree, and that's fine. Try reading (you likely already have) some brief histories of the Barbary wars. You will be fascinated. They were the same folks. We called them pirates, but they were Islamists doing their business. Collecting tribute, capturing and selling slaves, and putting to the sword all who refused to convert. Estimates run from a half million to one and a half million Americans and Europeans were captured and sold into slavery by those folks. Adams favored paying tribute (taxes for traversing the Mediterranean) but Jefferson, who followed, refused. So, Jefferson was forced to construct a fleet of fast, well armed, frigates to project his policy that distance. So, we defeated these early 19th century Bin Ladens. But the good news was, this fleet we were forced to construct was what enabled us to defeat the British in 1812. Don't misread this as a comparison between Bush and Jefferson. That is not my intent. I am only wanting to show that this is not a new virus we face. These folks are not pragmatic like Russians or the Germans, they think that being killed is a good deal also. We were not in Iraq in Sept 01, nor were we in Iraq in 1979 when our embassy was attacked. They hate us because we are free and we are non believers. The possibility of them getting nukes places me squarely in the 'fight them there or fight them here' crowd.

I tip my hat to 'the future was yesterday'. Welcome home brother.

Sorry for being long winded.


SheaNC said...

Future: Thanks for the kudos. I guess it boils down to free choice for me. Who was worse, Hitler, or those who obeyed him? I've always maintained that the followers are worse than the leader, because they have free will, they don't have to follow, they don't have to obey. The Hitler/Hirohito/Osama/Cheney whoever would be nothing, nothing, without their minions. Sometimes followers should refuse to follow.

Rick: Your Barbary wars analogy serves to illustrate my point: our adversary (by whatever name, Islamists or Pirates) were involved in the same sort of behavior as Americans and Europeans. Slavery. Religious conversion at the point of a sword. Killing, stealing, on and on, Americans did it, Christians did it, English and French and Spanish and etc did it. But the difference is that when we do it, it is manifest destiny, or god's will, or spreading democracy, but when others do it, it is "piracy" or "naked aggression" or "terrorism".

We've bombed Iraq for over a decade before engaging in the current war. To live in a country under constant threat of military annihilation by a superpower... would that be "terrifying" to some people? Or maybe the gangland-movie scenario that the superpower will crush you if you don't submit and hand them control of your precious natural resources?

Rick, I admire your interest in, and respect for, history. But they don't "hate us because we are free and we are non believers". They hate us because we have been screwing with them and their countries for many, many years. We put the Shah in power in Iran, we gave weapons to Hussein, we played with war between Iraq and Iran (innocents be damned), and George Bush even gave millions to the Taliban just months before 9/11. In other areas of the world we are the terrorists, running death squads, overthrowing governments, covert ops, and all of it to serve the corporate masters, not Jefferson's America. Osama Bin Laden claims he would not have an argument with the US if we hadn't planted military bases in his country. Should we allow other countries to install military bases in our country? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

America's insidious behavior across the globe is why I included the links about American foreign intervention.

When you're the weaker opponent facing a massive superpower, you don't just walk up and engage them toe-to-toe. You resort to guerilla warfare, anything, to strike a blow against your oppressors and defend your homeland and your way of life. That's what they are doing. We are the aggressors in Iraq and Afghanistan, we attacked them first (9/11=Saudis, the Bushes' fuckbuddies). They are defending themselves.

And by the way, if we haven't manage to conquer Iraq given the condition it was in before the war, then the term "superpower" is little more than a Hollywood catchphrase.

azgoddess said...

wow -- loved your post and then i got reading your comments and love them just as much...last i remember, in this country you are free to speak your mind...bravo for doing just -- i don't agree with you but i will fight for your right to say what you feel!!

SheaNC said...

Thanks, azgoddess. One thing's for sure: I totally expected no one to agree with me on this post. But everyone so far has defended our right to speak freely, no matter what. Hooray for the grass roots!!

Tina said...

As the daughter of a Marine veteran of Vietnam and the niece of an Army veteran of Vietnam, I couldn't disagree more with most of what you said, but you absolutely have the right to say it. My dad and uncle have been against this war from day one, but it was because of their horrific experience in Vietnam that has made them so. They both joined the military to advance their lives since college was not an option, but they never intended to be used and abused by their govt for a war that never should have happened. Sound familiar?

SheaNC said...

Thanks, Tina, it does sound familiar. But what choice would your dad and uncle make if they could relive those years? I know they couldn't see into the future, while my opinion enjoys the luxury of hindsight. But knowing what we know now, the only thing close to support I can muster is sympathy for those who simply have no clue what they are doing.

Renegade Eye said...

I think this is a good discussion.

Ultimately the troops are victims, as they come home wounded physically and mentally. We don't have the health system to care for them correctly.

The spit at veteran was an urban legend. Keep it that way.

Good blog.

SheaNC said...

Thanks, renegade eye.