As a baby boomer who had a few neighbors of mine killed in Vietnam AKA ‘ The Shit ‘ as the soldiers called it, veterans celebrations piss me off! Since the Vietnam debacle we have had many other foreign interventions’ that sacrificed American military lives… for no justifiable reasons. Of course, the most heinous one was our illegal and immoral invasions ( with subsequent illegal occupations ) of Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, on each and every Veterans Day and Memorial Day this Military and Industrial Empire plays the sympathy card. How dare they!? For purposes other than the usual ones of humanitarian or defensive reasons, they ship our young men and women thousands of miles away to kill and be killed. Then they lower their heads solemnly and pray aloud for them. Hogwash! The last USA war for legitimate concerns was WW2… period!
I just love it when the NFL has their coaches and players wearing those camouflage jackets and caps to honor who? First of all, wearing camouflage is ridiculous, as it was when they had the military wearing it to patrol our airline terminals, or as honor guards before sporting events. Anyone who knows even a little squat about being in war knows that camouflage is worn when out in the bush to hide from an enemy. Not in an airport or the sidelines of a football game! The empire has this down to a science, as when we invaded Iraq in 2003. This writer can recall a press conference at the most heavily guarded military base, way way back behind any such front lines. There was the US General answering reporters’ questions… in FULL CAMO!! Or when then President Obama wanted to meet face to face with General Stanley McChrystal here at home on Air Force ONE in Denver. Guess how McChrystal was dressed as he boarded? Why not? We were most likely in battle with the enemy in Colorado.
There are approximately 40,000 veterans who are homeless in our nation, which is 11% of the total homeless population. Do you see those same hypocritical politicians and industry leaders doing much to alleviate it? Many of those vets are heavy into opioid abuse, along with, of course, mega millions of our populace. Yet, Big Pharma still is making a fortune pumping out those killers, knowing that most of those pills are NOT going for severe physical pain relief. Many of those vets are suffering from some degree of mental illness, much of it attributed to what occurred while they served. Go get the fine 1987 Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket. See what happened to the Marine recruit and how it turned into a violent end… and that was during boot camp! By the way, where is the call for increased spending for all forms of mental illness? You hear lip service, but little funding for local mental health counseling… as a citizen’s safety net. We don’t have national health insurance, so the majority of mental health care is either not covered by insurance plans, or paying very little when it is covered. If someone, including many vets, is not hospitalized first for mental illness, little is done to get the person proper care. How many crazed shooters do we have to read about before we realize that many of them could have perhaps been treated early on… TO STOP THEM FROM ACTING OUT LATER!?
The right wing has already managed to hijack our flag, as the right wing fundamentalist Christians have attempted with Jesus. Sinclair Lewis allegedly said it best: ” When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross!” If we truly love our veterans then we should oppose the fascist culture that has crept through the cracks of our republic. That mindset is what creates phony wars and phony pleas for more defense $ . When anyone begins to pontificate on Vietnam or Iraq and the so called ‘ Wars’ in those places, remind them that the last declared war by our government was WW2. Then cut to the chase and say it straight and true: We had no business sending our young military to those places… PERIOD!!
Philip A Farruggio is regular columnist on It’s the Empire… stupid website. He is also frequently posted on Nation of Change, and Countercurrents.org,. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 400 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid ‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at email@example.com.