Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Veterans's Day Reflection

Today, Veterans' Day, is a very conflicted day of recognition and appreciation, in my view. On the one hand, I truly appreciate the men and women who serve in our military and the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, I am bitter. I am bitter about the fact that most of the wars and conflicts to which they have been sent are based on political positions that I judge to be fundamentally wrong.

If we, as a nation, ask our young men and women to risk their lives, we had better be pretty goddamn sure we're asking them to take that risk for something that's worth it. Looking back on the wars we've fought in the not-too-distant past (and even further back), I don't find many that justified asking our young men and women in the military to risk their lives.

Surely not Iraq...we should never have gone into Iraq. The lies that justified our attack on that country will be a national disgrace until the end of time.

I seriously question Afghanistan; we should have either gone in full force and ended it quickly, or simply stayed out.

Not Viet Nam. That was a personal war that should have been waged by the families who had the most to gain.

Not Korea. It was based on political posturing, not on compelling need.

I don't fault the people who have fought those wars, though I wish they would not go so willingly and so unquestioningly. I wish soldiers did not need to equate their value with the value of the decisions that sent them in harm's way.

I appreciate and honor our soldiers. I can't say the same about their leaders. Not not, not for a long while.

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