I hate seeing comparisons between this war and Vietnam, in part because I don’t believe any good comes from treating suffering like a competition, and in part because it grosses me out when people start talking about how it would be nothing in that war to lose as many soldiers as we’ve lost in this whole war in a month.
Of course, what’s lacking in that analysis is how many soldiers are living through catastrophic injuries that would have been deadly thirty five years ago. This is what I mean when I say that this war erases the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. We act like it’s some great testament to how well we make war that we’re making more living veterans, when, in part, it’s just a testament to how well we patch them up.
Well, then, I refuse to buy into that. I refuse to say that this day is for the dead and that day is for the living. Because it’s not as if two days is one too many to think carefully about what we’re asking the men and women of the armed services to do.
I do believe that it’s unpatriotic to not support our troops. We elect this government–we’re, in the end, responsible for what it does. We owe it to the people who have to implement our will to support them as they do that.
But, I think it’s clear that we, for too long, have believed that supporting our troops means unquestioning cheerleading of the things they’re doing, when really, supporting our troops means demanding accountability from the people in charge of deciding what our military should be doing.
I know there’s this tendency to look at the price we’re paying–thousands dead, thousands more wounded–and to feel the enormity of that cost… well, I can understand why some folks become committed to the idea that we’re doing The Right Thing. If we’re not, how do we justify what we’re putting our families, friends, and neighbors through?
But it’s important to realize how dangerous that is, to unquestioningly believe that we’re doing the right thing. When the price is so high–rows and rows of stones or lines of teary-eyed old men who still can’t talk about what happened to them–we should be weighing that cost against the worth of our assets every day.
It just pisses me off so much that we’re so careless with these lives. Yes, sometimes war is the only way. I know that. But it should always be a last resort. We should go to war infrequently and, when we do, we should go to win, with enough troops and resources and a game plan in place that is also open to revision if it’s not meeting our needs.
We don’t have that.
Here’s what I’d like to happen. In honor of our troops, living and dead, vote the motherfuckers out. Republican or Democrat, who gives a shit? If they’re in there now, bring them home.
It’s clear to me that, though we don’t agree on what the proper course of this country should be, there’s an overwhelming sense on every side of every aisle that we’re not on it.
We’re spinning our wheels. While our wheels spin, our troops are fighting a war they cannot win and thus their wheels spin, and in the meantime, for show, we’re presented with a fake fight between the two political parties, to maintain the illusion that they’re doing something, when really they’re just spinning their wheels. The only difference is that their wheel-spinning comes at the cost of our lives, our constitutional rights, and our civil liberties.
Folks, they aren’t going to suddenly wake up tomorrow and start doing right.
If there’s going to be a change, we have to do it. We can start by relieving incumbent politicians of their jobs.