A while back a buddy of mine went into a Walmart and overheard the elderly greeter mumbling to himself. He said something like: my feet hurt, my back hurts. I survived the Chosin Reservoir for this?
Now if you don't know anything about Chosin Reservoir, look it up. I'll wait, it's worth knowing.
So the old guy survived one of the worse times of the Korean War. (I'll call it a war, not a police action. They weren't there to direct traffic.) Then he ends his days as a Walmart greeter pulling not much more than minimum wage. Call it thanks from a grateful nation.
Vets are treated like crap. I used to work with a lot of them. Guys who during slow times would idly pull bomb shrapnel out of their chest wouldn't go to the VA for medical treatment. They'd rather use their private insurance and/or pay out of pocket expenses to see "real" doctors.
Unemployment and homelessness is high among vets. It's not easy to readjust to civilian life. War screws your head and your body, then you are on your own.
I met a homeless disabled vet once. His veterans benefits weren't enough to pay child support and allow him to rent an apartment. So his kid wouldn't do without, he lived in his car. This guy's guts were held in place with artificial mesh. He had to be careful to not gain any weight as the mesh didn't stretch like skin and muscle would. The pain was constant. The army made him feel bad because he wasn't hurt in combat but in a training accident. This guy was in uniform, shouldn't that be enough for a little respect?
I know of a 21 year old alcoholic who's buddies died in Afghanistan. Then there are guys killed in combat who only joined the National Guard for the education benefits.
I can understand why a young person would join: patriotism, adventure, to test his bravery, to be part of a band of warriors, or even to have a job and some chance at an education. Valid enough reasons, but too often these good intentions are abused.
How would they feel if they knew they were really fighting for the good of big business?
Who sends people to war? During Vietnam it was people like Kissinger and Nixon who called soldiers "fodder units." How about the Bush administration's Dick Cheney, the four time draft dodger? His former company Halliburton did quite well in Iraq.
We talk of starving the beast -giving the bare minimum of money to the government/military/business monster. That's a noble and good plan. But I've got to ask, why do we allow the beast to recruit our sons and daughters?
The rank and file military people are fine excellent people. Why do we allow them to be eaten by the empire?
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