Memorial Day Message (5/31/10)

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Memorial Day Message (5/31/10)

Postby Ferguson Foont » Mon May 31, 2010 10:58 am

Here may be the most politically incorrect posting I have ever made anywhere.

Don't we already have "Veterans' Day" to honor our veterans? Might it be better to have some other holiday in May? We definitely DO need a holiday along about this time of year, what with it being so VERY long since Presidents' Day (which, as you recall, used to be TWO holidays, February 12 for Lincoln's Birthday and February 22 for George Washington's Birthday), but I think we already honor Veterans with enough holidays, one.

My view of veterans differs from that expressed by most folks. There are a rapidly dwindling number of veterans still alive who actually defended the United States or "our freedom." The last time our military did anything even tangentially related to defending America's survival or liberty was back in WWII.

The Korean War had no bearing on American security and was nothing but an expression of anti-communism hysteria, a reaction to the "Who Lost China" debate. It had the same genesis as McCarthyism.

The Vietnam War had even flimsier justification, with the beginnings of our involvement (back in the late '40s) being nothing more than a defense of French colonialism, and with our efforts polluted by the genuinely anti-democratic cancellation of a December, 1954, national election. It later morphed into a fight against some "domino effect," which despite our defeat there proved to be entirely fictional. There are some who speculate that John F. Kennedy's aversion to that war was the root cause of his assassination by forces who found it profitable.

Our "Desert Storm" was a betrayal of an agreement we hammered out with Saddam Hussein not to oppose his incursion into Kuwait, which had been slant-drilling into Iraqi oil fields for over a decade against Iraqi protests. Defending Kuwait cannot be considered in any reasonable universe to be a "defense of democracy."

Our war against Afghanistan was, and continues to be, a simplistic reaction borne of our own cowardice, where two of our three enemies (the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan) having nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 9/11.

And our war in Iraq has the very nasty flavor of a personal vendetta of George W. Bush against Saddam Hussein. Iran had done nothing to us to warrant invasion. Neither of our current wars has even a potential path to lasting victory short of genocide, and neither war serves the interests of American security, whether viewed in the short term or the long.

So I'm not real big on celebrating the exploits of our recent veterans. I am grateful to our previous veterans, our veterans of WWII, WWI, the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War, I mourn our veterans of the Civil War, and I think similarly about the Spanish-American War as I do about our current military misadventures. But since we dropped the big ones on Hiroshima and Nagasaki they have done nothing for me and nothing for America no matter how emotionally attached they are to their own pride. Sure, they may be courageous and patriotic and all, but their courage is misdirected and their patriotism is more accurately described as jingoism, not a reverence for democracy and liberty but a "my country right or wrong" thing.

We would be better off without the events that provided their status as "war veterans," and I would prefer that our military be devoted to less destructive activities, like (let's see if I can come up with a couple of obvious examples of military usefulness in the modern world where they actually WOULD be defending America and Americans) rebuilding New Orleans and its levees or stemming the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon. There are LOTS of things we could use military (or national service) for that would make our country both safer and better, and that would be a lot more effective than dropping bombs onto the weddings of Arab shepherds.

Let's memorialize something else, like our inventiveness in giving the world such things as the steamboat, the light bulb, the airplane, and the telephone. Now THAT would be something we could celebrate with a light heart, and that might even serve our future interests. We could call it "American Achievement Memorial Day," and employ real patriotism in place of the crass jingoism and contrived religiosity that characterizes Memorial Day as presently constituted.
Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich."
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Ferguson Foont
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