Thailand

Thailand

Friday, November 11, 2011

My 11-11-11

It just worked out that way. I have 238 titles on my Netflix queue, and right now I'm alternating documentaries and movies. Two DVDs ago I got partway into The House of Mirth, based on Edith Wharton's novel. Despite the impressive cast (Dan Aykroyd, Anthony LaPaglia, Laura Linney, Eric Stoltz), I found the acting flat and the story too chopped up to follow. And maybe watching the 1% flounder in their own social construct isn't appealing just now. Maybe living without healthcare is staring to make me cranky.
But I digress. Last night I watched the important documentary War Made Easy, and today it's Veterans Day. I want every American to watch this. We are soaked in the rhetoric of war.
I talked to a young veteran yesterday. He said he's between tours of duty and is having trouble readjusting to civilian life. He was talking to me about the statistics of PTSD. I've been reading about the high rates of unemployment and homelessness for vets, as well as the disabilities, disfigurements and suicides, not to mention social struggle.
This young man told me he's going back for two more years. When I expressed sympathy, he corrected me - he wants to go. I said I'd heard from vets that what they loved about the military was a tight community, and a real sense of purpose. That the work was hard, but everyone pulled their weight. He nodded, eyes wide. I asked him if he could imagine living in a country where we channeled the talent of our young like that here - solving hard problems here. He really couldn't.
Isn't that sad?
I can imagine him running his own business - talk about intense - working with a small group of people who have put everything on the line. I could see him working in an E.R. or at a crisis intervention center. Or maybe high rise construction, disaster cleanup, fighting forest fires, something with a little thrill to it. On his day off, he might parachute out of an airplane or hang glide or climb up a rock face. But to put him at the end of a gun in a war that will mean nothing in a decade's time when we're back to being trading partners, that's what doesn't make sense.
We have to know on some level that starting all these wars doesn't make us safer. We tell him, thank you for your sacrifice! Thank you for keeping our country safe, for protecting the American way of life. Freedom isn't free. But even after Saddam Hussein (our one-time ally) and 100,000 Iraqis (90% civilians) are dead, and there were no weapons of mass destruction, and nothing about that was a threat to our country, we still drive around with Support our Troops magnets on our SUVs.
And what about all these young people who go
willingly - I wonder if they have read anything about these places, the history of these conflicts, the political dynamics, the economic realities, anything about our wars since Vietnam. And I wonder if their parents have informed themselves, as well.
Support our troops? What are we really supporting? An obscene abuse of power, and a few corporate war makers. There should be a special ring of hell for those who have gotten into the 1% on the profits of war.
I'm sick of war, and I'm sick of my country telling me we can't afford what's important. Yes, we can.

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