What Is "Good" About Our Military?
It is wrong the way so many American veterans are mistreated by our government once they've served their time, and it is a moral problem for all of us since we are the ones who elect our government. Just look at our dysfunctional V.A. Hospital system for an obvious example.
However, I do not feel pity or compassion for U.S. soldiers killed or wounded in combat unless they were involuntarily drafted in the first place. Anyone who signs up for military service at the recruitment office simultaneously signs away their right to righteously complain about getting shot or otherwise wounded by "enemies". They only have the right to complain about their mistreatment by their country after their service, and only because their country failed to uphold its part of the signed recruitment contract.
As long as we Americans continue to glorify the existence of soldiers, we will never embrace the pursuit of peace. We are, ironically, a War Nation. We spend nearly half of our taxes on the maintenance of a monstrous military machine that far exceeds its need in this fractured and idealistically complex world. We create enemies (e.g. Iraq and Iran) so that we can justify the military's existence and the profit that it brings to the wealthy. We blindly glorify our troops with flags and parades and fireworks and the label of "honorable".
Somehow, we've equated "honor" with killing faceless humans. Nothing is more dishonorable than murdering a fellow human whose face you cannot see. Nothing is more uncivilized than allowing oneself to be ordered to murder without first determining for oneself if this human target is trying to kill you or just trying to defend himself/herself.
The order to kill this faceless enemy was made by a pack of white, wealthy corporate barons thousands of miles away (in government buildings) who did not come with you to first examine the persons, at whom you point your weapons or bombs, to see if they are a threat to your and my existence.
Tell me this: When was the last time our military fired at a foreigner who was crossing our border and threatening to kill us? I would say that it was about 67 years ago at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, long before most of us were even conceived. Has anyone attacked us at our borders since? No. We are securely protected by two peace-embracing nations on our northern and southern borders, and by two massive oceans to our east and west.
Attacks by terrorists, by the way, is not a military issue, but rather a police issue. 9/11 was not brought on by another nation's military but rather by a group of nation-less, criminal thugs. As Bush has now so infamously proven, you cannot fight criminals with a military. Defeating criminal activity requires police action and law enforcement expertise.
We do not train our soldiers, as a top priority, to be peacekeepers, but rather to be killers. Our culture is controlled by a wealthy class, which incessantly strives to falsely advertise to the poor and otherwise gullible youth that the military is somehow good and "patriotic". It is "good" to teach yourself how to kill others. It is "patriotic" to consider your country as somehow intrinsically superior to any other on the planet. Thus a dutiful, mostly lower economic class allows itself to buy the false notion of the military as something good and wholesome and American. But that is exactly what the ruling class wants because it serves only their own self-interests.
Until we Americans realize that we are being hoodwinked by a group of amoral corporate barons whose wealth and influence have no match, and until we finally reject their power and lies, this endlessly destructive cycle of youth-patriotism-military-"honor"-death-injury-PTSD-homelessness-poverty-youth will not cease. Ironically, we are a cowardly and hypocritical nation for claiming that organized killing is wrong while simultaneously refusing to advance beyond such incivility and unchristian behavior.
I think that it is finally the time in our history to reject a military trained to kill and instead have a small, technologically efficient force of peacekeepers and philanthropists with the mission of ONLY maintaining or restoring peace and human rights on our troubled yet hopeful planet. The first step in achieving such a moral state is the rejection of the archaic and horrific military machines created and supported by the wealthy ruling classes of the world and especially of America. Yes, it will make us more vulnerable, but more importantly it will make us truly honorable.
Yes, we can. And, for the love of all that is good and right, we should.
(cross-posted at DailyKos)