Enjoy your burgers and beer today, but remember that we’re still adding more and more tiny American flags to small town and big city American cemeteries by the day. Kids fighting in Afghanistan today were in kindergarten when that war began, a number of whom likely have no idea why they’re even there other than some obscure version of ‘to protect freedom and democracy’. The biggest threat to American freedom and democracy is our government, who are in all likelihood reading this since I’ve used ‘trigger words’ such as ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. That is not what the government wants for Americans, and it’s certainly not what they want for the people in other countries they’ve long been dehumanizing. You can never ‘give’ another person, or another country for that matter, “freedom” and/or ‘democracy’… they have to want it, and the blood shed in the process of getting it has to be their own. The US government is the greatest obstacle for many countries to attaining freedom and democracy. To say that we want to help countries attain freedom and democracy is laughable. In the early 1950’s, Iran had a democracy which American and British ‘intelligence’ helped overthrow in a coup dubbed “Operation Ajax”.
We also fought against democracy in Guatemala, while supporting a brutal dictatorship responsible for genocide during a decades-long civil war fought with American weapons, conventional and chemical alike. Our boys and girls are being killed in a war which politicians and generals admit is un-winnable. A low-ball government estimate says that two dozen veterans are committing suicide every single day. If another country treated their citizens the way the VA treats veterans, we would invade, occupy, and bomb the hell out of them, and steal their resources,… until of course, things improved. But the government has always treated it’s veterans this way. It’s disgusting when these scumbag politicians shed alligator tears on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and are allowed to leave the halls of congress for cushy million dollar jobs in the ‘defense industry’. We are still at war, 13 years later, not because our ‘freedom’ is in jeopardy from Muslims in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, (the same ones we’ve been arming and training in Syria) or because anyone in Washington gives the slightest shit about the people of these countries…(google “collateral damage/drone attacks”) it’s because war is the most profitable industry there is. WW1 turned business men into millionaires, WW2 turned those millionaires into billionaires, and the last 50 years politicians have handed over trillions of our hard earned tax dollars to their buddies in the ‘defense’ industry, never even batting an eye at the loss of life, American or otherwise.
Everyone I served with, and every veteran I know, enlisted as a selfless act, wanting to protect and defend their fellow Americans and the constitution. Lets actually honor the memory of our dead brothers and sisters and hold the government accountable. Politicians are representing billion dollar corporations, not the American people. An integral part of a functioning democracy is dissent. The Government has criminalized countless forms of dissent, and if you plan on protesting against some form of injustice, be prepared to have the shit beaten out of you, to be tear gassed, fired at with rubber bullets and beanbags, arrested, or even killed. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning are just as much heroes as those killed with an American flag on their sleeve in a faraway land where career politicians sent them and forgot about them…without whistle-blowers and activists to try holding the government the tiniest bit accountable, we might as well just call it what it is: a dictatorship.
No, it’s certainly not as bad in America as it is was in Germany in the 1930’s, or is today in Syria or North Korea or Iran or Russia or Israel, but we are by no means free and this is a sad excuse for a democracy. Why don’t we ever compare ourselves to the good countries, it’s always only the awful ones. “we’re better than Somalia…we’re better than Iraq…” well, that’s because it’s fucking awful there…that’s not a compliment. It’s like bragging about your D to the kid with the F. You still got a D.
for people thinking “well, if you don’t like America, then you can get out!!! Why don’t you move to North Korea!!!”
see, the thing is that i actually do like America. As a matter of fact, I love it. I turned the flag upside-down, I didn’t burn it. I care very deeply about this country, if I didn’t I would have already become an expat. I love this country and was willing to die for it’s people… that’s what most of us think we’re signing up for, for the country and the people. I’m just beyond disgusted with our government, beyond disgusted with the same crooked politicians who voted for war and continue to vote for hundreds of billions of our tax dollars each year to fund more and more war, wearing tiny American flag lapel pins and shedding alligator tears at Memorial Day ceremonies and continuing to underfund and under-staff the VA… if this government doesn’t give a shit about those it calls heroes, how do you think it feels about those who didn’t serve? The men and women we honor today died in the name of democracy and freedom, lets not let what little we have continue to be taken away.
If you care about this country and want to honor the dead and wounded, turn off the news and read, so history doesn’t continue repeating itself again and again and again and again and again, year after year, generation after generation, war after war…
and remember, all that ‘collateral damage’, all those ‘accidental’ drone bombings, all those statistics from the ‘other side’ we never hear about… those are human beings, those are families, those are loved ones, those are daughters and sons and mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers and cousins and friends. Try to remember them as well. I know it might be hard, but try. They have names, they have faces, they have emotions and feelings and they laugh and they cry and they sing and they dance…and when we ‘accidentally’ kill them (many of whom don’t know why we’re even there) they are just as dead as every single American killed on 9/11, or every single American service person killed in action. When a drone pilot makes a ‘mistake’ and blows up a wedding party instead of a ‘terrorist training camp’, and 17 people are killed… that’s 17 families who are devastated the same way you and I would be if it were our cousins wedding, or our own wedding.
Take a moment to reflect on what today is supposed to represent… pause to honor all the men and women who signed up for their country, but were misused by their government and were killed in the process. They loved us enough that they were willing to fight and die for us… I think the least we can do to honor their memory is pay attention to what’s happening in Washington, and demand a representative government not so eager to send our kids into battles we have no business fighting to line the pockets of billionaires, and ultimately create more ‘bad guys’ and make us less safe and less free, while creating more Gold Star families, and traumatized veterans. If you think “I have nothing to hide, I don’t care if the government spies on me…” You have missed the point, and you don’t deserve to be free. You deserve the police state your attitude has helped create. Just know that willingly handing over rights that were paid for with blood, sweat and tears…sacrificing ‘freedom’ for an illusion of ‘safety and security’, is one hell of a way to honor those who were killed in an American uniform in the name of freedom.
The military is sort of like the TV show about internet dating called ‘Catfish’, you enlist for this amazing, beautiful country and are ready to die to protect democracy and freedom, but when you show up, it’s this ugly government not the beautiful country you fell in love with, and you’re protecting the bottom line of billion dollar corporations, not ‘freedom and democracy’. The men and women who gave their lives for us deserve better. You and I deserve better. This beautiful country deserves better than what we’ve had for the past 13 years, and in all honesty, since 1776.
Turn off the news and read. Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” is a great place to start. So is ‘War is a Racket’ by Smedley Butler, a man twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. As a retired officer in 1932, Butler stood in solidarity with tens of thousands of WW1 veterans in what was know as the Bonus Army, when they descended on the banks of the Anacostia River and camped out for 3 months attempting to get the ‘bonus’ money promised to them after WW1, and were brutally attacked by the active military, had their tents and shacks burned to the ground, and a number were shot and killed, all because they wanted (and during the great depression, needed) the money the government had promised them. The Government has a history of shitting on it’s veterans, but they just love wearing tiny American flag lapel pins and giving speeches on Memorial Day.