veteran’s day 2011
i never cared much about veteran’s day. maybe i ignored it easily because i have been living in canada for the past thirty years. i was a draft resister, maybe would have dodged or deserted. i am a pacifist and a disarmament advocate. this year the d.o.d. announced the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war. the war had no start date and no end date. u.s. soldiers suffered casualties there from 1955 to 1975. a 20 year war at the very least. my whole life the u. s. a. has been at war somewhere. in my mind it is the great failure of our country and a continuing worldwide tragedy.
last spring the last living first world war u. s. veteran died at the age of 110. there are not many world war two veterans living, so now the vets of my generation are finally being recognized. we are the boomer generation, maybe the patriarchal practice of killing off young males had to go into overdrive in vietnam killing millions of us. the returning vets may have been forgotten but we never forgot the casualties. we, (boomers) all lost siblings, lovers, and classmates in vietnam. it was a war that just touched far too many people. it almost was the war to end wars, because of the way it pushed so many of us to challenge militarism, but the world is too big and war is too important. so universal disarmament is still somewhere in the future.
the u.s.a. has been losing children in afghanistan for more than 10 years. there is no end in sight for that war. no politicians are promising to get us out of afghanistan. it is officially a north atlantic treaty organization action so the command is rotated and the casualties are being spread out over continents and time. it has the perfect elements of being a permanent war. it is isolated, it has an unknown (mythological) enemy. it is profitable. and it is politically sustainable.
the iraq war vets, (of both wars), are a national sacrifice. they were contaminated by nuclear, biological, and chemical munitions. they are mostly very sick and neglected.
i still don’t like anything about veteran’s day, but I cried a lot today because of all those friends who lost brothers and sisters when i was 18 years old. surviving vets suffer greatly, but the casualties on both sides of the history of wars are heavy, and the resisters suffered also.
end all war.