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A hypocritical nation, it would seem to me, would be a nation that goes through the symbolic motions, once a year, of remembering those who have given their lives in defense of their nation.....while the rest of the year it supports and defends the reckless endangering of the lives of those very soldiers.
The most responsible way to remember the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice would be to guarantee that other service men and women were not placed in harm's way unless it was absolutely essential for the protection of our country. But that would take vigilance. That would mean more than a day off of work. That would require a more concerted effort than simply firing up the barbeque and cracking open a cold one.
During the Vietnam days, our country was impotent when it came to stopping the slaughter of American soldiers. Years and years of senseless killings went by until 58,000 of our young men were dead. Millions of "the other" were killed. Nothing was gained from all those deaths. No country protected, no nation served. No enemy defeated.
Memorial days were celebrated then, too. They were celebrated with the same sense of powerlessness that many are feeling today. During those days, the powerlessness mutated into bitter protests and clashes with authorities. Today, our nation's citizens are at peace with their impotency.
And so we simply accept the status quo......our nation's leaders know what's best for us and if they send our soldiers out to be killed, we must resign ourselves to their decisions......and then go about memorializing the dead once a year.
In fact, today, it's even worse than that. Today, we know that our governmental leaders have purposely placed hundreds of thousands of American soldiers in danger, and did so based on fraud and lies. And we're impotent to do anything about it. Or indifferent.
We know now that the 4300 American deaths in Iraq were preventable. Americans did not prevent those deaths, instead, Americans rallied behind the propagandists in media and government to bring about those deaths. But today, we memorialize the lives we did not prevent from being lost.
And so I revert back to the words of a blues bassman friend of mine. "I don't care what the military does, as long as we can keep the party going back home."
As a people, we don't care if our soldiers are sent off to die based on a "marketing campaign" of lies and propaganda. We don't care how many American soldiers are killed because cynical, burnt-out, draft-dodging, no-nothings introduced a torture regime into the ginned-up war process. We don't care how savage detainees are treated in our name. We don't care what torture techniques were used in an attempt to manufacture false intelligence with which to headline the fraud. We don't comprehend, nor care about, the thousands of new enemies we create by our apathy and indifference. We don't care what laws were violated, what treaties were broken, what alliances were trashed to advance the fraud, the torture and the killings. Just as long as the party continues here at home.
We are a nation in decay. A nation so enraptured in it's own narcissism, it's own rightness.....so enamored with it's own self-aggrandizement, that we, unlike during the Vietnam days, can't even muster up the patriotism, or the outrage, to defend our own soldiers.
We are impotent. But we can still enjoy a long weekend, touch base with our empty national symbols......and have a party.