Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sorry About That

Occasionally I get comments. Yep, even here in the hinterland of the blogosphere some people feel compelled to drop by and leave their opinion. Most of it is appreciated which is why I don't make people jump through hoops to comment (JollyRoger, I still can't get through your spam blocker!).

Every once in a while (okay, twice) I get comment spam. I've left them both up. One was about a 9/11 conspiracy, I think everyone got that one, very entertaining.

Yesterday I heard from Jack Army. He says he's in Iraq but his profile says Hawaii. Anyway, his comment was all about how the Iraqi people want us to stay and he really seems to believe that we are fighting them over there so we don't fight them over here. He also wants to be a leader and a follower. Hmmm.

What we are doing is making them angry and they want us out. even if they have to watch us being blown to smithereens. Just leave is the message they're sending. By a wide majority. What's so sad about all this is that their numbers match ours. Over sixty percent want the US troops out of Iraq. Hopefully somebody will pay more attention to their wishes than they do ours, but I doubt it.

Sorry Jack, you need to get out of the sun. Wherever you are. Because you haven't been talking and listening to the right people.

Rest in peace Mr. Altman. I enjoyed M*A*S*H very much, the scenes with Bobby Troup were what got me through my time in the Army. I also enjoyed The Player. I worked for comedy development at Universal at the time and found the pitch scenes to be spot on. Thank you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Screw The Parades

Screw the Veteran's holiday sales too. A national holiday whose purpose does nothing to benefit the people who served their country and are promptly forgotten till the next year when they are dragged out again for a token holiday that is more concerned with commerce than honor.

For the thirty years that I have been a veteran I have watched people enjoy themselves without a clue or a care for the major sacrifices that veterans made and are still making.

For thirty years I have watched my government strip the benefits from the veterans and the retirees. People who were considered for the duration of their enlistment to be the property of the United States Government. You become the numerical equivalent of equipment from the moment you raise your right hand and swear the oath to protect the United States. You go where they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You dress as they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You eat where they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You are property and are never allowed to forget it. It is not a joke when they tell you that if you get a sunburn you have damaged government property, some commanding officers have been known to award the offending troop with an Article 15 and a dock in pay.

For this, we get a parade and the rest of the country gets between ten and fifty percent off at the nearest mall.

For thirty years I have watched as veterans became a significant portion of America's homeless.

Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by ... no one keeps national records on homeless veterans ... the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless males who is sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served our country ... now they need America to remember them.

For this, children get another day off from school while veterans who have jobs, work to stay afloat. Almost two years ago this article in the Christian Science Monitor appeared, alerting some of the public to the impending problem. What has been done since then? Congress cut benefits and care for veterans. The people's response? Magnetic ribbons for their cars, not the veteran's.

Representative Chet Edwards has a proposal that would be helpful and honor those who are serving their country at this very moment. It is the very least that should be done to help repair the damage that war inflicts on the survivors. Never forget that all gave some and some gave all.

Screw the parades.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Do Your Eyes Leak When You Read The News From Iraq?

Mine do. I can't help it and anyone who has known me in person would be very surprised because tears do not come easily to me. When I'm angry and frustrated, yes, but I can usually be detached when I'm reading.

Not so with the Iraq war and the casualty counts. We are losing young lives for no discernible reason and destroying yet another generation in the foolish pursuit of pride. We have accomplished what the Decider initially said was the goal. Capture Saddam. Check. Weapons of Mass Destruction. There weren't any, check. Engender a democracy. The Iraqis had their purple finger moment. Check.

Why are we still there? We aren't going to win the war on terror by causing more of it. Heck, because of current policies we are causing terror within the USA. When military families are afraid to open their door because they don't want to talk to the chaplain (imagine it was your family that waits for news) and the other military suit with him, that is terror perpetrated on those who are giving the most and only them.

This grief is not evenly distributed amongst all Americans, it is being suffered by an unfortunate few. With every deployment that a service member serves, their chances of dying increase. During the Vietnam conflict people volunteered to serve more than one tour, it wasn't forced upon them. Now we have active duty service members, the Reserves and the National Guard who are serving more than one tour. Some are up to three and four.

As long as just a few serve and pay the ultimate price, this war does not exist except as an abstraction to most Americans and that is just not right. Everyone should weep or have to swallow hard every time a service member dies. Otherwise, ir just doesn't matter, it is someone else's war, someone else's problem, someones else's loved one.

I wish I could be cold and dispassionate about Iraq, but after reading the latest stories of the fallen I now understand why my dad was so angry when I enlisted before the Vietnam Conflict was declared over. He knew that nobody cared except the people who were left to grieve.