“My guilt will never go away,” former Marine Matthew Hoh explained to me. “There is a significant portion of me that doesn't believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair.”
There is another cost of the endless wars of the US. Though not of the magnitude by those that experienced the horrors and tragedies first hand but it's there none the less. I'm talking about growing up and living in a country that is continuously at war in some form or fashion for essentially one's whole life. I was born during the cold war. I grew up not knowing, at first anyway, that a looming threat could wipe ones, and everybody else's life off the face of Earth. This continuous threat didn't end until 1991. That same year the US attacked Iraq in an action,as best as I can figure, was something to get the bad taste of the 'Nam out of US citizens conscience. Well it didn't work, it didn't bring back the helicopter pilot I used to fly model airplanes with in the local modelers club. It didn't erase the horrors I watched nightly on the news after dinner of people getting shot and blown apart or baked with napalm. I feel guilt too, for those lives lost, inflicted by a government that could care less about the designated enemy or the solders sent to fight the immoral wars. Lost in the constant shuffle of lives lost and families destroyed in the wake of these atrocities is the monetary cost and the resources squandered in a maddening king of the hill insanity. For what? Monetary gain? Prestige? The costs of these senseless endless wars are staggering and there are those of us than even though we didn't participate directly, still pay psychic costs. Costs that keep adding up against all of us that do care, that can't make this madness end and the powerlessness that follows. My guilt too, seems to never end, living in a country that thinks war is a normal part of life. Well for those of us that it doesn't, I'm sorry that we all carry the guilt of a country with no conscience. A guilt that's had 63 years and counting, to fester, and wondering if it will ever end.
The Media is Mightier Than War ©
I am a Marine Vietnam Veteran for Peace and former Community Organizer trained by Saul Alinsky's executive team in the mid-70s soon after I returned from my second tour in the 'Nam as a diplomatic courier stationed in Saigon. I deeply appreciate your insights and suggest our entire population suffers from an ever-present combination of PTSD and Moral (Soul) Injury starting with the Vietnam War.
That holocaust and the suffering, slaughter, sacrifice and pain since then perpetrated by the pernicious > Complex that President Eisenhower and Dr. Martin Luther King admonished us about are deeply embedded in our national psyche with festering and infectious wounds because of the 24/7 reach and influence of main-stream media.
Healing and Accountability: Communities must continue to strategically organize nation-wide and participate fully and equally in the foreign policy debates creating modesty, realism, transparency and accountability, keeping in mind that WAR PROFITEERING is the existential threat to our humanity! (As U.S. Marine Corps, Major General Smedley D. Butler noted ~ “War Is a Racket...It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes." He was an anti-Fascist and twice awarded the Medal of Honor!)
When it comes to protecting and supporting our troops, veterans and their families, herein lies the moral essence of U.S. citizen obligation. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges is going beyond the villains, grossly incompetent national security officials, politicians and lapdog pundits, victims and heroes of the 9/11 Attack (and subsequent vile debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan) to intensive, comprehensive, open debates about those critical issues of our economic security, human and civil rights, justice, sustainable defense and foreign policy objectives, and how best to counterattack terrorism and eliminate its underlying roots and hateful true believers.
We must deeply understand the very complex nature of genuine fears, threats, and the concomitant measured responses, which will eliminate the obsolete components, assumptions and foundations of post-World War II U.S. Foreign Policy, and their most devastating economic and environmental impacts on communities here and entire cultures abroad. This task will take incredible moral courage as intense and sustained as our Warriors serving in harms’ way purportedly protecting our Nation and way of life.
As citizens of a democracy, we must, repeat, must demand and integrate the facts (genuine intelligence and public knowledge) to fully comprehend the enormous challenges before us. We must rethink our political and diplomatic relations, passionately reflecting on and changing our values and allegiances that have had and continues to have brutal effects on our fellow humans; and, strongly influence our foreign policy debates and policy making that have overwhelming and bloodthirsty consequences on hundreds of millions of men, women, and children ... here and abroad!
Our fraudulent justice system must begin to hold elected and/or appointed decision-makers and officials accountable with severe sanctions when they break international and US laws ~ crimes against humanity and peace...etc., starting with the Vietnam War. We must demand our government be a full member of the International Criminal Court (www.icc-cpi.int//Pages/item.aspx?name=pr1303) without Veto Power!
We The People are the Best and Brightest and ultimately responsible for their decisions. We must instruct our government employees about the great truths for solving our most dangerous problems. This dynamic struggle is about our core beliefs and ideas of our diminished democracy, its vision and the underlying democratic principles and values inherent in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and most international treaties that inspire us to take preemptive actions to protect our world ... when we choose.
We must choose to be a progressive world leader, with our military being recast into its essentially supporting defensive role as a complement and backup for the other vital components of our national security strategies and public diplomacy. We must authenticate clear and present dangers, international perceptions, ground truths and trustworthy intelligence, and the political and economic assumptions of proposed policies and actions; and implement threat reduction using all of these components, as necessary.
Our choice to redress the grievances of previous and current devastating folly policies (Vietnam War, support for Saddam Hussein and dozens of other repressive thugs and their regimes ... etc.), and to reestablish any prestige and exert legitimate power insuring progress toward greater international stability, understanding, tolerance, prosperity and grassroots abundance will be the dynamic organizing principles to develop, fund and enhance systems, measures, programs and institutions that will prevent economic crisis and WAR.
As we approach another Memorial Day Remembrance, I suggest Americans reflect on who owns the Soul of U.S. Foreign Policy ~ who decides who serves, suffers, sacrifices and dies, and who pays!
Arthur Engendorf, a Vietnam Veteran author notes, “healing is the way we restore ourselves...with a little help from our friends, we can heal ourselves, even from war...healing culminates in a renewed vision of what is possible for us and our world. In light of this vision, our individual healing shifts from being the center of attention to an instance of much more encompassing possibility ~ healing for all humanity.”
Legitimacy of moral life depends on the willingness of men and women to struggle with such questions before they decide what to do. Also Karl Jaspers, a Jewish-tainted German WW II philosopher notes, “all men, like all nations, are tested twice in the moral realm ~ first by what they do, then by what they make of what they do. A condition of responsibility denotes a kind of second chance: men are, as if by a kind of grace, given a chance to repay to the living what it is they find themselves owing the dead.”
Treasure Life & Wage Peace.
Combat Intelligence NCO
Assigned to Scouts
Thank you all, so much, for your vulnerability, your truth telling, your experience and what you are making of it.
These are not "Trump's Wars'....they belong to the last half dozen presidents' wars.
Trump simply displays more devious pleasure when he talks about military activity than his predecessors did.
Hmmm... "we came, we saw, he died" cackled HRC.
Nor do I recall much remorse by Obama about the devastating war being waged in Yemen by us armed Saudis. Or about any of the numerous people he droned or bombed