13 November 2009

Praise him whose wars we love to fight

A couple of days ago, I posted to my Facebook status:
Veterans Day: It's the least your boss could to do thank you for fighting his wars for him.
This could probably stand to be fleshed out a little more.

Today, Rooney contended, Veteran's Day is little more than a celebration of militarism and war. He wants to re-brand Veteran's Day as "No War Day," and Collins supports that view.

And not just because he believes Veteran's Day celebrates militarism. He also believes that its celebration is an insubstantial bone thrown to veterans by a government that could not care less about them the other 364 days a year.

In his commentary, he detailed the treatment of vets after each of America's wars. Soldiers in the Colonial Army were swindled out of land grants promised to them by some of the Founding Fathers. Collins says homeless and mentally ill Civil War vets were common sights in the streets of Reconstruction America. Many of them suffered from PTSD, which back then went by a name that somehow manages to be both quaint and disturbing, sort of like a Stephen King title: "soldier's nostalgia." And then there was the Bonus Army of World War I vets, whose Washington Mall encampment was smashed by a Douglas MacArthur- and George Patton-led cavalry charge in the darkest days of the Great Depression.

I don't quite understand the notion that we antiwar hippies are somehow to blame for the abject condition of 'veteran's affairs" in this country. Our quarrel isn't with the largely working-class rank-and-file who are de facto conscripted into military service by a lack of alternate economic opportunity. We are after the ruling class whose bloodlust creates the wars that they are forced to fight. Of course, our rulers are well aware of this, hence their noise machine does its best to herd all debate over war policy into empty sloganeering about "supporting the troops," as if the pom-pom act absolves them of any and all future responsibility. Well, we know what the ruling class thinks of its cannon fodder as individuals, and it's certainly much less than any tofu-eating Berkleyite.