I was thinking today, as I am apt to do when I am waiting for a class, not sitting at the computer and pretty well sick of the news, about how things are going in our nation. I began to wonder just how all of this started, and how we can end it. To be clear here, I am talking about all of the ridiculous stuff that is going on in this country that should not be going on; talk of legitimizing torture, talk of being a "traitor" if one does not support this unending war talk of how our "safety and security" are at stake.
Our safety and security are more apt to be broken down by corrupt practices within this country as opposed to being threatened by people a half a world away without the means to do us drastic harm. The Oklahoma City bombing did not elicit the response that the WTC bombing did. In fact, the first WTC bombing never elicited a response like what we see now; and under Clinton's Justice Dept, both groups responsible were caught and brought to justice, (something bush can't seem to do with bin-Laden). We face internal enemies, there are people who profess to love this nation, but they despise it, and wish to bring in a form of government that would become totalitarian in a short period of time. In fact, under bush, we have moved closer to a form of "royalty" than ever before. I am reminded that we fought a 6 year war known as the Revolution, to get away from that type of government, and today, some people seem to think we should revert to something that is very close. Where have we gone wrong?
Are we really that terrified that we would even come close to giving up Liberty and Freedom because some galoot says we may be in the crosshairs of some maniac? We have seen this nation come through a Civil War, 2 World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and numerous smaller engagements; are we suddenly paralyzed by some religiously fanatical groups...hell, we have enough of our own religiously fanatical groups to be a little worried about.
Most Vets know what it is to come in after a long patrol and see Old Glory quietly billowing in the breeze. It always gave me a warm, intense feeling, to know that i was among brothers that would/could count on me, and I them, regardless of what faith we might be, color we might be, or where our origin in the States was. Kind of funny that all of those things don't matter at 2145 hours when mortar rounds start dropping in your area. I've hauled caucasians, blacks, hispanics, native americans out of harms way and treated them when they were wounded. I never thought of "where they came from", all I could see and feel was a fellow soldier that needed help, and he was my brother in arms...we were all green.
We faced down a clever and unique enemy, and if given the chance, we would have been at China's gate if given the chance. It would have been bloody, but quick, and the cost would have been far less that the 58,000 that paid the price with their lives.
So why am I supposed to be terrified of some guy that wears different clothes and a ski mask? I'm not, and I don't believe our soldiers are either. I think that our service members are wondering why they are being deployed for a 4th or 5th time, and wondering when their ETS is coming, as opposed to their DEROS.
So who am I?
I am a Vet that has seen his share of blood and trauma. I have been up to my wrists in another's innards trying desperately to keep a fellow soldier alive long enough to either get definitive care, or come to grips with his own mortality. In the beginning of my service, I was on the other end of the spectrum, a grunt that flew through the ranks and made things happen. I thought I was immortal, but found out just how close one can come to death. I received medals, promotions, and plaudits from those who did not have to face the same things I did. Must be nice sitting in
an office w/the AC blasting away getting a quickie from one of the locals...while brave men die and are maimed beyond recognition. Rank has it's privileges, and I never got that high.
I am just a Vet that has seen things I'd rather not remember, but always seem to. I want our brothers and sisters to come home, intact, and if not, I want them to be treated with the best medical care this country can offer, in facilities that are sate of the art. I want those who have paid the ultimate price to be honored by a nation that knows what they were sacrificed for. I DON'T want them to be numbers, or kept out of sight because the coffins might "offend" some sensibilities, (mostly bush and cheney's). I want my brothers and sisters in uniform home, defending this nation from threats, but not torn apart on a battlefield in a war that is unjust and apparently with out end.
I don't think I ask for too much...and these men and women have earned this.