Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day ... At Some Point

Wouldn't it have been major kick-ass today, Veterans Day, for President Obama to deal out a little of the "Change We Can Believe In" stuff, show some audacity, put a little shine on that Nobel Prize, and use the day to announce - not hedge, not double-talk - that he will not escalate troops in Flintstoneville (aka Afghanistan).

Maybe, even do it as a stake-in-the-ground, a benchmark, of the beginning of the dismantling, money-bag-by-money-bag, the Military Industrial Complex.

Now, that would be a Veterans Day to shoot off fireworks, one to celebrate, unabashedly.

And, hey, with two breaking stories tonight, a guy can dream;

U.S. ambassador dissents on Afghan troop increase ...Strongly worded cables urge a pause until Kabul government shifts course

AP: Obama Rejects All Afghanistan War Options
We'll have to wait, and see.

Or, we will have to come around again next year, and bemoan the sentiments of two gifted, exceptional writers (both you should bookmark, and/or, RSS follow), this year;

Juan Cole, over on Informed Comment;
The most patriotic way to honor future veterans of foreign wars is not to create any unnecessarily.

And, Barry Crimmins;
This country would rather create veterans than care for them

Crimmins also has a powerful essay up today - Drone Destroyed, Pentagon Dodges Bullet - on the execution of DC Sniper John Muhammad, a veteran;
Muhammad died reviled and despised, just as the USA itself is reviled and despised in so many lands where the murder of innocents seems to Americans, who even bother to consider such such things, as nothing more than a necessary byproduct of the efficient infliction of a long-range plan. Nevertheless, the plan is both crazy and doomed to failure. It drains our country of vital resources urgently needed to sustain life. It mass produces righteously indignant enemies all over the globe. It visits brutality upon our own people as we exist as, and among, those who have lived to almost never talk about it.

And so Mr. Muhammad was put to death as the perfectly secret embodiment of what Veterans Day is not allowed to represent. His soul rotted away after he had participated in the infliction of violence upon nearly defenseless people. When he came home, he saw no reason to abandon what he had learned as a soldier.
And, digressing for a moment, Joe Sudbay, on AmericaBlog, rings in on the Death Penalty;

As with any execution, there's been extensive discussion about the pros and cons of the death penalty. To me, that is not the act of a truly civilized society. An article in today's Washington Post looked at the death penalty's "'closure' myth":
Stanford University psychiatrist David Spiegel believes that the theory that executions provide closure is "naive, unfounded, pop-psychology." Contrary to expectations, Spiegel says, witnessing executions not only fails to provide closure but also often causes symptoms of acute stress. "Witnessing trauma," he says, "is not far removed from experiencing it."

Spiegel has concluded that "true closure is achieved only through extensive grief work." This process requires families to acknowledge and bear their loss as well as to put it into perspective. It necessitates a network of support systems: counselors who will sit with, listen to and work with survivors; work environments flexible enough to accommodate counseling sessions and the down time that is a natural result of grief and stress; and victim assistance programs that make sure those things happen.
It just seems craven for politicians to promise "closure" from the death penalty when it's not true. It also seems barbaric.

It was "craven" and "barbaric" for The Commander Guy to launch two wars like he didn't know whether to piss, or wind his wrist watch, thereby, producing hundreds-of-thousands of new veterans, to be used as props in jingoistic parades, and file footage to run in the background of two idiot-talking-heads, arguing about more war.

It sure would be nice for Obama to show some cojones with his upcoming decision.

Maybe, just maybe, we can next year, or, in the immediate future Veterans Days, count, and herald, the number of veterans (and Gold Star Mothers) we didn't produce.

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