Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, the Truth is We and Our Veterans Have Been Hoodwinked

Ever wonder why America’s self-proclaimed greatest, most powerful military force known to mankind has difficulty bringing a quick and militarily decisive end to their campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, as in Vietnam. What little we might have accomplished has taken eight years in Iraq, ten years in Afghanistan, and we will continue to be there through at least 2014, neither war with definitive success. And, the only reason we are withdrawing from Iraq is the fact that the government of Iraq kicked us out; in Afghanistan, in “troops and dollars, [it] is neither proportional to our interests nor sustainable.” In other words, we cannot any longer afford it. It’s perplexing when one considers that America’s armed forces are superior to the enemy in all respects; it’s like Shooting Gnats with a Machine Gun, a military force that has a 666:1 advantage over its adversary. And, yet, we continue to struggle in futility.

Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer at his Occupy LA presentation said, “… this so-called war on terror, and in the name of fighting guys who had box cutters and an arsenal that you could buy for 180 bucks at Home Depot, we built up the biggest military arsenal in the world and spend more than all the other countries combined. … and we claim we don’t have money to solve our problems.”

Moreover, and most important, the United States government and its people through their support for war have laid to waste Iraqi, Afghani, and American lives, their families wellbeing, and have imposed lifelong disabilities for many; America has laid to waste a good portion of its treasure while neglecting the economic wellbeing on its home front.

A President, his Administration, and government who decided on preemptive war initiated these wars; it was not a defensive war. The war in Iraq was based on lies. Surely, behind closed doors, these folks would tell you 9/11 was an opening to put America’s Armed Forces into never ending perpetual wars and the opportunity could not be wasted; perpetual war keeps our armed forces at a high level of combat preparedness; perpetual war keeps the military-industrial complex producing in full-gear.

America has also failed to provide veterans support when they return home. Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said, “Our nation’s newest veterans often grapple with staggering unemployment levels, homelessness, and combat-related disabilities. Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom face an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent — more than 3 points above our national average. That means, right now, at least 240,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling to find a job somewhere. In the Guard and Reserves, the numbers are even worse, with unemployment as high as 20 percent. It is absolutely unacceptable for a veteran to come home after a deployment, where he or she served at great personal sacrifice, and have to battle with unemployment or homelessness.”

Even more heart breaking is that the Veterans Administration now estimates that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes.

On Veterans’ Day, on Facebook and other social media sites, in print and electronic media, all those incessant emails and bumper stickers, pundits, Generals and politicians, all spout flowery patriotic rhetoric in support of our troops. The truth is that when one looks at the facts they remain only words. The fact is that America has failed to support our troops and has failed to support the 99% of Americans on the home front who are fighting their own war.

These are some of the inequities Occupy Wall Street addresses, and more and more veterans are joining The War on the Home Front. Eli Wright, a former Army medic on military disability said, “I think it’s time for vets and others to stand up and fight back.”

I also think it’s about time Americans understand they have been hoodwinked by the rhetoric of misplaced patriotism. It’s nationalism gone awry. The romanticized notion of one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, factually is a lie. Factually, it’s all about material, spiritual and intellectual imperialism and the plundering of resources to benefit a few very rich and powerful individuals, and corporations, while ordinary Americans desperately struggle to survive.

Other resources:

CSpan video: Margaret Harrell, Center for a New American Security, Senior Fellow, discusses military suicides and mental health programs available to veterans.

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