Today is Veteran’s Day, and David Masciotra from Salon.com has penned a provocative article entitled “You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.” I don’t agree with all of it, but it makes some interesting points. I do see that we’ve gone on quite a journey since the days of the Vietnam War. In those days, a lot of soldiers really did return from that war to a reception that was not very welcoming indeed. Why did you go and kill innocent Vietnamese?, the silent accusation went.
Personally, I admire the physical courage of the members of the military, and their willingness to serve. How well we’ve deployed them, that’s another story. Obama — Nobel Peace Prize recipient that he is — is sending another 3000 or so “advisers” to Iraq to help the Iraqi military train. I think we know how that’s going to end. While Saddam Hussein was indisputably a bad guy, it doesn’t seem that any of our interventions have produced the results we’ve wanted them to. What’s the likelihood that this will change? And Conservatives are notorious for lauding veterans for their service and then defunding their medical facilities and ignoring their post-war needs. There has to be a better way.
It would be nice if we could honor our veterans by creating fewer of them.