Sunday, November 11, 2007
The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month
That was when The War to End ALL Wars ended on this day 89 years ago. Since then, the hundreds of wars after the war to end all wars have killed hundreds of millions. The Iraq phase of our current war has now killed 3, 860 young Americans, and about 1,104,000 Iraqis.
Since November 11, 1918, America has been at war with at least one country almost all the time. Our interventions in the Caribbean and Latin America during the 20th century were almost constant. Our East Asian interventions, beginning with the Huk Wars in the Philippines, and ending - at least in terms of overt interventions - with the evacuation of Saigon, killed many millions of civilians, and left millions more injured. Some of the civilian casualties of our Vietnam war haven't even been born yet. The rates of birth defects in children being born in the Mekong River drainage - even - now - are extraordinarily high. The reason for these flawed births is universally attributed to our use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam conflict. Birth defects in Baghdad neighborhoods which have been exposed to shellfire from our 30mm depleted uranium cannons, and from other DU munitions, are extraordinarily high.
We have military bases all over the world. Our air force refuels more aircraft in the air each week than the combined military arms of all the rest of the nations refuel that way in a year. Any one of our ten or so aircraft carriers is more powerful than all the remaining nations' aircraft carriers combined.
We don't even count our eleven LHA and LHP amphibious warfare carriers, such as the U.S.S. Wasp, pictured above, as aircraft carriers, even though they are.
On Veterans Day, we mostly honor fallen military personnel, but, unlike Memorial Day, we also honor current and future veterans. Looking at how the media honors Veterans Day has usually bothered me. At best, I feel like coverage is one-dimensional; at worst, it is positively sickening. Seldom do the reports mention that one out of four homeless men in the USA is a Vet. Seldom do the articles cover the incredible hassles Vets have had to go through to get honest evaluations of their true physical conditions due to their exposure to toxic combat and mobilization environments. Seldom do the portraits of military families on Veterans Day do true tribute to the hardships they underwent along with their serving soldiers.
Few American wars have been as hard on military families as has been the Afghanistan/Iraq conflict. I know military men on their fourth post-2001 deployment, women on their third. Alaskans know how upset many of these families have become, as they've watched their spouses, fathers and mothers get pulled back again and again to fight the most poorly managed conflict in our history take its toll on their future. Some families have begun openly protesting Pentagon policies here. The dog's sign says Which BUSH should I PEE ON?
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's last appearance in Fairbanks almost ended in a riot, as families refused to be spoon-fed total bullshit from Rumsfeld and his Pentagon flacks.
Alaska has the highest per-capita Veteran population of any US state. I'm a Veteran. I speak to Veterans and serving military men and women almost every day. As a member of Bugles Across America, I play taps at memorial services for Veterans quite often. I've watched as our military men and women and their families have been slowly ground down by the nihilistic policies of the Bush administrations.Let us hope, this Veterans Day, that the next presidential administration and next Congress fix the tremendous screwups committed by the Bushista Regime over the past seven years.