On FB someone posted the old “Jane Fonda is a traitor” crap and I asked how much of a traitor she could have been given the NVN wasn’t enough of an enemy for Congress to declare war upon. This brought a not-entirely-unexpected reaction from someone whose brother never came home. I pointed out that people like Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara knew (McNamara said so in his autobiography) VN was a lost cause from day-one but they still sent American soldiers to fight and die in order not to be seen as “soft on Communism”.
At the time, I was a supporter of Barry Goldwater, “Mr. Conservative”, who thought it was a good idea to defoliate all of VN to deny the Viet Cong greencover. The defoliant was called “Agent Orange”. I, with Barry, supported raining ecological armageddon down upon all of Southeast Asia in order to “win” (whatever that means).
So, here we are, 42 years and 58,000 dead American soldiers later, and VietNam is one of our trading partners. Does anyone think the situation would be different had we not sent all those young men over there with their M-16s? Can anyone actually say those 58,000 deaths served some purpose? True, they did get John McStain into Congress, but I’m not sure that should be seen as ‘a good thing’.
What we need to learn from places like VietNam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others, is that soldiers are little more than blocks of wood. They will be thrown into the sacrificial fire whenever and wherever our elite masters in Washington deem it expedient. There is no honor in being firewood, and we need to stop playing the game that says ‘s/he’s a hero because s/he got paid out of the Pentagon budget’. There is no honor in ‘just following orders’. After WW-II we hung generals and privates for doing just that. There is no honor in dropping a Hellfire missile from a drone onto a wedding party just because someone in Washington thinks there might be a bad guy or two among the ushers. That sort of behavior eventually makes people crazy – crazy enough to fly airplanes into office buildings. If you don’t think that’s true, imagine how we’d feel if Italy were doing it to us.
It’s time – it’s well past time – we demand answers to difficult questions before we send our children abroad with orders to kill. We need to ask – and get believable answers to – questions like
- What do we hope to accomplish?
- How will we know when we’re done?
- What repercussions should we expect?
- Is it lawful?
- Is it moral?
- Is it just?
- Is it practical?
- How much is this going to cost?
We don’t ask any of these questions now. We charge in “to free the oppressed people of West Wheresoever”, we free them, and almost always we make the situation worse than it was before we butted in to other nations’ business. And, we empty the Treasury to do it. Where does all that money go? To Lockheed-Martin, to Halliburton, to Kellogg-Brown&Root, to thousands of charter members of the military-industrial complex. Where does all that money come from?
Why, my dear, it comes from you. It’s the price you pay for the privilege of having your sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and acquaintances buried at Arlington with full military honors (sic).