Betrayal

On this Veteran’s Day, a somber note.

I asked a friend who is a decorated Vietnam War vet what he thought of my blog entry, “Aanenson’s Sacrifice,” knowing him as a lifetime soldier who speaks from experience, and a good enough friend that he would tell me what he really thinks.

I have to agree with his conclusions, except perhaps that I am less judgmental about the American public. Betrayed by the “news” and entertainment media and by the politicians, and by so many factors conspiring against them learning what is really going on around them, they are as much sinned against as sinning. To expect the American people today to understand the causes and effects of the American Empire is to expect the German people of the 1930s to have understood the causes and effects of the Nazi empire. Some few do, most don’t and can’t really be expected to.

In any case, I share with my friend his grave view of our current prospects. Saddest of all is that such dark use has been made of the willing sacrifices of so many soldiers who only wanted to do the right thing.

[From me:]

Thursday, November 08, 2007 10:01 AM

Sometime I’d be interested in your reaction as a combat vet to my blog entry today, “Aanenson’s Sacrifice.” I well recognize that this is a sacrifice you made, as well.

[To me:]

Friday, November 09, 2007 2:34 AM

You’ve probably heard me say on numerous occasions how difficult it was to force the young soldiers to actually fire on the enemy even when they were being fired on. Even when faced with death the typical human reaction is to hide. Not kill. The typical human must be forced to kill other humans. But when forced to kill other humans, even in the so called defense of a country, race, whatever, once they’ve done that, what is difficult to live with is the fact that they’ve murdered fellow man for their neighbors – because their neighbors couldn’t do it. Then, to be betrayed for having done it, well, that’s ultimately the greatest betrayal of all. You can’t take it back.

[From me:]

As I have thought about what you said, it occurred to me, maybe this explains the split among returned veterans:

Some feel betrayal in that the public didn’t support them afterwards,

Others feel that they were betrayed because the cause was unworthy.

Still others feel betrayed for both reasons.

It’s an understanding I didn’t have before.

[To me:]

The American Fighting Man is a tool, a weapon of the American People, not the Federal Government. [Remember; Government of the People, for the People, by the People?]

So when we are sent to war, if it’s inappropriate, then we are dishonored because we have shed the blood of human beings for an unjust cause; in the case of Vietnam the American people who allowed it to happen did not withdraw us from the unjust conflict, even after coming to know it was unjust; those that resisted the war resisted it not on our behalf, but lumped us in with the very government that dishonored us; and we were rejected by those who dishonored us in the first place for having done their dirty work. And, then to trump it all, we’ve watched our buddies die from bizarre cancers and diseases as a result of Agent Orange or self-medicate themselves to an early grave because of PTSD and irreversible brain trauma the VA is only now accepting as a reality because of two more wars and our 40-years of raising hell with them about it. And, they’re still not acknowledging Korean War or Vietnam War Veterans and caring for them the way they should be. One in four homeless on the streets of America are known to be war veterans and they’re already acknowledging the fact that the Gulf War is adding to that problem on a day-to-day basis.

What the American people now have is a war machine made up of totally volunteer people who are over-taxed, burned out, 1/4 of which have a felony record in the history and probably have no honor. There are currently more paid mercenaries in Iraq than there are actual military soldiers, which means they are not having to comply with rules of engagement. Our equipment is burned out and is not being replaced, we are essentially unable to meet an emergency on two coasts at the same time. If American were directly attacked tomorrow – our Army could not defend its borders. The only people in the military are the poor and under-privileged. There is no middle class representation there any more. The idea of a citizen soldier is long dead. Hence the idea of a democratic and free thinking honorable fighting man representing the American People is a myth.

I do not know about you, but that scares the shit out of me, it also saddens me greatly. But, I also have to say, the American people in their ignorance and stupidity are getting exactly what they want and ask for.

[Me again:] Again, I agree with my friend’s conclusions, except that I see the American public, as well as soldiers, as equally having been betrayed by the media and by the political establishment. In any case, it’s a bad, bad situation.


2 thoughts on “Betrayal

  1. I tend to agree with you on this. The public has not just been poorly informed; it has been deliberately misinformed. This starts with the way history has been taught in the schools, either with the U.S. being made to look noble, or by the deliberate omission of the sordid side of our history (like the Philippine War). Thus we are left with a triumphalist view of our goodness as a nation. Today’s major media can only be seen as part of the problem, with the conscience of whores. The lack of political will on the part of the allegedly more liberal party is pathetic.
    From the present perspective the American experience can only be seen as a tragedy. The nation started out with noble ideals expressed in its founding documents, but too soon descended into a history of violence (e.g. the Indian wars) coupled with a smug and arrogant sense of superiority that justified abhorrent actions (manifest destiny). These attitudes prevail today in the Iraq war and relationships with other nations in the Americas. Tragedy implies the inevitability of a fall, for everything happens according to Law (karma), and the U.S. as a nation is due to reap what it has sown.

    On another issue, I don’t believe it’s accurate to lump peace people in with the government that betrayed the veterans. That’s what the media would have one believe. However, a critical mass of us are well informed and are in distinct sympathy with the troops regarding what the Establishment has done with and to them. Think Cindy Sheehan, and multiply her many times. So, like yourself, I otherwise agree with your friend’s conclusions. In a way, seeing the tragedy through to its conclusion is a good thing, because it involves a soul purging–confronting one’s shadow–and hopefully having learned something that will motivate much-needed change.

  2. It saddens me that I cannot disagree with what your friend says. I would dearly love to be able to disagree. What saddens me even more though, is that we have not yet seen the worst of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *