Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

It was reported that he claimed never to have lost a night’s sleep after the mission, and some saw this as a show of indifference. It was the opposite. He slept well, he told me, because “we stopped the killing.” He was at peace, he said, because “I know how many people got to live full lives because of what we did.”
-Life After Wartime Bob Greene, NYTimes,
of Paul Tibbetts, pilot of Enola Gay

Today we commemorate the individuals who "made the world safe for democracy." Or "fought over there so we didn't have to fight over here." Or given "the ultimate" or "the most" or, realistically, "their lives."
Is it too much to say that we as a nation -- or at least its leaders -- have asked our military to do what we as a nation (or as a leader) cannot? Or will not? Is one day in November enough to truly thank a man or woman for learning how to kill? And then dying?
The "contractors" who work in Iraq for "security firms" like Blackwater will not be commemorated, because they are mercenaries, taking their pieces of silver and hiding behind a corporate logo.
But our soldiers get whatever lowest-bid body armor we send them. We "support" them by putting crappy little magnetic ribbons on our SUVs. We can't even keep their hospitals clean or their health care efficient or competently-managed.
But we give them a Monday holiday in November.
A three-day weekend.
For what we ask of them.

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