Hero Worship

This past Monday, 11/11, was Veterans day, an American federal holiday which originated as Armistice day, a day to remember the end of the first world war. Veterans day is a day to remember the veterans of America, the heroes who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we Americans take for granted. The only problem I see with this is that we haven’t had to protect our freedom for more than sixty years, we have been the dominant force in the world since World War II and we have used that position to bully and push our “freedom” on countries not seeking it. Of course, we have done great things for the world, but most of it doesn’t involve invading countries on the other side of the world or killing democratically elected leaders who happen to not be willing to bow to American feet, and those invasions and assassinations have done little than to show us as a bully that believes itself above the rules.  All of this isn’t to say that we should blame our troops for mistakes, but it is to say that the soldier worship so evident in america is unhealthy, and altogether unhelpful, it glorifies war and makes questioning the government nearly treasonous. We should consider who benefits when we consider every veteran a hero. Not the veterans, no, they have record numbers of suicides, they make up 13% of the homeless population, despite only accounting for less than 1% of the total population, they have mental illnesses that often go untreated, or even get them dishonorably discharged, preventing them from even trying to get treatment. No, the people who benefit the most from this hero-worship are the policy makers, the leaders, the public sees the veterans as heroes, and heroes couldn’t be fighting an unjust war, no,  the war has to be right, or else why would we be involved. The American public hasn’t exactly enjoyed the two wars we have been involved in for the past twelve years, but despite the ridiculous length of the war, there has been no movements, nothing even approaching the feelings felt during the Vietnam war, but what gives, the world is now more connected than ever, we can see images and names from the war whenever we want, why isn’t there the reaction that Vietnam incurred, where is the outrage, we have been at war for 12 years! Finally we are withdrawing, but still, the policy makers managed to declare war against an IDEA! the idea of terrorism, and they fought it, to little success, despite what they will tell you, yes, we got Osama, congrats, what about the billions spent in the war, what about the lives lost, what about the countries destroyed and destabilized, was the cost worth it in the end? according to the government the answer is yes, and we should just stand their and pledge ourselves to the flag and weep with patriotic pride. We commemorate the lost heroes and sanctify men and women who did a service, who fought a brutal, useless, war, who put their lives on the line for the not quite so honest leaders of this country who lead them into battle for little reason. We should always think before we consider such as brutal profession as inherently heroic, as its insults the true heroes, and benefits the wrong people.

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