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Page 14

<< 13. Our Conundrum (poem)15. 50 Years Later - Reflections on the Vietnam War >>

No Thanks

By Tom Dixon

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I want to be conciliatory. I don't want to end friendships. I don't want to be so damned angry and disappointed and disillusioned. Yet, I am fighting every single negative emotion today, Veteran's Day, while I try to reconcile what is going on in my county with the faux and vacuous celebration of me and my brothers in arms. Many of them, blind with anger and low information, voted with the electoral majority to put a group of people in charge who have shown over and over they don't give one good goddam about them. Led by an egomaniac who thinks getting 5 deferments for bad feet and a purple heart handed to him by someone who earned it is "smart patriotism," they have voted down numerous veterans' benefits packages. They wave the flag; they spout the "thank you's" and "honor our veterans," but repeatedly fail and decline to support the heroes they love to fete with the funding necessary, when they come home.

So if you voted for this boatload of faux patriots, save your "thank you for your service" crap for someone who's needy enough to crave it. You owe us all right - but not the waving of flags and your empty concern and your negativity toward someone who demonstrates during the national anthem. No, you owe us the support we need to become functioning citizens, to battle alcohol and drug addiction, to overcome PTSD, and to ensure the family supports necessary to put things back together again from the rending of the fabric that often occurs when we're sent to war. Stop using me in your advertisements to make money off my back when you support politicians who refuse to do anything but give lip service to us. It's demeaning.

Finally, stop sending our sons, daughters and grandchildren off to wars that are completely ill conceived, dredged up with false flags and information, and promoted through a media that is so befuddled and corporate, they might as well get paid by the Defense Department. Stop marching us out before every sporting event, relentlessly promoting us as heroes, and falsely proclaiming that sending us off to war in every far-flung location on the planet is what is keeping us free. Bullshit.

There are dangerous people in the world. Yes we need the armed services to protect and serve against some of them. But we have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that reckless invasions and destabilization of various parts of the world have created far more enemies than they have induced friendships and have consumed trillions of dollars that could have been spent to truly make our nation strong.

Stop this militarization of everything American. It has not made us safer. It has not made us better. Honor us by creating fewer of us. Reduce our ridiculous footprint of 700 bases throughout the world, many of which can only honestly be considered offensive not defensive. Start funding teachers and community workers, and rebuild our infrastructure, and fully fund the programs that keep our elderly, veterans and non-veterans alike, from falling into poverty. Thank me for my service by making this a better nation for all of our citizens, not with more of your empty rhetoric and unnecessary invasions.

Tom Dixon is a member of the VVAW Facebook page, where he posted this article.

<< 13. Our Conundrum (poem)15. 50 Years Later - Reflections on the Vietnam War >>

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