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Page 59

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This is Where We Have Come

By Jim Wohlgemuth

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Take a look.

This is where we have come.

Twenty-two veterans take their own lives every day. Many of them are our generation, but many of them are young veterans, who were sold a bill of goods like we were. Many of whom believed that they were on an honorable mission only to find out that, like us, they were pawns in the scheme of the rich. However, these youngsters are part of an all-volunteer army. That means that the public is deathly silent when they come home dead and injured. That means that when they look for assistance often the response is "well you volunteered."

Militarism is now the chief export of the US and we are internationally viewed as the biggest threat to world peace. Seriously, Gallup did an international poll in 2014 and the US was seen by 24% of the people as the biggest threat to peace. Second place, I think, went to China or Pakistan at 8%.

We have been killing people with drones to the point where we as Americans don't care. It is clean and we don't get hurt. But we do not realize the consequences, the recruitment of more people to hate us. Now we have a reckless Commander in Chief, more of a child in a man's suit, playing soldier, being disengaged as one of ours gets killed while killing thirty innocents (eight children, including a US citizen).

I truly believed that our generation would be the last to suffer this fate. I thought that as we grew older that we would stand up and forbid our politicians to send us into another debacle, but we didn't. We allowed it to happen again and again and again from incursions into Central American to endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And we lead the world in the sale of arms to other countries. So, we are perpetuating not only our own wars but those of other countries.

I hate to say this but sometimes I feel that all the soldiers and sailors and airmen who died for this country may have died for nothing. I know I said all from the Revolution on. We are only 240 years old but we have lost many aspects of our democracy and have become the world's bully. Those who died fighting the Nazis a mere 75 years ago would not recognize our country. The 750,000 who died in the Civil War would be so disappointed to see that we are no longer a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, and the people don't seem to care. The Founders, who realized that in order for this country to succeed would require an engaged populace and never a peace time army, are probably rolling over in their graves and saying to each other, "Well we tried!"

I wish we would try.

Jim Wohlgemuth is a member of VVAW who lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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