Memorial Day Musings
I am working through the Memorial Day weekend and in my busiest time of year for work. I have not had time to write at all, but I do have a few thoughts about this Memorial Day.
Memorial Day. Even though it isn’t enough for many on the right, Obama is attending a service at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetary in Elwood, Illinois today. The echo chamber of the right is reverberating with plaintive wails about Obama not going to Arlington for the service. My concern though is that these military cemetaries are filling up and for no good reason. Where is the Memorial Day dialogue or debate about the rightness…the reasons, that we are even in two wars. Make no mistake, our soldiers are still dying in Iraq. It is not “Mission Accomplished” there by a long shot. The coffins come trickling in and the debate is about where the president goes to honor them? How about a debate on why they are even in harms way.
Our history is riddled with the useless sacrifice of our troops. In Vietnam alone we threw over 50,000 U. S. lives away for nothing. The great menace of the “Domino Theory” proved wrong and now Communist Vietnam makes T-shirts for us as members of the WTO. If we spent time asking ourselves why we are in conflicts, what is actually to be gained, are the goals realistic, then maybe the graves would quit filling up. Or at least slow down. But that will never happen. When the powers that be decide War is the Way then they throw out that flag for all the young men and women to wrap themselves in. Or, as in times like we are in now with the level of unemployment and lack of opportunities, the young come fleeing a dead future with the military as their only viable option. But even if the reason for our citizens coming to our military is pure self aggrandizement and the military their chosen path for a career, we owe them all the promise that we will not piss their lives away for buzzwords and clichés. Freedom, Democracy, National Security and a whole lot more of words that get thrown at us that really have little or no bearing on the conflict at hand.
Where is the battle for our freedom and national security in Iraq? What sort of “Democracy” have we shoved down their throats on the end of our gun barrels?
And the coffins are coming in from Afghanistan at a more steady rate. For what? Now the military is drawing up or dusting off plans to attack Pakistan. Recently it came out that GW Bush when meeting with Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner said that War is what drives the U.S. economy.
GW Bush put us in the wars we are in now. He and his administration mismanaged them and left this administration with a very difficult situation. I always hope that at some time our leaders in times of prolonged war will take the advice of the old saying, “no matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.”
With a Nobel Peace Prize under his belt, it does not look like President Obama plans on doing that any time soon. But he is honoring our sacrificed soldiers at Abraham Lincoln Cemetary today.