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Now That Parades Have Ended


parade

by Camillo Mac Bica

Now that the parades have ended and veterans have enjoyed the “heartfelt gratitude” of an appreciative nation (and a free meal, from a “select menu” at Applebees), I would ask veterans, as they resume their lives of anonymity and neglect, to put aside, for a moment, all the bunk we have been fed over the years from those who were not there. You know who I am talking about. The politicians, war profiteers, and “troop supporters” who cavalierly make and profit from war, cheer and wave flags as they send us off to fight, bleed, and die in some remote place for a cause we don’t understand. Self-proclaimed “patriots” who, while remaining safe at home, try to convince us that the threat to our way of life – to America and to freedom – is real and grave and that our sacrifices are necessary, noble, and glorious.

It’s not easy, I know, to ignore the mythology they create, and to separate fantasy from reality. Time and pain has seen to that. Maybe it is comforting to accept their lies and distortion of history. Perhaps it may even seem therapeutic, a means of readjusting, of coping with the memories and living with the experiences of war. After all, it’s easier and preferable to think oneself a hero than a dupe. Easier to believe our efforts and sacrifices were necessary and noble, rather than a mistake, a waste of lives and resources.

But down deep in places we no longer wish to go, dark places, frightening places, we know the truth. We lived it. We were there. We saw the insanity, the horror, the chaos, the suffering, and the death. Pause for a moment; try to remember what it was really like. We killed and were killed. We held our brothers and sisters in our arms, embraced them as they breathed their last breath. Their screams will forever echo in our minds. Final glances we will remember for the rest of our lives. Can you hear their cries? Can you smell the smells? Is the adrenalin flowing?  . . . Now think. Where is the fucking glory, or the necessity? What is the purpose, or the strategy? What was accomplished? Can you remember the fear? The frustration? The futility? The waste? The profound sadness? The HORROR? Can you feel it? . . .  This is the reality of war, a reality that we know and those who make war try to hide; memories and knowledge that we have tried to forget, or suppress, or change.  This vulnerability they exploit, and from need and from the fear that our efforts and sacrifices and those of our comrades would be defiled or diminished should war be remembered as it truly was, we embrace their mythology.

While the truth may certainly be tragic and anxiety provoking, we must realize that the cost of a false sense of comfort is unacceptably high and that we forget or ignore the realities and lessons of past wars at our peril, and at the peril of our children. For those of us who have experienced the trauma and horror of the battlefield, or suffered the loss or injury of a loved one, accepting the truth about war, though difficult and disconcerting will ultimately prove uplifting and curative. When we have realized the deception and the mythologizing of war, and begin to see clearly, it becomes apparent that healing, our legacy, dignity, self-respect, and integrity, cannot be founded on fantasy, lies, and fabrications.

We who know war for what it truly is have a profound responsibility to again come forward, shoulder to shoulder, and bear witness to the truth about war. If our sacrifices and those of our brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short by war, are to have any meaning at all, we must raise our voices in unison and warn those who make war lightly, or are ignorant of its nature and consequences, and send other children to kill and die in battle, that we reject their mythology and their rhetoric of false patriotism and will not unquestioningly and blindly support unjust, unnecessary, and immoral wars.

Perhaps war is a reality that will not soon go away and sacrifices on the field of battle will again be required. But by demanding truth and recognizing war as it truly is, by questioning its purpose and necessity, by ensuring a clarity of vision rather than the blind compliance some wish to portray as patriotism, we will ensure that war remains a means of last resort, that no other person will again have to kill, die, or grieve the loss of their son or daughter for a cause that is misguided, and that those who dare to initiate such wars and connive to use deception and myth to encourage participation and support are held responsible for their crimes against humanity. Let us make this our legacy. Welcome home.

 

Camillo Mac Bica, Ph.D.

Camillo “Mac” Bica, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is a former Marine Corps Officer, Vietnam Veteran, long-time activist for peace and justice, and the Coordinator of the Long Island Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

His philosophical focus is in Social and Political Philosophy and Ethics, particularly the relation between war and morality. Articles by Dr. Bica have appeared in numerous philosophical journals and online alternative news sites. His upcoming book “There are No Flowers in a War Zone” is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2014.

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4 Responses to "Now That Parades Have Ended"

  1. 60sstreetpunk  November 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Without the body armor, it is likely there would have been 15.000 deaths in Iraq instead of 4500. A Marine rifleman told me that during his go in 2003-2004, he thinks there would have been 4x the geaths without body armor. Too bad that the upper body armor weighs 45 lbs.

  2. 60sstreetpunk  November 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you Camillo.
    I get involved so I can prevent young men from going to war.
    The temporal lobe or something of my brain was activated as for years the smell of blood outside the body mixed with dirt and military canvas had a distinct smell and was occurring for hours on a daily basis.
    Ann: was it Cromwell who had Charles I killed. I know Cromwell eliminated his opposition by beheading Charles but just what did that fighting boil down to-just why did English have civil war (but no war is civil)-Ann brought this up.
    Camillo- again , thanks for writing abt the thoughts and anger which pass through our heads, especially us older guys who see through it all. Hang the latest -those zionist neocons.
    I thought of that Marxist phony , Noam Chomsky, always picking his activism, and going back to his warm hotel room at night. The vets in 60s 70s were stranded- no going back to a hotel room.
    I will continue to read and stay tuned in so I can counsel young men. There is no glory- just detachment, depression, anxiety at times.

  3. Ann  November 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

    While the Queen and her armed forces are unabashedly loyal to the UK, it must be remembered that there has not really been a Monarch in full control since the murder of King Charles l by the same intruders who now threaten the UK’s existence.

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