The Sacrilege of War

roseI am anti war. I know of no war worth the cost in human suffering and lives. Yet I acknowledge and respect the sacrifices and selflessness of those who were mislead and conditioned to kill and to die in America’s wars for wealth and hegemony. I see no contradiction in that. Consequently, I will not avail myself of the many Memorial Day sales at the mall and I will not support the exploitation and commercialization of the memory of the fallen to enhance consumerism and profit. Nor will I have or attend a barbecue or party as anyone who believes that celebration is appropriate on this weekend misunderstands and/or misrepresents the meaning of MEMORIAL Day. Nor will I attend or march in a parade as parades accomplish nothing save to allow those who make or ignore war to feign support and appreciation for their victims and to relieve their collective guilt for crimes against humanity. Marching in a parade honors no one nor does it educate or inform about the realities of war. Rather it perpetuates the mythology of honor and glory and “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”[1] 

Instead, I will treat this weekend as any other, for those of us who have experienced the horror of the battlefield need no holiday to remind us as the screams of the dying echo each day in our minds and the faces of the dead visit each night in our dreams. I will spend this weekend remembering what I have suffered and the suffering I have caused others, acknowledging that I am both victim and victimizer.  I will spend this weekend grieving the loss of comrades and of my innocence. I will spend this weekend in meditation confronting the realization that sometimes death in war is liberation, and those who die more fortunate than we who are condemned to survive as penance for the sacrilege of war.


[1]“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”  Horace‘sOdes (III.2.13); also the title of a poem describing the horror of war by Wilfred Owen.

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Posted by on May 22, 2014, With 2294 Reads Filed under Military, Peace, Causes & Activism, Vietnam War (1955-1975). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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9 Responses to "The Sacrilege of War"

  1. Chandler  May 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Such a hypocrisy. On this day, with a president who has done what he has done to this country, and our military reduced to dangerously low levels, the news about the failure of the VA hospital system to treat those who sacrificed it all for us and the nation. The lies this president has told is equal to the lies of the Bush/Clinton/Bush administrations. Yet here we are honoring the very people we have insulted. Knowing the casualties coming home from these wars based on lies, we did not prepare the VA system to care for them.
    I honor each and every veteran. I honor those from the past. I do not honor this president, and have not since my president was cut down in Dallas. We the People…, honor our children, our families, our own people who served honorably despite the lies of our administrators who lie, mislead, deceive, and betray. This is our country, our nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. The hypocrisy is alive and well and we swallow it like tuna. Honor our own. War is a failure of the leadership. Right now, our leadership is feeble, and without any moral compass.

  2. Chandler  May 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Nothing more need be said when those within the power structure of any nation makes plans to kill the leader who seeks, and begins obtaining peace. The people of the U.S. would do anything to preserve their homeland. The vast majority would serve if necessary would sacrifice if necessary; would say good bye to family, lie to enlist, take up arms, confront the enemy, and pull the trigger and end another life if the situation so deemed. Millions of Americans, real Americans, brave Americans have done just that. Many, far too many never came home. Many widows were left to raise their families. War is to be avoided at all costs. Today, these soul-less leaders show no remorse. They have lied repeatedly to the people into war, and never once look back at the mayhem. WWII we had to get in it to stop the onslaught. Korea? Vietnam? Iraq?? Afghanistan?
    There was once pride and some prestige in Washington D.C. To be elected was an honor. To hold a office to serve the public was a respectable position. Many listened, and heeded what the people had to say. Preserving, protecting and defending freedom was the first and foremost challenge.
    Not today! They lie and lie some more. They say anything to serve the hidden cowards of power. Money is collected and they prostitute their power. They sold the American people down the river and turned Washington D.C into a political bordella. Our sons and daughters are killed, maimed and altered. War, a failure of leadership.

  3. Bartered  May 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Only criminals would think of making money on tools meant for war.

  4. Luutzen  May 24, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Excellently written article and very true War is sacrilege.

    …Nor will I attend or march in a parade as parades accomplish nothing save to allow those who make or ignore war to feign support and appreciation for their victims and to relieve their collective guilt for crimes against humanity.

    My thought too.

    Another proverb about life

    “Life is hard…, but never long enough”

  5. Curmudgeon  May 23, 2014 at 10:21 am

    While in High School in the mid 60s, I went with my friend to drop of something at his Grandparents place. Granddad had been in the trenches in WWI, and had been gassed. He was quick to tell anyone, at any time, that war was pointless. A few years later, I read Smedley Butler’s “War Is A Racket”, and concluded that all wars are economic wars, about control of resources (land), manpower, manufacturing, and economic systems. Resources includes water and food production as well as the mineral resources on and under the land, which may also be a defensive barrier. Fair trade and nationalistic based import restrictions are the bane of capitalist/corporate raiders who are only interested in short term benefits for themselves, and need wars to secure those interests.
    That is why Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution and the BRICs co-operation, if successful, would be the death knell for the war industry, and they know it.

  6. jake gittes  May 23, 2014 at 5:09 am

    This morning the local TV news of a large metro area was on in the hotel’s breakfast area. The talking head blithely blabbed, “Besides a holiday to remember fallen heroes, Memorial Day is also a time for sale! Here’s a report of what to watch for blah blah blah””…”

    In other words, enough of the dead soldier stuff, lets get on to spend 10 times as much airtime on the important stuff – retail!! Sickening.

  7. John Kirby  May 23, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Politicians sending young man out to kill each otherr, that is war. The politicians should be put on trial. Deliberately fomenting war should be a capital offence. If GW Bush and Tony Blair were hung there would be a lot less war in future. Same applies to the leaders of Israel. Stealing a country is as bad as it gets in terms of cauing war.

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