By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor
It’s Veterans Day again, my 50th now. We begin.
The scene above is from The Best Years of Our Lives. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, this is a bit of a spoiler. My assignment for you is to watch the film, even if you have to rent it online for a couple of bucks.
I am at an end with Veterans Day and the parades and “honoring.” As a combat vet, it was always bullshit, hollow crap that made my skin crawl. I have held that back for half a century, not anymore.
The real holiday is Remembrance Day, and it is an anti-war holiday. Nothing about military or uniforms or drum beating. It’s about pain and suffering, bombed out cities, refugees, concentration camps, children without parents, broken bodies and lives ground into nothingness.
No tearful dragging out the medals and crying around a flag. I spent years as a photographer and historian documenting battlefields, the monuments from the world wars, the graveyards. Before digital, I have enough photographs to fill a steamer trunk.
Watch the movie.
It is the job of each of us to stop those who promote war, particularly those who have never known war. Think of Colonel Lindsey Graham, a fake Air Force lawyer who joined to have sex with young airmen and then promoted himself to Colonel with a fat retirement after serving no active duty at all. The pilots from Charleston would hang him by his gonads if allowed, he is despised.
I was stupid enough, raised on John Wayne films, to join the Marine Corps in 1968, refuse a commission and see combat in Vietnam. What I saw was injustice and corruption, a Marine Corps as corrupt and incompetent as any organization on earth. I served with great people. They were great. This is what my good friend, then Corporal Karl Foster of Albuquerque said often:
“The Marine Corps is a festering pimple on the asshole of my sanity.”
He had it engrave on his Zippo lighter. Karl has been dead now for 48 years. Many of my best friends have been dead for 48 or 49 years, a bit of a coincidence.
Vietnam was a slaughter, a thousand miles beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we hear so much whining about on TV nowadays. It was supposed to be a lesson, for America to stop trying to rule the world and for Americans to stop killing on behalf of liars, cowards and phonies.
This is why we have “Remembrance Day,” so that those awake, alive and alert might remember that cowards and assholes like Trump and “W,” men who shirk the wars they love so much, are the real enemy of humanity. America has no enemies, America is an idea long dead, dead at the hands of the ignorant who pissed on our honor and freedoms after 9/11, warring on the poor and innocent on behalf of Wall Street and Israel.
Not everyone has the benefit of what so many of us learned in Vietnam. Of those who learned and are still alive, too many have forgotten the real values we learned, the real nature of comradeship, of our collective hatred of war and America’s military machine and the suffering it caused.
It is so difficult to put aside the fear, the exceptionalism, the fake patriotism and remember that we are simply human beings.
From what I see of today’s military experience, it is remote from what American’s saw in two hundred years of equally insane wars. Air conditioning and catering, fat paychecks, this is supposed to make illegal occupation and enslavement of free people justified.
Our excuse was either the draft or, for some of us, simply curiosity. I got my fill of curiosity.
Leave the flags home, see this film, maybe some others, Gettysburg for instance, Full Metal Jacket.
Piss on Schindler’s List, by the way, a well made film of total fiction.
To the list:
Platoon, Das Boot. I just went through a series of top 100 film lists, they were offensive.
America has troops at war, many highly paid professionals operating illegally aided by tens of thousands of private military contractors and up to 80,000 Saudi paid terrorists with ISIS and al Qaeda.
Along with that, the US has along with its arsenals the Nazi gangs of Eastern Europe, a pack of thugs and murderers.
If our next war, a war to the death, was against those who have sold us the last few wars, this might well be something I could get behind. But today’s military is silenced, no whistelblowers but a handful, no protests, no video, no fragging stories, only silence.
Simply put, we are no longer as good as our enemies. We are so much less a real America at home, race hatred, killer police, blatant facism, rule by force and cash, finding something about America to kill the innocent and poor of:
and what might we be doing in Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil?
Niger, South Sudan, Somalia, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Tunisia, Chad, Mauritania?
Why are we fighting in Myanmar? Does anyone know where it is?
What is clear is that everything America touches turns to shit. There is no question of this. So we play in Poland and Norway, in Romania and Ukraine, in Georgia and Azerbaijan, we build bases, we build secret prisons, we dig mass graves, we kidnap and torture, we murder and murder and murder.
We used to call it “fighting for freedom.”
It is time we Remembered. Time we remembered who and what we are supposed to be.