Veterans day: a day when lonely men dust off their USMC hats and go get drunk with other lonely men, when daughters and granddaughters post pictures of vets in their families on the Facebook, and when everyone else either just pisses their day off away, or sits in an office stewing because they didn’t get the day off.
It’s something else though, as a nation, we’re creating veterans like it’s crucial to our GDP, and shit, since we also make a lot of the world’s war machines, I guess it is. War is crazy, and people that end up fighting in wars usually, disproportionately even, end up one of three things: dead, blown to bits but alive, or deeply disturbed/haunted. I’m guessing there are plenty of veterans who don’t end up in one of these categories, but it seems to me that being in a situation where your mortality is on the line is always super intense, and knowing that you could, at any given moment, be in a position where you have to decide if someone lives or dies, well, that’s pretty fucking intense too. I don’t know how you could come out of a situation like war unscathed. In fact, now that I ponder it, I don’t think I’d trust someone who came away from a combat experience completely stable. That seems like an inhuman response.
Vets, I’m guessing, don’t always want to end up in combat situations. Some do, sure. But, shit, man, some football players WANT to paralyze the opposition. Some creeps in metal bands want to bone 14 year olds. Some people cut up cheerleaders and make their skin into masks and lampshades. Some people like Chris Brown. Most humans, however, are generally good (yes, this is something I truly believe), and as such, dealing death and pain is generally not something any of us are programmed to want to do.
Right now, I live in a country with a lot of veterans around my age who joined up after 9-11 to defend America, freedom, democracy, get revenge, whatever. I can understand that. Not my bag, but I fully get the sentiment. I also understand that almost none of those people wanted to end up in Iraq, stuck fighting an endless, unwinnable war against a dictator who, while an unquestionably evil guy, was not responsible for 9-11, AND who, in hindsight, seemed to be the last secular, stabilizing strongman in the region. The whole thing was, as we all know, a pigfuck, and once it finally spilled into a second war with Afghanistan (a country that has never been successfully invaded), well, suddenly you’re looking at a lot of bummed out soldiers who want to be at home, and who maybe feel like the part of their life they signed away (a few years of their youth, their mental health, in some instances, their legs, arms, faces, etc) was maybe not worth the paycheck, the prestige of the uniform and the free trip to the desert.
In Viet Nam, motherfuckers HAD to go fight. Those kids, by and large, didn’t want to be in that jungle. Lots of these kids don’t want to have memories of that desert. But whether it’s nationalism, poverty, some kind of court-ordered plea bargain or just good old-fashioned adventure seeking, that’s what we have now. We have a ton of people of all ages, back from foreign wars, many of them broken, and they can’t get jobs. They can’t get the healthcare they need. They’re homeless, or they’re in substandard living conditions, they’re depressed, they’re without an infrastructure, they’re lonely, they’re haunted by what they’ve seen…I could go on and on with this but my point is this: Smartass hyper-liberal dicks are quick to shit on veterans and call ‘em killers or government pawns. Other people are quick to blindly praise veterans while not doing anything practical that could actually help them. I don’t know. I’m not a veteran. I’d shit my pants if you handed me a grenade. I’d cry if someone shot at me. My point is, I fail to see how all these flags and condescending parades and speeches get any of these poor vets any of the help they need. Pretty fucked, America. Even for you.
Okay whatever. Back to dick jokes tomorrow.