Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial To Something Worthwhile

Today we are seeing all sorts of messages about the troops, and I keep hearing about those 'who made the ultimate sacrifice', and I want to know, for what? In my lifetime, the WWII in Europe ended, those troops came home who hadn't died, and back home they found a lot of gratitude.

They built up a country that was the strongest economy for the workers that ever existed. It was a country that was worth the struggle to maintain it. Since that time, policies that fought against living wage and adequate benefits for workers has turned it around, and we have economic disaster. The social security and unemployment programs to keep us through hard time, plans we have paid into, have been borrowed practically out of existence while we bail out the financial industry that has squandered what we earn.

In my lifetime, the wars have been diminishing into policy squabbles. Vietnam was about 'domino theory' and draftees encountered the realities that denied political dogma and turned the public into a war machine; the machine that ended an unproductive war.

Those who died in Vietnam, whose names adorn that dark solemn wall on the mall in D.C. are not claimed to have died to save liberty, or the country, or truth, justice and the American way of life. They died for a mistake. That mistake, and their deaths, would be worth a great deal if they have ended the warmaking push that followed, but they didn't.

We are extricating ourselves now from the War on Iraq, a.k.a. The Great War on Terror, that is a disgrace to our democracy. Lies were used to get a vote from Congress to authorize the ex-cretin in chief to use military power, votes given on the assumption that no one raised to the presidency would stoop to using troops' lives when the simple constraint on trade which was traditional in these events would suffice. The congress was wrong. We had in place as commander in chief some one whose ambitions were purely political, and a war was the way to get where he wanted to go.

When our troops died in Iraq, it achieved nothing for the country, but, rather, worked against it. Our obscene expenditures were death to the economy here at home, and did nothing for the working people here or in Iraq. Contractors reaped fortunes, while the troops received laggard assistance and inadequate arms, provisions, and equipment. Those who died because of these obscene misalocations certainly should be honored by an end to these practices. Yet there are many of the right wing shouting that we have to make sure they didn't die in vain. As that argument goes, we have to keep killing off the troops until we can declare victory. Victory is the establishment of a government in Iraq that represents our own puppet, a government that the Iraqis will never allow. This rorschach model of Iraqi government is a figment of the imagination, and would mean fighting and dying for troops who cannot give the wingnuts what they want without turning against the existing government that we have put in.

On Memorial Day, I would like to see us turn to a profitable use of troops for this country. We need to convert the wasted funds now being lost to public works here, and in service in countries that need assistance such as the Peace Corps represents. We need a commander in chief who will use our government and its forces for the good of this country. That has happened before. The CCC and WPA gave us roads, bridges, Riverwalk, the Providence Zoo: they trained workers to farm and feed themselves, to build their own farms and to sustain their lives. Peace Corps familiarized our own people with places and peoples that they learned to respect, whose institutions they bolstered, to our great credit. Troops do not have to destroy.

We lost few of the work trainees in the works programs of FDR's "New Deal", or in the Peace Corps. Their lives were enhanced, not lost or forever harmed by injuries. Our society gained, and our place in the world was raised.

There is no reason we have to continue a dishonor, a warring tradition that has led to nothing but loss. The powers that keep wars going are harmful to our world and its people.

For Memorial Day, we should dedicate our resources, and particularly human resources, to constructive works. We can be better, and we should start now.

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

"Happy" Memorial Day, from warriors who came over to the Light Side: Memorial music..

5:33 PM  
Anonymous elbrucce said...

On Memorial Day, I would like to see us turn to a profitable use of troops for this country.
Better find a candidate for 2021 then... Obama has other ideas for those Iraq troops: Afganistan!

And really, we shouldn't use troops for domestic projects anyway. Let's get some union jobs back. Oh--right. Another reason for a new candidate for 2012.

7:11 PM  
Blogger AnnPW said...

Wonderful post, thanks Ruth.

6:28 AM  

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