Rethinking Veterans Day Author: BobRDate:11/11/2015 11:58:24
As we celebrate the service our military veterans, we should think for a moment just how they gained that title. They were either drafted into service (Viet Nam war and earlier), or they signed up of their own volition. They become "GI" (Government Issue), which means the government in general (and the military in particular) "owns" them and their bodies for use in protecting our country.
That doesn't mean they stop being people. They do not stop being someone's sons or daughters, someone's spouse, nor someone's mother or father. We as a country owe them a sacred oath to not take their service lightly, nor to toss them into harm's way when it isn't really necessary.
Yet, we somehow do that, and have done that for decades. We are now acting as the world's police, the protectors and enforcers for other countries, to whom our soldiers owe no allegiance. The premeditated invasion of Iraq by the Bush Administration is the grossest of these, but with bases all over the world, we are poised to get involved in areas that don't involve a credible threat to our country.
Congress and the President are the one's who ultimately make the decisions, both large and small. With a presidential election less than a year away, it is incumbent upon us to consider the temperament of the candidates with regard to how they feel our military should be used abroad.
The Republican candidates in general (Rand Paul excepted) have a very pro-military-action attitude, seemingly eager to put "boots on the ground". To them, the soldiers who will one day be veterans are pawns in a power play, There's an "invade first - ask questions later" mentality that seems counter to the notion of military force as a last resort.
Of all the candidates running (Democrat and Republican) only one - Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has served in the military. Perhaps that's why it's do disappointing that he is one of the most hawkish of the lot. None of the other candidates know what it's like to serve, much less be in combat.
The Democrats - who also have not served in the military - are much less likely to create new veterans of foreign wars. You never hear them saying things like "bomb, bomb, Iran".
So perhaps today while we honor our vets, we should think about what it truly means to honor them, and understand that the best way to honor anyone's military service is to not make a veteran (or casualty) out of them.