Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Problem With Memorial Day

I grant you, every man or woman who has died under the aegis of the government of the United States of America during the entire existence of the US of A deserves to be remembered and honored. And a day set aside called Memorial Day is a good time and occasion to do that.

The honoring of these dead is not the problem.

The problem is the description used honoring these dead.

It is very true that many American soldiers have died defending this country. And it is also true that in recent years when men and women signed up for duty in the army of the United States of America, they assumed they might be called upon to defend this country, and they were proud and willing to do so. That willingness to die for one’s country cannot be praised enough.

When a man or woman in the United States Army is grievously wounded or dies in a war, I can understand the family and friends needing to believe he or she died defending America.

But where the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned, it is not true.

And yesterday, Memorial Day, we were constantly told to remember those who died in Iraq and Afghanstan who were “defending our country”.

They surely may have been willing to defend the USA, but those who died in Iraq died defending the erroneous, wrongheaded and unnecessary war concocted by President George W. Bush and his administration. They died to increase the riches of Vice President Dick Cheney who was heavily involved with and invested in the corporations that made armaments. That is not defending our country.

And now, 2000 US men and women have died in Afghanistan defending the poppy fields and opium trade of a nation that has been at war with itself for 3,000 years. That is not defending our country.

We have to stop lying to ourselves about why the men and women in our military are dying. If I were a parent or loved one of a soldier who had died in our military, I too would want to think they had died defending America. And it is true, they all surely were willing to die defending the USA. However, they died for every egregiously ugly reason under the sun except in defense of the USA.

We have to stop lying to ourselves before we can stop this nonsense of young men and women fighting and dying on foreign soil for no good reason.