No glory in war for this veteran

I am a veteran – of the Vietnam era, as are my friends and my brothers. My father, uncles and an aunt were veterans of World War II.
Nov 11, 2013

A great uncle was stationed on a battleship during World War I. A great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, an immigrant in an Illinois regiment who suffered the rest of his life from his bullet wound.

Veterans Day (Nov. 11) was formerly Armistice Day, celebrating the end of the Great War. But it has turned from a celebration of peace to a celebration of the false glory of war.

War damages everything associated with it — not only the sailors and soldiers, but the civilians including the children; not only the body, but the mind and the spirit. Glorification of war becomes support for more war; for accepting the easy violence of war instead of the difficult peaceful resolution of human problems.

Veterans Day ceremonies teach the young and the naive that war is glorious, and can bring glory to its fighters and to its nation. Such glory is a fantasy, but the damage of war is real.

Veterans Day ceremonies are part of a false promise of victory against those who would no more be defeated and mastered than would we. Victory and vanquish no longer exist — only destruction, and the option of peace.

Veterans Day ceremonies perpetuate a myth of fear that we have created for ourselves and that we have allowed our false leaders to impose upon us. We invent myths of defense against those we fear instead of living truly free.

We perpetuate fear to maintain fantasies of victory and glory and nostalgia for the oxymoronic “good war.” We spend trillions of dollars, and kill and injure millions of people; we even sacrifice our own people and our people’s needs to fantasies of glory and to perpetuation of fear.

War, if it continues, will bring down a nation built by generations of hard-working, dedicated people — a long collapse to be caused by economic and moral bankruptcy, and by the anger, envy and spite of people around the world.

Please don’t tell me “thank you for your service,” because that is revolting to me. Instead, thank others for their services to your true freedom: the creators, growers, healers, preservers.

As a veteran, I might participate in the ceremonies if I could display my opposition to war at those ceremonies, but I cannot because many would be angered, not enlightened, not persuaded. I would be told, without embarrassment, that “freedom isn’t free.” Even the words written here will permit many to indulge their anger.

Instead of ceremonies, take care of the veterans who have suffered so much in past and current wars, and take care of others who have also suffered from our wars on the poor both at home and abroad. 

Study the real effects of our nation’s actions instead of waving a flag in false honor and glory.

Andrew Larkin is emeritus professor of economics for St. Cloud State University and writes for PeaceVoice. He can be reached by e-mail at larkin@stcloudstate.edu.

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Comments

LessThanAmused

Well written and speaks to the truth of war. Probably be the last time anyone says that in this thread.

Wolverine49457

He is so right, young men and women should be required to take a class so they can learn what the signature on the contract means.
People who claim war is the least bit glorious have never been, knowing you could become a vapor in about a tenth of a second does not bring glory to mind, if you are physically wounded your new terror at the hands of a VA hospital begins, better to die quickly in the field than slowly where recovery seems just out of reach, perhaps they are better today but back then they were places to die.

Most of us who served went into it figuring the military would be life changing but we all knew it two minutes after meeting the drill instructor for the first time, (TI) for us Air Force wingnuts, their primary function is not teaching you to march in parades well….just an FYI.

Missing limbs or other parts is obvious but what is broadly unknown and impossible to measure is the amount of "you" that was left behind, you find you've lost some of your personality in addition to losing relationships, family and friends even your dreams of the future seem an eternity away…Life can be like walking waist deep in molasses, each step is effort, nothing seems easy or fun anymore living with what you have done to your fellow man is like dragging an anchor by your ankles.

Even some of your past simply no longer exists, those memories of a time when you didn’t have this burden just doesn’t exist anymore; you can't keep replaying the “I know what you did” movie without having it affect you on some level. With past wars or current far too many young men and women end up seeing things that the human mind does not tolerate well, but we all soldiered on out of the greater fear we would have to live with the thought we reneged on our commitment to our country, each other and fellow Americans.
Like many others, I do seek recognition or even a day of thanks, we just want things to be different, we just want our sacrifice to mean the day will come when others no longer have to know, what we know.

Lanivan

Thank you, Wolverine 49457, for this haunting and beautifully written expression of an unseen, but all inclusive, casualty of war.

deuce liti

And don't forget how utterly terrible the monstrous military treats women. Rape and misogyny are the norm while they cover it up. Evil beyond words.

Zegota

War is a four letter word, other then that I must strongly object to one of my brothers in arms Professor Andrew Larkin editorial. We must never forget our history and the many sacrifices that were made by the "World's Greatest Generation". For what we have today was made possible by those many sacrifices, and even today many people in the armed services are paying the ultimate price. Keeping us free, so that Professors like, Professor Larkin can have his voices heard.
I will continue to honor, and to respect my relatives who have served, and all those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom today.
Remember if we forget our history, we are doomed to relive it. God Bless all those who have served, and those who are today serving proudly, thank you. God Bless the Constitution, and the United States of America.

Truth Be Told

Just because you agree with a statement doesn't make it the truth.
Sounds to me like a bunch of hippies holding hands and singing kumbaya.

And that unfounded comment that women being rapped is the norm for the american armed forces is pure hogwash.

That is pure evil, not honoring our brave service persons

LessThanAmused

Isn't it ironic that someone who calls themself "Truth Be Told" (A pretty arrogant title right off the bat) only wants his own truth to be the one people hear. What are you so afraid of in letting others speak to their own experiences and feelings? A truly free person allows all points of view to be heard and discussed.

Personally I find no harm in honoring those that have served. My oldest daughter is in the Army, along with her husband and both are currently stationed in South Korea, along with their 5 boys, for a 36 month stay, BUT that is a completely different issue from supporting the mindset that promotes constant war. Particulary those that are based on an act of agression instead of one of defense.

Here's a quote from the article for you to read again....

"Instead of ceremonies, take care of the veterans who have suffered so much in past and current wars, and take care of others who have also suffered from our wars on the poor both at home and abroad".

I'd respectively suggest that you take your self-righteous indignation and apply it towards some positive action like suggested above. Can you really argue that would not be a better use of your time than simple-minded flag waving? I'll bet you didn't even read the whole article, or that if you did, you didn't take the time to consider what was actually said......

"Study the real effects of our nation’s actions instead of waving a flag in false honor and glory".

That's a good suggestion for anyone, unless they're afraid of finding some truth that doesn't fit in with their preconceived notions of glory and honor.

When your so fearful of another person's thoughts because they don't jive with yours, how could you ever hope to be able to actually have the bravery to fight in an war?

ruserious

"Please don’t tell me “thank you for your service,” because that is revolting to me."

Are you seriously dissecting what this person is saying and then telling him “good job”?

I would like to thank all those that have served, men and women, present and past, with the exception of Comrade Larkin, for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of their/our beloved country.

Comrade, you are revolting to me. Take your self righteous indignation and spew it on those who would believe your unconscionable diatribe; you disgust me and dishonor those that have served our nation.

deuce liti

Interestingly, in Eisenhower's farewell speech he states:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

This Military Industrial Complex is a money making machine with an insatiable annual budget that uses the ruse of the procurement of peace and/or freedom to finance it's bloated lust of golden dreams and diamond lollipops .

A machine oiled with the blood of men, women and children both foreign and domestic who give their lives willingly under the shroud of justice as dictated by the apathetic bidders of the government contract who gladly let someone else risk their life while these monsters line their pockets.

For the reply that said my comment about rape in the military was, "a bunch of hogwash": This is from the New York Times 4 days ago,

"There were 3,553 sexual assault complaints reported to the Defense Department in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, from October 2012 through June, a nearly 50 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Defense Department officials said the numbers had continued to rise.

The numbers included sexual assaults by civilians on service members and by service members on civilians. Sexual assault was defined in the report as rape, sodomy and other unwanted sexual contact, including touching of private body parts. It did not include sexual harassment, which is handled by another office in the military.

Last summer that survey found that about 26,000 men and women in the military were sexually assaulted in 2011, up from 19,000 in 2010."

Of course, it's hard to see anything with your eyes closed so tightly.

Creedance

I've been out of the military now for 8 years. And it's true, sexual assaults occur in the military, as they do in any other setting. Imagine if college campuses had the same issue, oh wait, they do... here's a little reading from a liberal site for you http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Please find a different avenue to drive down if you'd like to bash the military.

Creedance

Interesting timing by the Tribune considering other newspapers published this October 23. Well done, Trib! Up next let's post an article about Christianity being a waste of time on Christmas!

I will say though, whether you agree with what he is saying or not, this guy seems rather selfish. Sure, people's views on life may change, but did he ever consider that it has changed many lives in a positive way? Also, people are proud to make this sacrifice, whether they agree with the current conflicts or not, they can agree that we always must remain in a defensive stance so guys like this can preach to the Nation's youth and mess with their head's in a non-physical manner. Read his "rate my professor" comments from students. Any non-die hard liberal student tends to make a lot of negative comments about him being a mind-effer.

deuce liti

I'll take you up on that Christianity and Christmas argument:

When a group of Christians merged with the Romans to create the Roman Catholic Church, they adopted a lot of pagan rituals.

They changed the Saturnalia, which was a ritual to bring the sun back, of December 25 into what a Bishop declared as the birth of Jesus. Jesus, according to the bible, was born when shepherds lived outside with their flocks.

The christmas tree was traditionally an evergreen known to live throughout winter and it symbolized immortality.

Santa Clause or "St. Nick" was born out of a myth of a Catholic Priest who would bring presents to children.

The halo depicted in Christian artwork is never mentioned in the Bible. In fact, it originally was a miniature sun as the Romans worshipped the sun.

Jesus said to remember his death, not his birth. Interestingly, many people who aren't Christian celebrate christmas. It's the number one holiday in Japan and they're mostly Buddhists!

Do you think people should only be kind to each other one day a year?

Do you think God sees people giving in the spirit of His son or people participating in ancient pagan rituals under the guise of "His son's birthday?" Especially as people trample each other to death to get a good deal on a Furby that'll just be feral in a few months anyway?

Creedance

I'm failing to see what your argument is here? It's not Christmas today, but I'll bite for a short response. Regardless of your perspective of the holiday, it's still Christian to Christians. Christmas is a symbol. Just like Veteran's day. November 11 isn't a magic day that people become a Veteran. So Christmas has been commercialized, so what? What's wrong with generating a positive revenue stream? It even creates jobs for people.

The argument was about the timing there, but when you're angry about something, it's easy to get off on a non-relevant tangent.

Wolverine49457

To one point, a line from one of my favorite songs sings:
"It's not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through!"

gordbzz231

Many that disagree with his point of view, it is his story and should be respected

RetUSCG2002

I'm a Vet too ..... Bad Story for Veterans Day! Especially in this town! Editor - you need to wake up! Check the storm stories to see all my comments, since you moved them to a different article that was unrelated! Talk about oppression or freedom of speech! You let me have my word - but just put it the wrong column! Communist!

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