Friday, May 15, 2009

And swords and guns and uniforms, Were scattered on the ground

We watched the season closer for Grey's Anatomy last night. No apologies, it's a good show. But they screwed up, IMHO.

A significant sub-plot had one character, mild-mannered George, enlisting in the Army to become a field surgeon. Two other characters argued this issue, and one made the overused point:
They're fighting to protect our freedoms.

Thing is, they're not.

I know it's not PC to say that, but in my life, I can't remember one war, one police action, one armed incursion, one invasion, that was to protect our freedoms. Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, all wars of choice, dreamed up by ideologues and executed by the brave, the foolish, and the desperate.

For the men and women who, for whatever noble and/or tragic reason find themselves in the armed forces, I have the utmost respect. For their own reasons, they did what I chose not to (1st Viet Nam draft, my # was 13. I didn't have to go, and I don't think I would have). And our government, and our population should support them in their sacrifice.

But we don't, by and large. We don't march on Washington to protest conditions at military hospitals, from rats to meal charges. Yes, we march to protest the war, but how does that help the returning soldiers who gave up jobs, whose families had to ask for food stamps?

They aren't defending out freedoms except in their own hearts. And that we should value. My Mom, before she died, was making knitted goods for the Long Beach VA Hospital, because she grew up during WWII when the entire population sacrificed to support the war effort and the soldiers. And Pam has done the same, because her dad was changed and formed by his participation in WWII.

So those of you enamored of the war, or who fetishize the military, what have you done? Have you done one thing that would get our soldiers out of deadly combat? Have you done one thing to help their transition back to a civilian life? Because if you haven't, you're part of the problem.

Clearly we need a defense force, and may sometime need an offensive force. But Iraq, and most likely Afghanistan are not those situations. So if you truly believe we need a military to "defend our freedoms", bring them home, equip them properly, heal them appropriately, pay them fairly, so that when a real threat occurs, they can do the job they volunteered for, the job we trust them to do.

Country Joe still makes sense: