I'm going to say something unpopular today, and as much as I am loathe to give offense, some of what I say may offend some of you. Hold on tight.
Here is the thing: I'm getting a little tired of all the, what I call "veteran worship" going on these days. Although I think that our veterans are worthy of respect simply because in a society where fewer and fewer people are willing to serve their country in uniform, credit belongs to those "in the arena".
Our veterans are (mostly) good people who have given our country the benefit of their service, usually deriving no small benefit of their own from their military/naval experience. Indeed, where I work, you'll find that 80 percent of the men are veterans.
Our veterans have served their country in war, peace, "police actions", counter insurgencies, and wars that have no names. Our veterans have done things most Americans will never have to do... or even imagine having to do.
I come from a family of military men. My dad was a career soldier, as was my brother. My father-in-law is a navy veteran of combat in the pacific during World war Two.
I am proud to be a veteran, and proud of my fellow veterans.
What I am NOT proud of is listening to a bunch of @*#&%$* politicians simpering out how American soldiers are serving in Iraq to protect our freedoms, etc...
Our military men and women are being done a disservice by our country. While they are serving our country and fighting a war at the command of our government, this should not be misconstrued as fighting to protect my freedom... or yours. They have been ill-used by rascals and scoundrels of both major parties, for political reasons, and I am disgusted by it.
Most of my male friends are veterans. Soccergirl's Godparents are vetereans. I have friends that have served in Beirut, Lebanon, the first Gulf War, the Invasion of Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and fought Philippine rebels in the jungles (didn't hear about that one, did you?... well, none of them were to wear the Purple Heart medal for their combat wounds). Some of those friends are terribly embittered. Not because our country didn't fall over itself, kissing their asses when they got home, but because they realize that their efforts were frequently for nothing.... because they were ill-used by their government.
Oh sure... the rhetoric can be downright heart-breaking, with bumper stickers like: "If you value freedom, thank a vet" which is nice, but unless you are thanking a veteran of world war two, you are probably wasting your time. Our soldiers haven't fought to physically defend America since then.
Anyway... our veterans deserve better. Our active duty servicemen and women deserve better. They deserve better than being the wounded, maimed, fucked-up, political ponies that our politicians are making out of them.