DB: In honor of Memorial Day, I offer the observations of my cousin.
The scary part for me, on this Memorial Day, is how separate from the military most Americans are. With such a small percentage of the population serving in the military, people’s every day lives are not impacted. This is not a bad thing; it takes a bit away from someone to see the real horrors of war.
CNN and Fox News do a good job putting out their respective party’$ message. As an adult it amazes me how the same story can be told in two different ways, both of which miss the point.
A case in point would be Operation Jade Helm, a large multi-branch training event that one side thought was training the American Military how to impose martial law in America. This went so far that the governor of Texas activated the Texas National Guard to monitor the exercise to ensure the rights of Texans were not being violated.
Let me just say that again: the Texas National Guard was activated to monitor the entire United States Military. I am sure that the Texas National Guard is well funded. However, imagine a yippee dog fighting Mike Tyson: he might get bitten and despised by the media, but the fight would be brief. Yet, one news organization is reporting that the motivations of Jade Helm are nefarious. The real motivation for having American troops “training on American soil” is clearly either the imposition of martial law, or taking away Texans’ guns. (ed: because Waco, obviously).
I ask you where are we (who are also Americans that signed a blank check to the government payable up to and including our lives) supposed to train? If we go outside of the United States it looks a little bit like we are invading, which doesn’t play well in the news. Meanwhile, the other news source (ed: CNN) is portraying veterans as ticking time bombs just waiting for their PTSD to push them over the edge, or highlighting the mistakes that have been made in a very complex environment.
The American public has become so disconnected with a military that has been going to and coming back from a war zone for over 13 years that they don’t understand why it is not okay to ask if you killed anyone over there. Or even how good it is in America because a third world war zone is no place for anyone. That you have people thanking the troops for their service while at the same time telling them that they don’t support the war. Wonderful, I am glad that I am not being spit on and being called a baby killer like the Vietnam Veterans when they came home. If you don’t support the war you have the power to change it. Tell your Congressional Representative what you need from them, then you have to follow through and not vote for them if they continue to do things you don’t support. Don’t tell the person that probably just got back from a bad place that you don’t think that they were doing any good over there. Because on this MEMORIAL day weekend they are thinking about the friends that they lost, most of them right before their very eyes. You are telling us that those young men died for no purpose. The civilian says thank you for your service and shakes your hand feeling good about themselves. The Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine awkwardly mumbles something along the lines of thank you while returning a hand shake.
Less than one percent serve, and of those most are from a military family. They are stationed in places that mostly military people retire (people stay in places that they are comfortable) so the businesses are generally military serving military. Thus, across America there there are pockets of military but again the general public doesn’t see them. I am interested to see where we as Americans go from here. I do still think that it is good to have the civilian government in control of the military. I can see that it would not be a good idea for the dogs of war to let themselves loose. But maybe not making decisions based on the party’s political agenda or the election cycle would be better.
If you are going to start something be sure that you give a clear path on how to finish it.
Former Infantry Captain with the 101st Airborne, United States Army
2 tours in Afghanistan