I hit my saturation point with the Memorial Day weekend lip service and memorials to those who died “fighting for our freedoms.” We can argue about previous generations, but the US has not fought a war for “our freedoms” in my lifetime. The nebulous “War on Terror” has certainly not been about expanding or protecting freedoms and would have been better described as a “War on American Freedoms and Liberties.” Not a single freedom has been expanded or “protected” by this war. However, nearly every “right” provided by the Constitution of the United States has been in one form or another attacked, eroded, or outright ignored and flagrantly violated. As such, today I am going to briefly discuss how you can honor your veterans and how to really help them if you are so inclined.
I am a multi-tour combat veteran and I have had friends wounded and killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Telling the truth, identifying the real enemies, and not parroting patriotic feel good nonsense does not diminish their personal sacrifices or honor. In fact, I speak for many veterans when I say that we are sick of the rhetoric and would much rather hear substantive discussions about issues that matter. For example, why after a decade and a half can’t we get decent care at a veterans’ hospital and why can’t all of NATO to include the US, not win a war against some Pashtun villagers. The military service members I served with are appalled by the political lies and deceit and want justice for those killed and wounded, not lip service. Stop talking about the ridiculous notion we somehow “liberated” Iraq and brought democracy to the people. Everyone with even the most basic knowledge of foreign affairs now knows the invasion of Iraq was completely illegal. The true culprits behind 9/11 and the Iraq War were hiding in the Saudi and US governments and in every lobbying firm and think tank in between. We want to know why not one of these enemies and traitors respectively were held accountable. Further, we want to know why general officers were not resigning in mass protest of an obviously flawed and unsalvageable war strategy. If the “strategy” was so good, why hasn’t it worked? If it is a viable strategy, then why haven’t we fired the generals that have completely failed to achieve a decisive victory? If you want to help veterans, demand the truth and accountability while dispensing with the patriotic rhetoric.
We are also sick of hearing about how the Department of Defense (DoD) needs more money. This is the largest, most disgustingly bloated, and inefficient organization on Earth. If you want to help vets and service members, then definitely demand the DoD is downsized in every respect. From a business perspective, you don’t continue to invest in a failing company with bad management. Further, this notion that if you don’t support more military funding you are somehow “against” the troops is ridiculous. This propaganda spin has been used for decades by the military industrialists to line their pockets with tax dollars and it needs to immediately cease if you want to actually help the troops. The military doesn’t need a penny more in tax dollars and Congress should refuse to allocate/authorize the funding. To do this, the military needs to fire a huge number of unnecessary and redundant workers, retire its massive amount of outdated equipment, stop its arming and training of terrorist armies, pull back from its overseas commitments and bases that span nearly every country on earth, get rid of its antiquated and expensive socialist healthcare system, and significantly cut its spy budget that allows organizations like the NSA to illegally target American citizens. These items would save over a hundred billion dollars a year and force a real prioritization of what is important and what works. I know, some people would lose their nice government subsidized jobs. However, are we really so sick and deranged as the public that we think the Machiavellian decision to kill and wound thousands to keep our war industry afloat is remotely justifiable? If you want to help veterans and service members, cut the DoD’s budget massively.
As the “volunteers,” we are also sick of hearing Americans justify their apathy and carefree lives by saying “we volunteered.” We all have a stake and responsibility in this system. Their shirking of responsibility in no way helps any American. We did not volunteer to be lied to and abused by a corrupt government and apathetic and ill-informed public. We did not volunteer to fight and die needlessly for senseless, illegal wars. We did not volunteer to enrich special interests. We also did not volunteer to empower politicians to bully the world. We volunteered to defend this nation, its people, and the Constitution, which is given its legitimacy by the will of the people and not special interests and politicians. Allowing these wars to be used as the justification to shred the same Rights we signed up to defend makes a mockery of our service. If you want to help veterans, service members, and America, then stop allowing our government to act with impunity and strip our freedoms. Take responsibility and stand up against these draconian actions done in the name of “security” to protect our civil liberties.
Those of us that volunteered to serve aren’t opposed to war as long as it is absolutely a necessity, we fight to win, and the war is for a valid and justifiable purpose. To date, none of those criteria have ever been met in my lifetime. We don’t need this government, funded by special interests, to pick any more fights overseas. The DoD can’t even defeat the Taliban, which is about the lowest known threat aside from sub-Saharans armed only with machetes. Disturbingly, even though the DoD can’t beat the Taliban, Congress thinks funding it to pick a fight with the Russians and Chinese is a good thing! If you want to help, then insist we fight to decisively win and nothing less. Further, it is time we cease offensive overseas wars that always seem to benefit globalist corporations and instead, turn our attention to defense of the homeland and the American people.
It is also worth noting that the DoD is too big to sit around idle. The dangers of a standing military have been routinely observed and documented since before the founding of this nation. When idle, the military and government look for work. This is terrifying because in its search of a job, the military is now looking for a mission here at home on our streets. If you want to help, insist the military stays out of domestic affairs. If it is bored, it can downsize.
Finally, if nothing else resonates today, remember this one point. We don’t need more funding or weapons; we need competent leadership in both the military and civilian chains of command. When a business fails, you fire the management. The DoD has failed to defeat Islamic terrorists. In fact, radical Islamists are stronger and more numerous now than at any time since the original Muslim invasions of Europe almost a 1000 years ago. By nearly every metric the last 15 years have been a complete strategic failure for the US military. The only winners have been Islamic terrorists, big government, and corporate balance sheets. As such, the entire military senior chain of command needs to be fired for incompetence and dereliction of duty. Politically, all senior staff advisors and appointees to include cabinet officials, secretary level positions, and National Security Council members need to be replaced and prevented from serving in any future role inside or outside the government where they could influence any decision making. If you want to truly help our military members and our nation, we all must demand a decimation of the senior ranks. We also must vote to completely remove every elected leader that carried water for this failed military strategy against Islamic extremists. This amounts to a total overhaul of our leadership and management of our government. It may sound like an impossible mission and it very well might be. However, if we fail as a nation to throw these incompetents out of office, we will all suffer and our nation as we know and enjoy it will collapse. Make no mistake, this incompetence and corruption extends far beyond the military and now pervades every aspect of our lives and must be rooted out or we all will pay a very steep price. As such, if you want to thank a veteran over this Memorial Day weekend, don’t pay lip service, but take action. Show them that you respect what they stood for so much that you have worked tirelessly on your end to hold the corrupt and incompetent leadership accountable and will see to it their brothers in arms were not killed and wounded in vain.
By Guiles Hendrik
May 31, 2016