In which I wonder.
It’s still fashionable to say things like this:
Veterans used to be those who went out and fought and suffered to protect human rights. It was clear you were on the right and proper side if you were a U.S. vet and fought in one of the world wars.
Now, they fight endless wars of politics and money. The modern vet, after a handful of tours in Iraq or Pakistan or Somalia or Mexico, probably hates hearing “thank you” when they didn’t protect anything but military meddling in foreign governments or corporate wealth.
Fighting for human rights is noble as fuck. Fighting to make some corporation — especially one that hides its money offshore to avoid paying the taxes that will take care of vets when (if) they get home — is not. It’s probably fucking awful, if you let yourself think about it.
War is not beautiful or noble. It’s so awful, in fact, that we have built an entire reality in order to persuade people to go out and die in wars. We have honor and nobility, sacrifice and struggle: all ideas. Concepts. Methods of convincing a heart to convince a brain to convince a body to do shit clearly antithetical to individual survival.
In war, you’re on one of two sides. The side of some fuck trying to take stuff, or the side of trying to keep some fuck from taking your stuff. If you’re the fuck trying to take stuff, which is us in most of our recent and ongoing conflicts, you’re increasing human suffering. You’re not fighting a good fight, you’re a cog in a profoundly ugly, terrible machine.
Suffering is not good. It’s bad. We used to thank vets for doing it to promote the increase of good in the world, but now, I’m not so sure.