Veterans Should be Revered

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walter reed.jpegI don't know many veterans yet. I will. 

Surviving a year of intense government-sanctioned spying has changed me. Post-traumatic feelings of safety and trust will be hard-won. The pain of constant betrayal twinned with the stigma of seeming crazy to those who can't fathom it are difficult to describe.  

So, I know how much this has impacted my life and how much time and effort it will take to recover, and how I'd just like to live in a spa for six months. Looking at it in relative terms, I was under a sort of cushy guerrilla house arrest -- as long as I was at home and not being manipulated or lied to by "friends" I was safe (though constantly monitored). 

I was never cold or hungry or exposed to depleted uranium, or dodging sniper fire. I didn't have to see friends and civilians killed, or hear agonized screams and cries. I wasn't required to kill.

Imagine recovering from combat. How do people come home to their families after facing such unending stress and horrors? How do they ever find "normal" again? Deal with becoming disabled and struggling to pay the bills, or being stuck at Walter Reed? We have over 300,000 troops suffering from PTSD and a veteran suicide epidemic.

Veterans should never have to want for anything again. They should finish their days in absolute comfort, have the best medical and psychological care, housing credits, and scholarships for their children. Veterans should not be homeless. That it took domestic, government-sanctioned repression for me to "get" to some small degree what it would be like to recover from military work is one of many unexpected gifts and ironies.

My uncle and great uncle fought in Korea and WWII respectively but I wasn't/am not close with either of them. I didn't know whether they had bad knees or night sweats. Whether my great uncle's reputed temper was sharper because of what he endured overseas? These men were always older -- never have I known a robust man or woman who went away and returned altered.

My mother was a jr. high and high school history teacher for part of my childhood, so I grew up with someone who knew all about the geopolitical aspects of those eras and was fascinated by our nation's history in general. She made me watch the documentary Shoah when I was 10 and impressed upon me the importance of respectfully questioning authority. From an early age my view of humanity and the world was strongly tied to the notion that something as horrific as that holocaust could happen. Mom taught me that to blindly follow instructions or dogma was very un-American. I have always believed fundamentally in the right and necessity of questioning, which seems to have gotten me into trouble in this era (and would make me completely useless in any militaristic setting).

My best high school friend's father was a Viet Nam veteran and her family was patriotic in a different manner from mine. When I questioned the legitimacy of the Viet Nam war, for instance, it was as though I had poked a stick into a festering wound. The angry and indignant responses confused me -- I never meant to insult her father or denigrate his service. I wished we had never entered an unnecessary war that caused so much pain for so many -- including my friend's father and, by extension, my friend.

Now, I don't know anyone who has served/is serving in Iraq.The closest I've come (that I know of) is the son of a travel agent who arranged a couple of trips for me last year. As she worked her magic, I gazed at pictures of a handsome young man in uniform, and a plaque commemorating his brief life. Grief washed over me and I had no idea what to do -- should I tell her how sorry I was? He was 22, I think, with a sweet smile. His mother was on the verge of retiring and a starting a new marriage. What did these milestones mean without her son?

My wish is that all of us who no longer support this war would spend even one hour per week trying to remedy some of its harm. Once I put myself back together I want to help veterans who aren't receiving the support they deserve from our government. We have all of the Iraqi refugees to assist as well. These eight years have left a lot of mending to be done at home and abroad. If each one of us doesn't do what we can, things may just fall apart.

Iraq Veterans Against the War
Disabled American Veterans
Body of War

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3 Comments

John D said:

I admire your respect for veterans.
Good luck getting any support from gen-x
or liberals in this country. They are too
busy harassing on-campus recruiters and protesting any military action.

There are way too many ungrateful peaceniks who enjoy the freedom provided
by our veterans. Perhaps if they used as much energy supporting our troops and vets, as they do bashing them, it would encourage others to do the same.

John D., I'm a veteran, so by Your own assertion I have helped provide You with Freedom.

Yet, I see absolutely nothing wrong with groups like CCCO (Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors), the WRL (War Resister's League) or the Quakers going into high schools and providing the Parents and the cannon-fodder... errr... potential recruits information about military service that military recruiters won't tell them.

You might class me as an "ungrateful peacenik." But I am a veteran. So be sure to say "Thank You for providing the Freedom" if You pass me in the street.

Contrary to Your characterisation of liberals ( and I am pre gen-x) I have found that liberals and peace advocates usually have only the highest regard and empathy for our Veterans. And both groups in general, liberals and Veterans, have a great disdain for those running the military.

Something is wrong with our country when the President and Vice President and Defense Secretary and Attorney(s) General collude to doctor intelligence, put forth lies as justification for a hasty war run for the profit of one's cronies.

And this is something both Veterans and liberals agree on. You are trying to muddy the waters when You imply those criticising the military are bashing Veterans... they are not. To do so is to be disingenuous indeed.

Unless, of course You are talking about the retired Generals and Colonels and Majors and Captain's that work trying to procure Pentagon contracts for their firms, while they secretly meet to get their "talking points" marching orders before they go before the American Public on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS pretending to be objective, nonpartisan Defense "analysts" as was reported in the New York Times a few weeks ago. (And which NONE of the above networks has mentioned in their coverage since. And they pretend to be journalists....)

These guys deserve the criticism. They're liars, and as much a disgrace to their uniforms as Oliver North, Gen. Secord, or Adm. Pointdexter.

Here's a couple of links about these liars, in case You want to brush up on current affairs, John D.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pentagon_military_analyst_program
http://www.prwatch.org/node/7299#comment

Do you have any more info on this?

Leave a comment

Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on May 10, 2008 12:20 PM.

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