Reposted from the H-T:
I hate the Fourth of July. I’d like to tell you why.
It is a celebration that, for me, reeks of rancid, shallow
sentimentality and ignorance of the true cost of war. I hate the cheesy flags, the flowing beer, the breezy one-day fraternity of neighborhood collegiality. Nowhere do I see or hear the reverence for the dead.
You see, I am a combat veteran of the American war in Vietnam, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1968, at 17. I hate war and everything related to it.
I was not overly bothered by the egoists carrying the machine guns and other killing accoutrements in this year’s parade. Those weapons are precisely what combat is about — showing vicious and deadly intent to control and kill. My only complaint about their float entry was that it was a stunt for showing off their macho egos, but the weapons they were carrying are precisely the weapons used to kill. And, that is what war does — kill. The minute we ignore that, we are refusing to face reality. And, it is such a blatant lie to profess concern for your children seeing those weapons when we are the most warring nation on the face of the earth. War can not be made pretty—no matter what technology Crane employees try to hide it in.
My combat turned me from an 18-year-old naive Marine into an emotionally crippled 80-year-old man by the day I turned 19. I have never recovered. I never will. I live with post-traumatic stress daily. I had to leave IU in 2013 because of it; I am now on Social Security disability and 70 percent VA disability. I am so committed against war that it is all that I think of. I went to Crane to protest war on the day Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited and was kicked off the property within 23 minutes by Navy security.
We praise the military like it is some kind of religious icon, calling
all of them “heroes” and cheaply thanking them “for their service.”
Then, we wring our hands when the violence comes home with them.
A headline in a recent USA Today article (July 19) states: “Army seeks balm for veterans’ rage.” Really? The Army does know why veterans rage. They rage, as I do, because we were and are brainwashed in boot camp into the easiness of killing another human being, and then we receive zero re-socialization upon our return and discharge. The military does not want to see this very visible one-on-one relationship because it does not want to stop teaching soldiers, sailors and Marines how to kill. That —simply, simply, simply — is why the military exists. To kill.
I deeply resent the easy pseudo-patriotism exhibited by Bloomingtonians and all other Americans who are uncritical of their own complicit and complacent behavior and the behavior of our government. We can stop war, but to do so we must put our body, mind, money and spirit against the profiteers’ wheels. Until we do that, nothing will change.
Over the three years until the plant shutdown is completed, the workers at Carrier will see that they have only two choices: wait for salvation from above (the company, a union, politicians) that will never arrive or go beyond the point of angry words to direct, self-organized struggle…
WFHB’s Interchange featured Clover this week: http://wfhb.org/news/interchange-writing-red-joshua-clover-on-the-poetry-and-politics-of-riot/