April 2012
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What spoils have we gained from our wars?

By Galen Larson

Yes; quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down You’d treat, if met where any bar is, Or help to half a crown. — Thomas Hardy

How little things change. Throughout the ages, deadly conflicts have accomplished naught. Today, we here in a nation of sheep continue to sacrifice our youth in support of our government’s conquests.

Three of these conflicts in the past have awarded us with what? Korea – some 50,000 crosses and how many maimed for life.

Vietnam – another fiasco to fight the same enemy with the same results: crosses, maimed soldiers, yellow ribbons, homeless addicts, and the prosecution of officers overcome with the savagery of war. And now our undeclared conflicts in the Middle East.

What’s more atrocious than dropping a 20-ton bomb on some fiend and missing him and vaporizing instead any number of innocent women, children and civilians that had no dog in the fight? That sad occurrence continues to this day.

And what did we win for these charades? Walmart, cheap goods and a huge financial debt to a Communist nation that backed our “enemies” in Korea and Vietnam. One hundred-dollar canvas-and-rubber shoes touted by millionaire sports stars. After losing 5,000 in Iraq (not to mention murdering untold thousands of their uninvolved civilians) we replaced a huggable tea-drinking buddy of Rumsfeldt’s – the Hitleresque Saddam — with a more religious dictator put in place by the Bush regime. But no democracy for the people.

After a decade we are still sending our youth into Afghanistan, a tribal nation headed by a fashion-plate puppet who has no control over the other tribes, who says he would side with Pakistan, a nation we send millions of dollars to that nonetheless hid Bin Laden and also hates our guts.

We have no qualms about sending our youth on three or four tours of duty and we get all twisted with emotion when they continue to break down mentally and murder the inhabitants of that country who, so they say, are our friends, allies and also the enemy. Try sorting that shit out while saving your ass. My fear is we might be persuaded to turn that master sergeant who lost it after four deployments and executed 17 unarmed civilians back over to the Afghanis, just to save face.

We here in this country have had no major discomforts in these three conflicts as did the greatest generation during the great last declared war, when there was rationing of gas, meat, butter, tires, sugar, power, and we had a draft so the sons of the rich and powerful also could be marched into the meat grinder. What have these past conflicts brought us – prosperity? No, only high food and gas prices and a recession but not real hardships. Every time I see a parent, son or daughter cheerfully surprising a family by returning home unharmed I see something else that sticks in my mind – a 5-year-old boy with quivering lips standing by his father’s casket receiving the carefully folded flag supposedly “ honoring” his father’s death, knowing that is all he has left of his father, not the hugs the others received.

When I see stores closed and no more mattress or furniture sales, I’ll celebrate Veterans Day.

I was called away to join the fray and did my duty proudly.
I killed some other mother’s son and left a family grieving
They said I earned my medals for the deed I did for others’ greed
And we beat the foe quite soundly.
The same was done when I came home and now they called it murder.

Galen Larson, a Korean War veteran, writes from Montezuma County, Colo.


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