Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are the days the empire has set aside to remember the fallen soldiers of American wars and those who have served in its armed forces. They are also opportunities for state sanctioned amnesia.
It is chance for politicians to go on ad nauseum about “duty” and “sacrifice,” foreign concepts for most of them to say the least. It is an opportunity for corporations to make a quick buck off of the follies of their imperialistic wars of plunder. It is an opportunity for Americans to once again ignore the statistics of homeless veterans and those who return with horrific injuries and PTSD, and the neglect they endure from an inept and inadequately funded Veteran’s Administration. An opportunity for social media to explode with meaningless memes extolling “freedom and liberty,” two meaningless words that serve to distract the public from the slow and steady erroding of the most basic civil liberties and rights ordinary citizens have left.
It is also another opportunity to forget about the NDAA indefinite detention “option” that allows the government to spirit away any American citizen to an undisclosed location, away from family or legal counsel, potentially kept there forever, to face a military tribunal for charges that need never be disclosed to the accused. An opportunity for Americans to lie to themselves about the whole scale destruction and occupation of other nations, impoverished and far less sophisticated than us in military might, and generally already destabilized by the CIA. An opportunity to minimize the loss and value of the lives of foreigners and soldiers of other countries who fought just as valiantly for the lies their government told them. An opportunity for Americans who dissent from these lies to be shunned and shamed, demonized and ignored.
If America really honored the fallen and those who have served, it would condemn the war criminals in Washington who continue to goad the nation into endless wars. If it really paid respect to veterans it would give adequate funding to the VA, treat PTSD in those who come home from the horrors of war, and house the nearly three hundred thousand homeless that line the streets of every major American city. It would pay them an living wage so that they need not go on food stamps. If it really hoped to spare a child the loss of a parent to a senseless war, it would take to the streets to protest any new war or intervention. If it really believed in freedom and liberty, it would understand that neither of these are possible in a time of war and that is just what the elite want in order to maintain their control and keep their wealth.
But none of that will happen on these days, or any other day of the year, because in the land of the free, dissent is the enemy, and nationalistic jingoism reigns supreme.
Kenn Orphan 2014