Happy(?) Veterans’ Day

It’s Veterans’ Day. Here are some posts I made today on Facebook:
  • I’m a veteran. Every year on Veterans’ Day, all day long I feel like everybody is trying to make everybody else eat their spinach on my behalf, and shaming them if they don’t eat. Please. I don’t care who eats the spinach.
  • Just want to say thank you to all the veterinarians out there, who keep our beloved pets healthy and safe and only ask for lots of money in return.
  • Today, let’s all make sure to thank all the selfless vegetarians who don’t eat meat so that the rest of us have more tasty flesh to enjoy.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you to the bold Venusians who have not preemptively invaded our planet and killed oodles of innocents because they fear our weapons of mass destruction.
  • We should all be very grateful to, and show our support for, all the Virginians for their…um…for something, I’m sure.
  • Today, we must all remember to thank our vitamins, who answer the call and help us stay healthy, and even taste yummy when their forms are gummy.
  • Everyone honor our strong vas deferens which bring pleasure to our days and help us exist in the first place.

I’ve been having a bit of fun, joking around about the wave of Veterans’ Day posts that we see every year on this day, and I know not everyone appreciates the humor. I get that, and I’m sympathetic. But I don’t apologize.

I’m a veteran. I’ve had blood on my hands. I’ve lost friends. And to me, though I realize how sincere most people are, Veterans’ Day is a day of jingoism and platitudes, particularly in a time when we send our soldiers to die in wars we do not need to fight, and when we don’t take care of them when they come home.

Yes, we should honor the soldiers who are fighting and dying in our name, but we should do that by making sure they are doing so ONLY when necessary, otherwise we are wasting their efforts and their lives. Honor them by doing all you can to bring them home. Let their spouses curl up with them every night, their parents be able to sleep in peace, and their children grow up with fathers and mothers.

Yes, we should honor the veterans who have fought in our name when ordered, whether misused by their leaders or not. And to do that best, we should make sure they are given the medical and psychological attention they need when they’re back home, and we should make sure they’re given the benefits they’ve been promised (the VA screwed me out of over 80% of my College Fund, and I’m not alone), we should make sure their homes haven’t been stolen by bankers, and we should do all we can to help them find security in our lousy economy.

So yeah, wave the flag if you want to, tell everyone how important it is to honor our warriors, but if that’s the extent of it, it’s meaningless. If you want to thank me for my service, do something that’s going to help those who need help because they volunteered.

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A Tip On How To Avoid Spreading Lies (and how not to be taken in by them)

An old friend just posted this as their status on Facebook:

Dear Mr. President,

I hear you want to freeze pay rates for military
starting next year. Would you also consider cutting yours to save much
more money for our country? While you’re at it, lets cut down congress’
pay too. If the people who risk their lives don’t get a pay raise, why
…would we continue raising pay for those who send us “over there”? Copy paste if you agree

Thing is, it’s bogus. This is exactly the sort of non-factual knowledge I’ve written about here and there, lies spread passionately among millions of Americans too willing to accept any bad news about their political opponents, or just too lazy to do a few minutes’ fact-checking so they know they’re spreading truth not propaganda.

It’s tough for me to take time out of my day (or night, as it’s late, I’m tired, and I really ought to be in bed) to defend President Obama, because I’m not a huge fan myself. But if you’re going to criticise him, people, please make sure you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Otherwise you’re a pawn of liars, a liar yourself, or just a stupid sheep easily led where they want to take you.

I wasn’t previously aware of this particular lie. It took less than a minute for me to search Google (“Obama military pay freeze”), and find the truth, in detail. The first link was to a page at Snopes with everything laid out plainly for anyone to see. Snopes is a great site for checking the veracity of rumors, political and otherwise.

Be All You Can Be (Stay a Civilian)

The past decade has seen a severe resurgence of militarism in the American psyche, a wave George W. Bush surfed gleefully as he destroyed our economy and standing in the world, embroiled us in a needless war instead of pursuing the actual war on terror, and decimated a generation or three as he enriched himself and his pals. It became mandatory to pay tribute to our brave troops and their sacrifice, and any criticism of the military or Bush’s invasion was refracted back on the critics as an accusation that they “didn’t support the troops,” were unpatriotic, or even that they supported our enemies.

Thankfully, after eight years of Bush’s shit, all but the dimmest of the dim realized what a disaster he was as a president, and what a colossal fuckup the Iraq war has been. We have a new president, who is doing a pretty good job overall, though I have concerns (then again, after two terms of Bush, Obama could do nothing but stand in the sun smearing feces in his hair for a year and I’d still give him kudos for doing a better job), and hopefully sanity has mostly returned.

I have always been against the war in Iraq. When Bush “won” in 2000, I predicted that we’d invade. Being correct was not a point of pleasure. I am not blind to the inevitability of war, or the necessity to defend one’s nation “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and indeed I voluntarily served in the US Army in large part out of a sense of duty. I believe in fighting when you have to, or when it’s the right thing to do (like our routing of the Taliban and al Qaeda).

So, as a patriot, and a veteran, I’d like to share with you, Continue reading