I am no Pappa Hemingway, but I think in the terse and laconic way he used his verbs. I have also fought in a war with no glory as did Ernest. What aligns me with him is the lack of potency in the written word, as searing and penetrating as Hemingway was, to alter the behavior of a bellicose nation. War is a verb on steroids. Survival has no syntax, just symptoms and infinite costs.
The ravages of war and the psychic damage it brings have never in history been so paraded if front of polite society at is has in the last ten years of non-declared wars of assimilation.
T.S. Elliot put it aptly, “how much reality can humankind handle?”
The killings of the homeless men in Orange County by an Iraq combat veteran, were clearly the act of an aberrant man with a parallel life. It matters not that we was a Marine, sailor, soldier or Airman. He is yet another, “Canary,” in the tunnel of the aftermath of wars. Particularly, wars that ask for 4 and 5 tours of duty. No soldiers since the Crusades have served in as many campaigns. Why does this just slide by in the middle of the night while we have the “Four Non Horseman,” on stage debating about subjects that are mostly a distraction from the one budgetary item that is breaking the bank in the exact same way that the Russians went broke fighting in Afghanistan?
Why is there not more due diligence background checks on these young warriors prior to their enlistment? The paradoxes are abound. If the Orange County Marine, Ocampo, was to have applied for a disability claim based on PTSD, prior to his killing rampage, it would have likely been denied because of a pre-existing personality disorder condition. Yet we send them to war and make that very condition worsen to the point of cracking. The Catch-22 of all this would stun even Joseph Heller, the author.
Master Card does more homework than the Department of Defense. But we need numbers in the volunteer fighting force. Big numbers, were we to ever get entrapped into fighting on multiple fronts. Where will we find the future combatants? The Four Horseman of the GOP race suggest using illegal immigrants who are in search of citizenship. Is this the way of a proud sovereign nation that has spent the last 10 years demonizing undocumented workers who built 75% of the homes in the southwest?
Now they are good for cannon fodder because we are going to run out of volunteers who can pass background checks? Por mi Dios, what have we become?
Some 50,000 men and women will be returning to our neighborhoods in the next 6 months. 70% are healthy, holy, happy, proud and balanced veterans of war. Some 30% will be lacking the equanimity and oars to get them ashore in an economy that cannot take care of its existing work force. They are also entering the radio talk show America that is rife with angry polemic that nearly mimics the very cacophony from the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan. To us these endless paid for diatribes are freedom of speech. To the returning veteran they are called, “triggers.”
Who cares? Who in the neighborhood actually cares? Care with feet, not care with rhetoric?
The TucsonCitizen.com has provided a forum here for dialogue, outreach, and advice from fellow veterans. Most all the time it has remained in the category of helpful and guided toward betterment of the veterans condition.
But honestly, when you look at the statistics about our readers, as we get on a monthly basis, the community cares the most about, sports, Mexicans and guns, in that order.
The lip service given to, “Support the Troops,” is a sentiment that seems quite ephemeral. Meaningful for raising money for non-profits, but has little to do with the activity of daily living of most Americans. I have never in my life witnessed such a disconnect from soldiers and war.
Sure they are in the news and make for wonderful advertisements that touch our heartstrings, but who in the village is preparing for Johnnie and Joan when they coming marching home?
Two years ago there were a series of forums at Himmel Library, staffed by combat veterans, that focused on preparing the families of veterans who were transitioning. All of the presenters were published authors and all had struggled with the demons of war. What happened to these community forums? Has war so jaded us all that we are just flat worn out? Did T.S Elliot nail it by asking how much reality can humankind handle?
So where is my doubt? I doubt the efficacy and value of maintaining a blog, as an unpaid volunteer, that remains in the pantry of most Americans.
My gloom is not all pervasive. Veteran Veritas has for many a season been ranked in the top 25 of readers. We have have garnered many new followers and veterans from all over the United States , Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland.
My doubt stems from wondering if the publisher and owner of the Tucson Citizen, Gannett, cares. They provide absolutely no feedback to the contributors here. Curiously they are the owners of Military Times and USA Today, both of whom rely heavily on military readership. I was so naive as to think they might have sent us a Christmas card or something. A subscription to USA Today would be nice. Especially since they never leave enough in retail outlets.
At any rate, this online confessional of sorts for men and women of war, marches on with a desire to one day turn swords into plowshares and promulgate some sense of peace around the world, and offer some contentment inside the collective ranks of veterans who want to share their stories and struggles. The feedback I get from them is the only fuel that invigorates. Emails from Seattle to Tampa are what keep me tuned in. New pals who are veterans of the Army Special Forces in Great Britain are pretty buffed.
In the context of our Marine Corps motto and oath, “First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean…” I do not wane. A good Marine is always a peacekeeper first and will do what it takes to vanquish the evil forces on our planet. I wished it were different.
But I say again, my doubt is about the neutered, jaded, weary public that is rapidly acquiescing to corporate America and a war machine that has compromised its conscience and allowed itself to be more interested in Penn State pedophiles then men and women at war.
Our Editor Mark Evans has been great and always helpful. I expected more help from Gannett.
I will just lower my expectations and read the Sports page first, so as to be a regular American.