Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Price of War Revisited

The Price of War and Who Pays It?

Ed Note: This piece came in to VetSpeak by e-mail, and I believe that given the recent topical direction of the Obama & McCain campaigns, needs to be brought, once again, to the attention of the American voters, as an example of a real political consideration or priority, rather than the vote pandering spectacle that we have going on today and that is centered on media hype and race. It is my belief that where the candidates stand on the topic of the below piece, by Randy Ludacer, would be much more instructive than what the media is feeding us now. WH

What a filthy, disgusting business is war; always in the final analysis, the product of competing ideologies, its result is the slaughter of the innocents, the butchery of its young men, very young men, who rarely fully grasp an understanding of the dogmas for whom their lives are forfeit. The war lovers are rarely men who have experienced war first hand. They thank you for your service and say they support the troops but they really mean they support the war. They support the prolongation of the war as if this somehow demonstrates their patriotism and justifies your sacrifice.

On days devoted to memorial people speak of the purpose, the nobility of sacrifice. Yet young soldiers are not in the business of sacrifice. They strive for survival as they are subjected to the sweat of fear, the stink of the blood, cordite and excrement of their slaughtered comrades, those cut to pieces by shrapnel and bullets, blown to bits by explosives. Their sacrifice comes from protecting one another, taking risks for their comrades, not in the service of a noble cause. Their young lives are taken from them without their consent to being sacrificed, their dreams and promise being snuffed out by newer and more deadly technologies as mankind supposedly achieves progress.

On these occasions sanctimonious politicians applaud their service ...mouth platitudes and decorate the graves with flowers and flags,never having witnessed the mindless ugliness of their passing, never having shared their sense of loss and the blind hopelessness of the business of slaughter. The most soaring rhetoric comes from those who have not seen lines of body bags being loaded into helicopters or blood flowing from comrades newly created stumps, their severed limbs lying in the mud. They have never witnessed a wounded man dying in mid sentence as he bled out.

The survivors with shattered bodies are persuaded as to the necessity and nobility of their crippling and are expected to feel grateful for their prosthetics and penurious pensions and grudgingly granted education benefits and under staffed VA clinics.

And somehow, after the killing and crippling of our children there is ultimately a reconciliation, a forgiveness, as if our competing ideologies were not irreconcilable, that after all in the spirit of compromise and humanity we can sort out the differences and agree to get along at least until the next righteous crusade or jihad takes shape. Until then business as usual.

In the meanwhile, we glorify the dead for their noble sacrifice and marginalize the survivors with their shattered bodies, nightmares and damaged futures.

Such is the nobility of war !

Randy Ludacer
Lake Placid FL