Posted November 11, 2007

Reprinted from Whole Number 19
of The Last Ditch, December 19, 1997


Serving up our freedom


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Another Veterans Day came and went in November, and we were treated to the usual blandiloquous praises of the American military and the noble soldiers who fought for our country and sacrificed to preserve our liberty.

I demand a recount.

It is a commonplace that the greatest ratchets-up of state power occur during times of war and military enthusiasm, and that, once military urgency has passed, state power does not subside to its previous level of intrusiveness. Powers may be curtailed, but they are not lost; and even those that are lost do not equal in number or extent those that came into existence during war.

The great verb that soldiers love to use and apply to themselves is "serve." It is time for all soldiers — from the brass to the grunts — to ask themselves what the direct object of that verb is. If it is their activity that forms a major excuse for restricting the liberties of their countrymen, whose liberties are never fully recovered, then they are certainly not serving their countrymen's liberties. They are not even defending them. They are, in fact, instrumental in destroying them. That instrumentality may not be deliberate — a given soldier may have been a hapless conscript or a propagandized volunteer, after all — but in retrospect, surely, the truth should not be difficult to see.

In this sense the outrage many people feel about the denigration of the military by the current [Bill Clinton] regime is entirely appropriate: since it was the military that made possible the great megastate — this monstrous insult to human liberty and dignity that the Permanent Regime now governs — the regime should surely feel some gratitude to the soldiers who helped build it. It would be entirely appropriate for the ruling class to take their creatures in the Clinton regime aside and set them straight. Ingratitude, after all, is a particularly ugly failing.

American veterans must face the facts. I understand that, for conscripts, they are hurtful facts, but they are facts nonetheless: you did not serve your country; you helped destroy it. Whether you were in the world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any of countless other incursions, you did not defend your country, for it was in no danger. The only danger our liberties (and yours) were in was posed by the tyrants and their cat's paws you took your orders from. You did not serve your country's interests; you served those of the Permanent Regime, who had no greater care for your lives and liberty than they have for a kangaroo rat ... ooops, it would have to be less than that, wouldn't it?

It's bad enough that people who volunteer for the military are actually prepared to take orders from men they have never met and can have no reason to trust. It's bad enough that they don't even turn around and leave when it turns out that the orders are going to originate with the likes of Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. It's bad enough that soldiers actually carry out reprehensible and dishonorable orders. And it's bad enough that many of them continue to suck at the public teat when they finally return home to honest labor and could, if they were so inclined, distance themselves from the hideous machine.

But please, lay off the flaunted pride. Have a little compassion for the neighbors and friends whose liberties you helped tromp underfoot. Recognize that you suffered and that your buddies were maimed and killed while serving dishonorable and tyrannical ends. Learn to live with that and don't insult the rest of us by talking of defending freedom. I don't ask that you actually be ashamed of what happened to you while you served ruling-elite tyrants and predators, or even for what you may have done at their behest. But please don't ask us to honor you for having done it.

In fact, the conscripts among you, rather than be ashamed, might well be among the angriest of all Americans. Let it be for that anger that we honor you.

Posted November 11, 2007

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