By Dana Levy
I was drafted into the US Army in 1966 and my (our) country seems to have been at war ever since. I was sent to Germany after my training in Basic and AIT as a soldier and order taker because my next older brother (drafted 2 months ahead of me) was in Korea. The benevolent country of the USA wouldn’t send two brothers to a war zone at the same time back then.
We (this includes us all) don’t have such a policy any more and it is every man–whether young or old– for himself, not to mention the many women involved now. My supposition is that the new policy stems from the fact that we now have an all volunteer military. I only did two years in the service to my country and it is still constantly always right under the surface of my thoughts and actions.
What always bothered me most and still does today is that those who had more time left to serve after surviving Viet Nam were sent to Germany to do the rest of their enlistment and served with me, had a look in their eyes that distinguished them from all other people that I ever met. And those returning from today’s wars, who saw the same inhuman events occurring, have the same expressions.
I don’t think the warriors (reluctant or not) that I saw then and those that I see today, who actually experienced the violence, fear, carnage, and devastation caused by going to foreign lands to wage deathful war up close and personal can ever regain their prior self esteem and personal internal peace to the level it was before all the terrible experiences were thrust upon them.
The effects of the never ending wars have extracted an incalculable toll on our population and it shows up both in all our financial and political decisions as a nation. One can only wonder where we might actually be now as a country if we had only slightly refrained from policing the world and kept more to ourselves and let others fight their own battles to their desired conclusions.
With the current legacy of the Middle East conflicts from as far back as the Carter/Bush 1/ Bush 2/ and now Obama eras leaving us both unsatisfied and perennially uncompleted, it is time to reflect this Veterans Day on the current policies of our nation and endeavor to create a scenario in which the madness will eventually stop for both sides in all our conflicts.
Ever since WWII ended (we have never “won” a war since then), and even that victory still seems to have solved nothing (however unavoidable our participation was after Pearl Harbor), war must not be the alternative to any type of a more peaceful resolution that doesn’t involve the actually sending of our troops to foreign lands to solve other people’s problems. We seem to never pick the right “other side” to support anyway so without our soldiers facing being squandered in futile efforts to bend the wrong minded antagonists to our way of thinking,or to whom to pray, we will be miles ahead by never sending them abroad again.
And lastly, the ease of “droning” and fighting from afar is no solution. The potential for the expansion of fighting around the world is ever looming in front of us. So we must endeavor to curtail our violence begets violence reactions to go to war unless it is the LAST resort, not just the most expedient or emotionally satisfying thing at the time.
More actual US soldiers have died than all those civilians killed on 9/11 since that event occurred, while trying to solve the unsolvable problems in the regions of the Middle East. And that doesn’t even come close to addressing the tens of thousands physically wounded and maimed, or the other tens of thousands scarred for life mentally and emotionally (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of family members also devastated by the carnage).
We are no further ahead in achieving our goals today than we were all the way back to the Iranian Hostage crisis days. There must be another way and we must find it if we are to survive into the future as a nation! Renewed determination is called for and a new direction is required of us all to create an atmosphere where the solutions by our military personnel to the problems are not costly in human sacrifices and achieve our desired communal purposes.