…ing an eternal Call of Duty game across every continent that you can check in on when you’re bored. You’re using the troops just as surely as our leaders are. You are thanking them for a service that you have the freedom to gleefully ignore. You are eternally grateful to them for keeping us safe. Safe from what? Safe from whom, exactly?
How easy it is to say thank you for your service, but when vets present with PTSD, or speak their truth about what really happens in the fox holes and the supply closets, boy do folks back away. There is an enormous cost, not just what you speak to but also with the command and control structure where rank is everything. And everything means EVERYTHING.
There are few things more horrifically helpless than having to show up for a psychiatric session with a senior officer because you’ve been ordered to. Said Dr is assigned to help you deal with sexual assauts. Said doctor, who has your entire future in your hands, is a rapist. So you show up for your “treatment,” knowing that as an enlisted woman, in the early 1970s, you can do nothing.
And not much has changed. Yet we as a country continue to call all our service people heroes, when far too many of us have been brutalized by those very people. I can’t begin to address how the demand to brutalize other countries might feed the need to cascade that shit downhill, but that’s got to be part of the issue. That doesn’t forgive the behavior. But when we demand that humans kill humans, who have every and equal right to the air and food and water and potential for joy that we do, then we carve the humanity out of all of us.
Difficult, terrible issues. I don’t have any answers. Just plenty of questions.