Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

VETERANS DAY 2020

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Veterans Day, 2020. One knows people are being hosed if there’s a day set up to honor them. Hosed, used, manipulated, whatever. America has fetishized war, the military, and veterans. Basically one or two days a year, and in other silly ways (I get veterans parking, woohoo!) America “lauds” its veterans. The other 365 days a year they send them to die in colonial wars whose only purpose is politics or corporate profits. The last war America fought to “defend our freedoms” was World War Two, and even it has caveats. Every veteran after that fought to make some president look good or promote the American Empire.

So yeah fellow veteran dudes and dudettes, your service is appreciated. With the exception of WW2 vets, a few of which may still be reading this, you got duped. I served myself, joined with high ideals, found I’d joined a deeply misogynistic muslim-hating gang whose mission was to travel around the world and murder people. I was disillusioned to say the least, though if I had it to all do over again, I would have joined the army instead of the USMC and served 20 or 30 years. Life is complicated. And I did meet some great people in the service.

Hell, I was a Nazi bigot before I joined the service. Actually living and working with people of all faiths, colors, etc., I learned “A**holes come in all colors.” We had four drill instructors in basic training. Two white, two black. First guy, black guy, can’t remember his name. He was something else, mean mofo, the only DI (drill instructor) that physically abused me, he started kicking me one day because my push ups weren’t up to his standards. No big deal though. The other privates (recruits) connected with him. He didn’t last, showed up drunk one night while off duty and got into a fistfight with a private. He got replaced, I wish him the best.

The Senior Drill Instructor, white guy, Staff Sergeant Sisk (weird what details one remembers from four decades ago,) was a good guy but ill suited to be a Drill Instructor. OK guy though. I’d have a beer with him if I ever ran across him. 3rd DI. Black fellow. Dumb, as in modest IQ black guy from rural Georgia. Vietnam Vet. Sergeant Allen. And he was a Marine to the bone, probably the most Marinest Marine I ever met. If he had your back, you were covered. One of the most impressive human beings I ever had the privilege of knowing.

Last guy, white fellow, Canadian like me. He was a sick fuck. He liked hurting the privates. IE he liked hurting people. His one trick I remember was to bend people’s fingers back to the point of excruciating pain. He was a sadist. And he got brought down. We were very much taught to overlook excesses in the name of taking one for the team. Hazing was OK, like the guy kicking me. What this guy was doing was beyond hazing. Some officers showed up one day and asked us if any of the accusations against him were true. People spoke up, and he was gone.

Bigotted as I was, it sunk in that somebody’s skin color tells one nothing about how cool they are, or aren’t. And pretty much everything in my life since has reinforced that. People are people, some good, most OK, a few a**holes. And only getting to know them will tell which is which. So I applaud the service and how it can be good for people’s personal growth all else aside. (Aside: My fantasy zombie apocalypse team is diverse as fuck.)

And that’s where my thinking sat for decades. I wasn’t wrong. There’s another layer though. Sargent Allen told us a bit about Vietnam. He’d volunteered with two friends on a buddy program, where they all went through basic training and their first post together. One of them was killed. Allen told us the story, firefight, his friend got carried away, was shouting “I can see them, I can see them!” while standing and shooting. Actually being able to see the enemy is unusual in modern warfare. His last words, since if he could see them, they could see him. Sargent Allen even showed us pics of his friend’s body or body bag.

And this is where it gets ugly. Sargent Allen said that after that, on every patrol, him and his surviving buddy made sure they killed at least one local. That’s called a war crime. It’s called murder. One of the coolest and most honorable dudes I ever met, by his own admission, was a serial killer. And he got away with it because he was fighting in a war. How the hell does one process something like that?

War is bad. That’s all I got. Stay safe everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: That’s me. 1978? Credit and copyright: No idea. Probably a government photographer, in which case Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 11, 2020 at 9:13 pm

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