Why Do We Do This?

Back in the 60's, when I was draft age, the country's ruling elite picked an unnecessary fight with a small, primative country that couldn't have presented a threat to the United States if aliens had chopped Vietnam from the planet and thrown it at us from space. That "war" was simply an opportunity for the corrupt characters in the military-industrial complex to milk the nation's wealth for their own benifit. There was no more reason for the Vietnam War than that simple, evil, corrupt, selfish motivation. It was a perfect example of what happens to a nation when the worst people on earth are given the power to control the nation's actions.

Because humans are their own best evidence that there is no basis for imagining an "intelligent designer," we make this sort of moronic mistake in electing and following "leaders" over and over again. In fact, it has happened so many times, in so many places, for so long that it would take an army of historians to roughly document the number of times it has happened in the last century. Almost universally, it would be best for every person in every country to assume that when someone rises upon his hind legs waving a flag or a weapon shouting, "Follow me!" that everyone else turns and runs the opposite direction. If we can manage that, maybe grabbing our own weapons and shooting that character is the best we can do. Especially when it comes to war, the people who most want to lead are exactly the people who shouldn't be allowed near leadership.

For some reason, this past couple of weeks I've been close to a bit of the end results of our latest charge into wartime stupidity: the kids who return home from this exercise in evil. I am ashamed for my country, myself, and the rest of you. What we have done to these kids is unforgivable. What we will do to them is worse.

I wasn't aware enough to understand what I was seeing back in 1966, but I know I see today. When a nation sends its children off to kill or be killed, both those who die and those who come back are damaged, permanently. When a nation desperately wants to pretend that there is something patriotic about killing random "insurgents" (a word the British once applied to American revolutionaries) we are pissing on reality and hoping our children won't smell the results. Old people have deadened senses and can often ignore all sorts of foul odors and ugly sights, but kids see and smell and identify those things with clarity. The way to create mindless, soulless adults is to tell kids that a pile of crap is really a bouquet of roses often enough that they can't tell one from the other.

These poor kids coming back from the hell we’ve created in Iraq and Afghanistan are, at the least, wounded and, at the most, ruined. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. The things they have seen and done would turn cowards like Bush and Cheney into quivering catatonic balls of jelly. But people like Bush and Little Dick never have to suffer the consequences of their own greed and incompetence. The advantage of being an elite is that someone else always pays the tab. Foolish George has expected the rest of us to solve his problems for his entire life and Little Dick would chew the meat off of his own children’s bones if he felt a pang of hunger.

I once wrote that I believe voting twice for Bush and Cheney was evidence that a voter is too stupid to be allowed to vote again. I have to modify that. Honestly, I believe that having voted to any Republican in the last 25 years, and about 75% of the Democrats running for office in the last 10 years, is evidence that a voter is too stupid to be a citizen in a democracy. Too many of the people who run for office in this mess we’ve allowed our country to become are unfit for leadership at any level.

Conservatives, especially conservatives advocating war, have been wrong about practically every important issue in every decade since the founding of this country and, I would imagine, every issue in the history of organized society. It seems obvious that one should, at least, be wary of the opinions of those who represent the status quo. Personally, I assume that claiming to be “conservative” is a statement of near-perfect stupidity and I do my best to avoid stupid people.

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