Honor the Veteran, Not the War
By Allen Meece
War is the descent into an evil hell accompanied by a pack of lies to camouflage the behavior of human beings when they're reduced to the level of bloodthirsty savage animals.
When a civilian forms a mental impression of the war, they can only visualize the official propaganda that enshrouds the real horror. Since they live far from the slaughter, they have no direct experience upon which to form an opinion so they have to believe the farce which the professional liars, government officials and corporate media, are representing as the war.
An old truism says, "The FIRST casualty of war is Truth and the second is Respect for Human Life." Therefore expect not to receive ANY usable, factual information about what is happening in the war. You have no basis to honor the war.
We can't know what's going on unless we're there, and even then, the power structure lies to the combatants about the big picture. Both warriors and civilians have no basis to respect the "news" that emerges from the owners who instigate war for power, fun, and profit. There is no real information upon which to base respect for any war.
The wars' owners hold ceremonies that drag out the old, gluey, words of fatal attraction like honor, sacrifice, noble, and brave. The truth is we were taken somewhere we didn't belong and had to fight our way back. We stuffed our fear and did not scream or run in circles because we knew that that would get us killed. We stayed calm and focused on our combat job like one cog in a hurt machine.
My destroyer, the USS Edwards, which was in the third Tonkin Gulf incident in September of 1964, was within ten miles of of a North Vietnamese shore installation and spied with electronic eaves-dropping equipment. I saw it on the radar. Our warship dared them to attack us. We, the crew, weren't told where we were or that our lives were being put in danger. We were awakened in the middle of the night by the General Quarters gong and had to shoot enemy sailors who had legitimate boundaries to protect.
The "Stars and Stripes," a propaganda rag that masquerades as a newspaper, called it "an unprovoked attack on the high seas on US naval vessels." We were nominated for a unit commendation medal for the way we defended ourselves. We almost got a pretty ribbon for fighting well when the truth was we didn't belong there and shouldn't have had to kill other sailors for doing their job. A ribbon for a lie.
But us sailors were idealistically defending democracy. That's what we were told and we believed it because we were young. It's okay to honor us because we meant well and risked our lives and took some lives to protect other lives.
Fifty-eight thousand American lives later, Vietnam is one of our "most favored trading nations." They're still a socialist country which helped lift them from the poverty of exploitative colonialism. The war needn't have happened at all. The young soldiers and sailors meant well and and it cost us plenty. Honor us for that but curse the war and pity those who demanded it. They are still with us and they will never learn from their atrocities. Resist their power today.
Allen Meece was a sonar technician on the USS Edwards in 1964 and has written a novella about a Tonkin Gulf incident called "The Abel Mutiny" available at Amazon.com.