Thursday, January 10, 2013

Save our Veterans, save our nation

There are many issues and aspects of the current state of America that can only be labeled as Totally Fucked-Up; our military being one of the larger, more costly and problematic of these.

Now the industrial military complex could be lambasted at endless length, and it could be conceivably used for helping people. And that's what I'm concerned about right here and now, the human element of the United States Military.

It's no secret that those who have served, especially in combat situations, can often have a difficult experience returning to what is dubbed as "civilian life." This is also extremely easy to see why. The thing that boggles my mind is why it seems that nobody wants to tackle this obvious issue in a rational, productive way.

Okay, first... before we just start tossing possible solutions like "just throw more money at the V.A. system," it is important to look at what has happened here. I would also like to add that I have never been in any form of service. I have only known several people of various ages, genders, generations and levels of service and number of tours. I understand that there is a historical argument for the military and so on and so on, but it can really mess people up.

Why is that? Well, let's start at boot camp. Boot camp, as I understand, is far more psychological than physical. Yes, a degree of physical fitness is required... but that's the easy part. The mental conditioning that occurs is the real key. The idea is that you have to break a motherfucker down into all the little pieces of him or herself, then select only the parts you want to keep, and build the machine you desire  by assembling and reinforcing only the bits best suited to preform the task you want it to. Endless repetitive drills, extreme situations, pushing the body to limits so the mind reassembles itself to function in new ways akin to a level of autopilot, but within the strict parameters set by sergeants and military code, as well as to function - not as an individual, rather as part of a larger whole, to be interdependent with the group, the team. And I will try and not call a spade a spade and refrain from using the "ugly" term of brainwashing. Instead, I will bite my tongue and use the more politically correct lexicon conditioning. 

So, now that you have this well oiled and conditioned group of human machines, who (unless they have grown up in the poorest sections of our biggest cities) have not even the faintest concept of life an active war zone. So now you pile on the fear. And the uncertainty. Now these are the least desirable mental states of being alive... Why else would the be an insurance industry?

And for the entire length of a term (however long that is these days??? 6 months? a year? two? four?) The only protections the individual mind has from constant uncertainty and fear are it's fellow soldiers and routine... granted there are "breaks;" phone calls, letters, down time, shenanigans, leave, etc... but it's not really a "break" because the rest of the team isn't there, the war is still going on, the enemy is still out there...

Add to this madness the insanity of telling these soldiers that despite being trained to fight and kill, they are on a humanitarian mission. Which is not to say that there is no positive to that, especially to the individual, but it does seem like an awful contradiction to wrestle with. Especially so when you factor in what is being referred to now as "green-on-blue." I don't remember if there was a catchy name for it during the Vietnam War, but the concept is nothing new, being attacked but the people you are on a mission to help.

So boot camp sucks and war is hell, well hooray! your papers came through and you're shipping home! That's it. Maybe a little debriefing along the way but fuck you if you think anyone is gonna take the time to do any sort of transition much less and deprogramming... To the best of my knowledge you basically just get dumped back into that thing called "civilian life..."

Wouldn't it be nice if there could be some sort of option for a transitional program? If there was just some way that these men and women could have the choice to join some sort of "domestic" unit, where they could still have the structure and stability and camaraderie that they were surrounded by and dependent on for the past however long... What if there was a job to do that was both physical, necessary, and could provide that same sense of purpose as nation building?

Oh, how about nation building? I can think of a place close to home that needs a ton of work which would be ideal for a skilled and efficient team... AMERICA! It's no secret that most of this country's infrastructure is in disrepair... and needs some serious upgrading... Waterways, bridges, the energy sector, these are all in need of replacement!!! Now, this is not meant as a jab at service men and women, but rather a practical option for everyone. These are hard jobs for all levels of skilled workers. The option to work with other soldiers at a task that requires the drive and skill of a military unit, and at the end of the day or on weekends they can return to home... there is minimal risk for the individuals involved (no one would be trying to shoot or bomb them)... they can earn a good wage for a day's worth of work... and the country that is collapsing out from underneath itself gets rebuilt... it's a win-win for everyone... that's something I could justify defense spending for... make levees, not war/ build bridges not bombs... that kind of thing...

Just a thought.

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