I have been sort of barraged by A) reading a great book by a friend on Film Noir and B)re-watching "The War" by Ken burns and by knowing a bit about the current situation because my cousin deals with it.
It doesn't make the news much and the numbers of troops aren't as great but we are at war. The country isn't "mobilized" and the press doesn't cover it much but we do have young men and women who are going through the same kind of hell that the "troops" went through in WWII.
You may not agree with why they are there, I'm with you on that one. But that is a political issue. For the troops, who also may not agree with why we are there, they are just there.
It is a war and we as a nation should be more supportive. Not of the politicians who either put us there or didn't stop us from going there but of the young men and women who are there. They didn't make the decisions they in many cases were in effect drafted. Many are national guard. They were never supposed to leave our soil. They were supposed to be the folks who went into places like New Orleans and helped in times of national stress. But folks who don't have to go let them go to an actual war zone. A place where people die everyday because it IS a war.
These folks are not given the respect and support they deserve. Either from the population as a whole OR the government that, well tricked them into going where they never should be. Even the real troops, the actual military folks who one could argue signed up for the possibility of being sent to a war zone. Because the congress in their collective ... um gutlessness? Not sure of the right word here, never declared war.
So nobody over there gets combat benefits. You hear about the "war on terror" or the "war on drugs" or the war on whatever. But the fact is that through political posturing they have all played like they are at war but never had the guts to actually declare war on anything.
So our, and they are our - wether you agree with the mission or not, troops do not get ANY of the benefits and support that all of our troops have gotten in all other wars. The survivors don't get medical, the families don't get survivors benefits, etc. They are even cutting the GI bill.
It's a bloody crime.
It may be a "fake" war but on the ground it doesn't make any difference. It's very real if folks are shooting at you.
This isn't a partisan stance. Bush may have foisted this on us but the Dems could have made it "real". By not doing so they have left a generation in the wind. There are a lot of people coming back with all the typical war issues, and hey have NO support. Their jobs are not still available, they do not get the medical help they need. And all of us look the other way and hope it will all go away.
It wont. The suicide rate among new veterans is staggering. It turns out that they get an insurance premium if they die within six months but their extra "return pay" lasts less than that. So it actually pays to off ourself in the gap. With no job prospects and families in the lurch this turns out to be a "positive" option for way too many folks. That and "stop loss" that returns folks who should be home for an indeterminate number of redeployments is a powerful motivator for people who just need it to stop.
Indeterminate sentences (a California thing till it was decided that it was unconstitutional) is the standard for the unfortunates that have gotten swept up into this "war".
It just struck me kind of hard because these folks are in the first "your in for the duration" situation since WWII and they are not even in a "war". They are getting all the bad parts of a real war with out any of the support and compensation that they would be getting if we were actually in a declared war. It is in a very real sense a film noir world that was only on the screen before. It's dark and it's awful. It saves money in veterans benefits but what does it cost?
It sort of comes down to do we need an army or a national guard? As pacifist as I am I'm not stupid and I think the answer is yes we do need those groups. We need a military and there are going to be national disasters and so we should have a national guard. If we want them we have to treat them like we want them. I can't imagine anyone going into either right now. Well not if they knew the raw deal they would be getting.
So personally, aside from it being the right thing to do, I think we NEED to deal with this travesty. These folks are at war because OUR representatives sent them there and they should be treated as such. They should get the same benefits and compensation as all other combat troops have gotten. And the national guard should NOT be deployed off our shores.
Yes it will cost some. But that is the nature of war! If we don't want to pay the price then fine, Bring the Troops HOME.
Right now our troops are paying a heavy price for congress having "plausible deniability".
Personally I'm in favor of both. Bring them home AND retroactively give them all combat troop status and benefits.
Personally I don't think they should have gone in the first place but that wasn't THEIR decision and they should not be paying for it.
This is a very bipartisan SNAFU so feel free to contact your representative and congressman and get them to own up. Neither side of the isle has "manned up" to this issue.
Next time I promise to return to Detroit happenings.