SAME AS IT EVER WAS

Has anyone else watched this clip of Mrs. Clinton react to the assassination of former Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi? In the clip Secretary Clinton had just received the news of his overthrow to which she quips, “we came, we saw, we killed him” with a sinister laugh better suited to a Mafia Don. Does anyone honestly question our legal authority in participating in the coup d’état? Do we hear any serious media inquiry challenging the narrative coming from NATO by way of The Pentagon, The State Department and the White House? Even today the story goes largely unchallenged by the mainstream media and often parroted by even more liberal leaning publications such as The Nation magazine, which was that Qaddafi had imminent plans to “massacre” the people of Benghazi for their public assembly and protests. Sounds like bullshit to me? The more salient question in my opinion would be: Even if Benghazi was soon to be confronted by Qaddafi’s forces, what does this have to do with NATO intelligence, surveillance and air-power?

It seems to me that this incident flies in the face of two held beliefs post Iraq War? One, that the media learned its lesson after its complete collapse during the build up to war in Iraq, and two, the our government had learned its lesson after deposing a dictator in Iraq without adequate plans to fill the remaining power vacuum. So I call bullshit again.

And now we are plowing ahead with the same tired, old, disastrous strategy in Syria. For the life of me I cannot find the logic in the plan? The only answer, from my perspective, is that the chaos is what those pulling the trigger wanted all along? If you consider the benefits of such as policy it’s not very difficult to make the leap to my conclusions. My conclusion is as simple as it is disgusting. The chaos and madness taking place halfway around the world benefits the military, the intelligence community, and those who provide arms and services to those political establishments. As the scholar Noam Chomsky has pointed out on several occasions the past 15 years: “when war is this profitable, we are going to see a lot more of it.”

The last thing I’ll point out as I wrap this ultimately meaningless conversation up is the drift towards a new Cold War 2.0 with Russia. Beginning with the expansion of NATO up to the borders of Russian territory, breaking assurances made to the Russian Government in the early 90’s, to the diplomatic support of forces within the Ukrainian government to overthrow the democratically elected, Russia friendly administration of Yanakovich in 2013, to the economic sanctions and saber nuclear saber-rattling continuing today, there are forces at work intently “poking the bear,” a Russian State capable of our destruction. These things are interrelated and should be scary as hell.

Yet, here we are. The media seemingly clueless to the broader political goals and there possible consequences. A media wagged with ease by the Pentagon and Executive, producing single sided journalism the envy of most any other country with state-run media services. “Russia bad…America exceptional,” never considering the mood or consternation of foreign populations in response to American hypocrisy. All this static produces an American public that’s ill-informed and frightened by what might be under the bed instead of confronting the intruder at the unlocked front door. A public with a completely irrational fear of “terrorists,” yet seemingly oblivious to Nation State Nuclear War?

In 1913 the citizens of Europe could not even dream of a new, Nation State, World War until the canons began firing across the countryside of Belgium and France. In 1920 the world had emerged from the war to end all wars only to once again burn 19 years later. Ask the ordinary man or woman on a street in America about World War III and they’d laugh. That’s a thing of the past…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofit Corporation: Oxymoron?

If I could be granted one simple wish before leaving this world, it would be that I had somehow captured on paper the genesis of this sadness and grief I endlessly suffer. I so want to leave an expression of my frustration and guilt that one day, a long-lost friend or loved relative might read and somehow “get it,” somehow comprehend the level of internal, immutable struggle. Leaving this world behind vacant of that record, ironically, or paradoxically, as it were, bends my will ever so slightly to live, if only in hopes of discovering those words.

That conversation aside, the present nature of things, politically speaking, have sunken to depths I’d otherwise assumed impossible. Can it really be true that our, some might say, “great society” has been lost to a celebrity worshiping, dumbed down, get rich quick ethos so prevalent that a buffoon the likes of Donald Trump could actually be elected the President of the United States? Could it be that I surrendered my future to fight for an America that can name more Kardashian’s than Supreme Court justices? -a recent poll finds that 81% of Trump supporters and 65% of Clinton supporters could not name even 1 current SCOTUS judge- As a white male growing up in America, the concept of “white privilege,” in retrospect at least, was supremely evident. Yet, could I have actually brought myself to enlist in 2001 to fight for a country that is, in fact, so prejudice to nominate a man like Donald Trump as the GOP contender for POTUS? Why would anyone in their right mind volunteer to fight on behalf of a nation -at least halfway around the world- so divided at home, for the idea of another’s freedom elsewhere? 

I actually like Donald Trump. What I do not care for, what I find depressing and pernicious, is the simple fact that I fought for a country, suffered, experienced others suffering, put friends in body bags even, that considers Trump suited for the job Commander-in-Chief. Can there be anything worse on a spiritual level than to discover your sacrifices were not only unnecessary, but harmful? That this man speaks to an electorate so many have given so much to protect, is disheartening and jarring. My guilt is such that no amount of time will ever heal the burden. The realization that not only did my service harm fellow human being’s so irrevocably, but that it produced a sense of righteousness within those perpetrating the ongoing tragedy, squeezes me so tightly within, that finding air to breathe becomes ever more difficult. Not only did I temporarily prop up the madness, I lost my future to its pervasive continuance.

As a person, I don’t like Hillary Clinton. As a politician I find her deplorably acceptable in a moment of terrible strain. Unlike Trump in his role as a politician exposing the worst in our society, Hillary represents the worst of our political system at large. “Stronger Together?” Not unlike her campaign in general, her meaningless slogan represents her largest flaw, which from my perspective is: Does she want to be president because that’s what’s next, so to speak, because if I were asked, I couldn’t tell you why she wants to be the next POTUS? So Donald Trump isn’t? This truth is overlooked largely by the media, yet I believe it heavily represents her seeming inability to brush The Donald aside, as I suspect many other Democratic candidates would quite easily. Comparing herself to Trump when pressured to explain her own actions comes across as mealy-mouthed and cynical. 

There is a difference between Veteran’s of WWII and the Vietnam War. Much of that static seems to me related to the feelings of guilt and shame I, and many other War on Terror vets live with. Not only did we encounter the loss, stress, confusion and pain of war, but many of us discover the fight was fought on some big lies and manipulation. WWII Vets could/can at least find solace in the fact that their sacrifices were made for the greater good. That they suffered in truth, sacrificed in the name of justice. Sure, PTSD was common throughout the community of WWII Vets, however, the process of healing was amplified through the lens of righteousness. A simplistic opinion, maybe, but not necessarily incorrect.

I’d like to add more to this essay later, for now I must sign off and try to recollect my thoughts. But if I don’t make it back, it’s important for me to express one final thought: I don’t blame anyone for my condition, despite the possibility my words could be interpreted as so. My decision to jump into this war was made voluntarily and within the context of my historical knowledge of the world. I did it to myself….and maybe that’s what hurts the most? I wish I could take it back. I want to heal so badly. The reality is that I’m so lost, so broken and bent, that I will not. Good night- 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introspection: #Veteran

I’ve been thinking about atonement and absolution, alone, in the darkest hours of my night. How can you be forgiven if you are unable, or unwilling, as it were, to absolve yourself of those cloudy shadings of corrupted immorality? Does writing about this guilt and shame, shared with few, yet available to many, chip away at the past? In public I hide the flames destroying my future, therefor, I am nothing but a forgery, a future skeleton of a once polished soul. I care. I think I care, at least?

A great friend and passing lover of mine had a favorite idiom she quoted to me from time to time: “the people you see on the way up, are the same people you’ll see on the way down.” Of course it’s not entirely meant to be literal, however, I have experienced just that very thing a few times; on the way down, that is.

Beyond my minuscule self and as a matter of the macro world, this piece of advice could apply to our Nation’s foreign policy, not as it is propagandized, but rather, how it is carried out in fact. The way our government as policy has walked over the 3rd World post-WWII -of course there is prior examples, e.g, Spanish American War- will eventually reap what we’ve sown. No better example is that of our deference to Israel and its relationship to the Palestinian people and their legitimate fight for living space. More specifically, our support of Christian Nation’s and autocratic regimes on our way up, will undoubtedly cause great harm, as our dominance eventually wanes. 

I feel it in my bones. I understand that my opinions are of no tangible consequence. It simply feels important for me to be on record in regards to the many mistakes, stretching from the macro state to the micro self. I’m ashamed for the role I played in prosecuting these unjust policy goals. I try to get into the minds of Veteran’s from the distant past, hoping to understand some of their struggles. It seems Smedley Butler, a career Marine of the early 20th Century and 2 time Medal of Honor recipient, expressed a similar disillusionment with US foreign policy post military when he said, I will paraphrase: “that Al Capone had nothing on me. Our job was to protect the corporate interests of politically connected businesses operating throughout the 3rd world. We promoted Democracy at end of a gun, making sure those elected were amicable to the monied interest of Wall Street banker’s.” For that torrent of honesty, the one time hero was systematically destroyed through the use of propaganda, missing his deserved appointment as Marine Commandant, eventually silenced and marginalized by a public unwilling to hear the truth. I’m far from Mr. Butler in all meaningful accomplishment, yet I feel a kindred spirit and understand his truth.

I have so much love for my fellow brother’s and sister’s suffering in silent with the battlefields of mortality and immorality burning within. We should all strive for a better world and the ability to forgive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Not Kid Yourself

The self-righteous indignation spewing from the lips of Democratic Party loyalists over the Donald’s comments regarding the Khan family makes me laugh. Of course Trump is a disgrace to the country, to Vets and their families, but let’s not confuse political showmanship with actual empathy. You do not need to travel far back in time -2005-06 in fact- to dredge up a similarly offensive position espoused by the so-called liberals. I’ll get to that public shaming in a second. First let’s consider the chanting battles at this years convention in Philadelphia. While some in the crowd chanted “no more war” during some speakers time on stage, -a pretty standard liberal position going back 100 years at least- an even larger, louder group of democrats drowned the chant out with “USA, USA, USA!” Not exactly the sort of chant that brings the idea of peace to the world, a position most effective in preventing even more combat veteran’s joining the community henceforth.

Have we already forgotten the Cindy Sheehan story? For the brave, yet simple act of protest in the wake of her son losing his life serving in Iraq, she was roundly flogged by heavy hitters in both parties. So this idea that George Bush treated her with respect, while letting the hounds loose behind the scenes, is utter and complete bullshit. For her troubles, standing vigil outside of the Bush compound in Texas, she was dismissed in politics, as well as in the media, as a nut-job, narcissistic wife and follower of Bin Laden. Sure, some Democrat’s used her for political purposes, -i.e., to get elected- yet she was never treated with empathy. Sounds familiar?

Just a thought on a hot Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

Vet Love

Rainy days like today make me sad. Sunny days, that direct heat blasting through the cars window, irritates me more often than not. So basically what I’m saying is: I’m a miserable motha-fucka. It’s this never ending raw nerve that walls me off from family and friends, hoping to solve a spiritual problem with geography, I feel myself disintegrating. The best I can do is cram my eyes and ears full of meaningless candy and picture, so as not to disrupt this perfect imbalancing act. In simple metaphor it’s this: many years ago I started packing shit into a garbage bag that I carry everywhere I go. You might ask; what’s wrong and what’s that smell? Oh, that’s just my bag of shit I refuse -refuse, is it?- I refuse to let go of or put down. The bag just keeps getting heavier and smellier and stickier and closer. It’s my bag of shit though.

What’s that law of physics? An unstoppable force meets an unmovable object: what happens? A time will come soon where I either leave the bag behind somehow or finally drown in the stench and foulness of it all. Reality is both true and false at once. A paradox I suppose? Will I look back one day at this stretch of pain and wonder how I could have let life squeeze me so hard when escape was so evident? Or will I reach an apex, a destination, and ask myself why I held on so tight for so long?

Some wounds cut just a little too deep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAR: ON TERROR & FREEDOM?

I’ve never told anyone the particulars of this story outside of my grandfather, a WWII & Korean War Veteran, who passed away in 2013 at the age 91. In the spring of 2002 upon completion of my initial training with the US Army I was intigrated into a light infantry battalion and almost immediately deployed to Afghanistan to join my new unit. It all happened so fast, -I’d enlisted in September 2001- I didn’t have a chance to really feel anything up to that point beyond just not trying to fuck up. It was frightening, no question, but it was a fear of failure and not the fear of combat. That would come soon enough. It may have never really left me, in fact?

Our Platoon was at that time designated a quick reaction force, or QRT. The first mission beyond the wire for me turned out to have historical meaning, though this was far from our minds at the time. The mission was in support of a special forces unit who had come across a hostile compound of enemy al Qaeda forces. After a foreign interpreter was killed approaching the walled compound, my unit was transported by helicopter -Chinook- to the vicinity. Combat air support was also dispatched from Jalalabad, including an Apache helo and an A-10 fixed wing jet.

Arriving in between the initial Apache engagement and the A-10 strafing runs I witnessed, it crossed my mind: fuck, fuck, fuck! The SF team breached the compound first, followed by my fire team about 60 seconds later. There was contact including small arms fire and at least 2 minor explosions the likes of grenades. It was surprising considering the damage inflicted by the aircraft, the last of which was a 500 pound bomb let loose from a bone -B1 bomber- How could anyone survive such devastation, let alone be able to fight our assault?

In the confusion an American SF soldier had been seriously wounded in the first 20-30 seconds, the result of shrapnel from a grenade. He later died, sadly. Of the 2 enemy that had survived the air assault, one had been killed upon entry, the other, barely alive, turned out to be a 15 year old Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr. I can’t be too specific, but just imagine the situation? A KIA American, initially thought to have been killed by this kid? Luckily, -if luck has anything to do with this- there were a few ranking soldiers on scene who reminded some of the others of our duty to the laws of war. Omar was cared for and sent off for medical treatment in Khost.

Whenever I come across the subject of Guantanamo Bay and our prison on that island, I cannot help but think of Mr. Khadr in particular. I feel disgusted. If I hear or see someone extolling the benefits of GITMO, or even feigning indifference to the policies the continue, a sickening, queasy feeling of anger often washes over me. How could anyone who espouses the freedoms of America, our so-called exceptionalism of their fantasies, also remain committed to such injurious, demeaning, cruel policies?

I have zero doubt our future civilization will look back upon our current selves with a justifiable contempt. There’s little doubt that this whole messy, deliberate and systematic flaunting of international law will be recorded with regret, but little sympathy. If our people could have quickly modified our positions, held those in power accountable for their blatant criminality, maybe history would have forgiven? What we have done is indemnify or muddle our actions, a sure way to do it all over again the next time we get angry.

That’s all for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAIN PAIN & THE HIDDEN WOUNDS

It seems many of us were right all along: blast waves from exploding ordinance, even void of shrapnel, will have a similar effect on ones brain as a so-called typical concussion. No way, the Pentagon has screamed for the last 7 decades, operating under their usual strategies, -in other industries, think tobacco, NFL, oil, lead, etcetra game plans meant to blur the known truth- burying the scientific proof, sweeping the mess under a cheap rug for as long as they can to avoid responsible action. -think shell-shock, agent orange, Gulf War syndrome-

The hardest thing to hear, to swallow, is a child, or sister, or wife, telling you, “I don’t even know who you are anymore.” It’s the hidden injury that exposes ones “after combat” self, a terrible new you that’s impossible to explain and even harder to treat. I mean, how do you mend a fence, or plug a tire if you cannot locate a hole? Even more diabolical is the paradox you face every single day; it’s your brain that directs one for help, yet, suffering from multiple TBI’s, that very piece of you critical to act, tricks you into looking somewhere else. Combine this earned helplessness with a rank and file denial of your serious and hidden condition, it begins to become clear, reasons for Veteran’s maladaptive behavior, even suicide.

My last post drilled down on the massive inequality and unchecked corporate power and greed revving the country, the world even, far into the red line. But it was the most cynical, bloated bureaucracy of all: the Department of Defense. Not long after WWII the Army morphed into a career establishment, a standing army, with the biggest single budget in history, for any country, any organization. It’s a sick, sick, sick culture within the ranks of career military men and women. It’s no longer about doing the right thing, but rather, doing nothing that might cause friction. This culture necessitates gross incompetence. They cover for each other, providing a dirty system that is void of accountability. From the rape culture, to outrageously bloated budgets, to the revolving door and the denial of care for grunts like me, the Pentagon is incapable of doing the right thing.

So now they are forced to admit what soldier’s have understood for quite some time. Blast waves can inflict a heavy toll on the brain. The most important question to me is: what are they going to do with this public knowledge? When will the injuries we sustain on the battlefield, those beyond the outer skeleton, the unseen, be important enough to get an equal level of care, let alone respect?

Pentagon…fuck you very much!