Casualties of War – Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
John W. Whitehead, originally published at The Rutherford Institute, November 12, 2019
Come you masters of war / You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes / You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls / You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know / I can see through your masks….
You fasten all the triggers / For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch / When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion / While the young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies / And is buried in the mud.
— Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”
War drives the American police state.
The military-industrial complex is the world’s largest employer.
War sustains our way of life while killing us at the same time. As Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent and author Chris Hedges observes:
War is like a poison. And just as a cancer patient must at times ingest a poison to fight off a disease, so there are times in a society when we must ingest the poison of war to survive. But what we must understand is that just as the disease can kill us, so can the poison. If we don’t understand what war is, how it perverts us, how it corrupts us, how it dehumanizes us, how it ultimately invites us to our own self-annihilation, then we can become the victim of war itself.
War also entertains us with its carnage, its killing fields, its thrills and chills and bloodied battles set to music and memorialized in books, on television, in video games, and in superhero films and blockbuster Hollywood movies financed in part by the military.
Americans are fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted- drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.
Nowhere is this double-edged irony more apparent than during military holidays, when we get treated to a generous serving of praise and grandstanding by politicians, corporations and others with similarly self-serving motives eager to go on record as being pro-military.
Yet war is a grisly business, a horror of epic proportions.
In terms of human carnage alone, war’s devastation is staggering. For example, it is estimated that approximately 231 million people died worldwide during the wars of the 20th century. This figure does not take into account the walking wounded—both physically and psychologically—who “survive” war.
Many of those who have served in the military are among America’s walking wounded.
Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 20 million veterans who have served in World War II through the present day, the plight of veterans today has become America’s badge of shame, with large numbers of veterans impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, suicide, and marital stress, homeless, subjected to sub- par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration offices.
PLEASE read on in the pdf file below – it’s really important and loaded with links to more information that will take far too long to add to the text in the regular part of this post. You are welcome to download it to read at your own convenience.