We're hearing a lot about U.S. veterans being deported, just as we hear about healthcare and retirement and homelessness and countless other topics as impacting veterans in particular. The implication, and often the explicit assertion, is that we should especially care about injustice when it hurts veterans, because they've especially earned the right to be treated decently, by participating in the greatest mass-murdering crime sprees of recent decades -- the wars that most of us (and may veterans too) say we oppose.
You'll be shocked to learn that I disagree, that I'm opposed to special veterans parking places closer to the grocery store and special airplane bording privileges for military members, and that I want to block the Trump weapons parade on so-called Veterans Day with a massive celebration of Armistice Day.
If you've just reached the conclusion that I'm a hateful evil Putin-loving Muslim, you may be genuinely surprised to discover some of the numerous caveats of the sort that I usually hope can go without saying but never can:
- I don't want particpants in mass murder to be murdered.
- I don't want veterans or non-veterans deported.
- I don't want anybody to lack healthcare, retirement, a home, or any other basic human rights.
- I think one of the best antiwar groups around is Veterans For Peace.
- I think most veterans are owed an apology for having been sold a package of lies and put through a horrendous experience for no good reason.
So, you can go on imagining or projecting hatefulness, but I'm not actually hating anyone. I'm just opposing glorifying participation in war, something that generates more wars and more veterans.
I'd like to see identical outrage when a non-veteran is deported. That's all.
With one possible exception.
There is one man I think we might do well to deport, if anywhere else would want him.
Donald Trump recently told a cheering crowd: "We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now." In the next breath he claimed that "we" would be "coming out" just after "taking back" all of the land. The United States never owned Syria, and so cannot actually take it back, and also cannot take it at all, and such an action would be immoral and illegal even if it were possible. But the "coming out" part is perfectly possible and necessary.
So, we're going to give Trump this petition:
To: Donald Trump
We demand that you actually follow through on getting the U.S. military out of Syria, including the skies above Syria. We insist that, for a small fraction of the cost of continuing the war making, the United States instead provide massive humanitarian aid and assistance. We insist that this be the immediate first step as recently promised, to be followed by the similar withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. Moreover, the United States must withdraw its hundreds of thousands of military personnel stationed on 800 to 1,000 bases in countries around the world.
Trump is glorifying militarism. He's pretending it can somehow be successful. But at the same time, he's pretending to oppose war. He's combining the two ideas through the usual pretense that militarism prevents war. While that's been consistently proven false for many decades, while the more you prepare for war the more wars you get, it is important to recognize the popularity of the antiwar strains in the inconsistent and incoherent blather that flows out of Trump's mouth.
Remember that Hillary Clinton lost to the votes of military families who believed she was the most likely candidate to send their loved ones into wars. Necessary caveats:
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