The past six years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the way it’s been handled, who has borne the entire brunt of those actions, and the cavalier disdain that John McCain has long had for those who have borne the burden have me fuming.
One-third of all the homeless in America are veterans. Although most are Vietnam vets, according to both the DoD and the VA, those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will begin to swell what ought to not be an acceptable population at any time. The suicide rate for veterans is now greater than at any time since such data was collected. Per the sources just cited, that number is also expected to increase.
And if you visit the senate.gov votes cast by John McCain, and if you listen to his orations, how “They just want to return with victory,” it is manifestly and most disgustingly evident the Arizonan doesn’t give the first damn about those who have volunteered to defend this nation, to face privation, dismemberment, and death for all of us, for you and for me. Irredeemably loathsome, utterly disgusting, thoroughly despicable! Tragically, language fails to be adequate in scenarios like this.
I will say again what I’ve said previously, as an army infantry vet who volunteered for Vietnam, what the combat soldier or marine wants more than anything else is to come home. Not with something so ephemeral, so evanescent, so indescribable as undefined “victory;” just come home, back to family and loved ones, and in as much of one piece as possible. That’s it.
Either mentally or literally, the very first ‘X’ made on a calendar, upon arriving in theater, is that date he, now also she, will get on the big bird headed back across the pond. (If you ain’t been, you ain’t got a clue. Please, shut up. You ain’t earned the right to jack your jaws about something that doesn’t involve you. PERIOD!)
The Greatest Generation knew terror, sure enough; for every moment spent in actual combat. I do not disparage any of that. But once out of combat, once away from the front, the fight-or-flight surge of adrenalin that shot through the mind and body could relax, decompress. And if they saw a civilian, they did not have to worry that beneath the apparel or in the basket or briefcase was a grenade or bomb. For most who went to Vietnam, and for most who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been no front, no time to not be on full alert.
There is a very valid reason that pilots and truck drivers and air traffic controllers are limited by the amount of time they can fly or drive or be on duty. The mind wears down. So, just because someone is a soldier or marine does not change what the mind can safely handle. And for all of us there is a breaking point. I don’t care who you are, or how tough you think you are. You’re not tough. You’re not superhuman. You’re human. You can break. And if you’re pressed beyond that invisible line, you absolutely will . . . break.
This I hold to be a core moral principle: Do not ever ask another to bear a burden you yourself are unwilling to take on.
Asking, let alone telling, another human being to go again, and again, and again, and again into the never ending, unrelenting hell of never knowing and always fearing . . . is the apex of the most dishonorable, most execrable, most inhuman of propositions. And then . . . after they have gone again and again and again and again to not provide the care the ravaged soul and mind may require . . . What . . . Who . . . are you? How can you do it? And still claim you give a damn?
But that is exactly what John McCain and Sarah Palin are all about. Iran? “Perhaps.” Russia? "Perhaps."
Not, “Well those are clearly areas that will demand full diplomacy and the most stringent study, blah, blah, blah.” It’s, as with “victory” and “honor” in Iraq, they fall off the tongue carelessly, thoughtlessly, “perhaps.” Like, “Perhaps we’ll stop at McDonalds and pick up some burgers and fries for dinner, or perhaps we’ll call Dominoes for a pizza.”
I’ve a couple questions I demand both John McCain and Sarah Palin answer. Just where the hell do you propose you’re going to get those you imagine are going to trudge through your list of ‘perhaps’? That’s one. Two is, just how the hell do you propose you’re going to pay for your adventures and your cleaving to your breasts that vicarious sweet-perfumed sense of “victory”? In the “easy” and the “quick” that you claimed Iraq was going to be, we have run an entire military into the ground. Or, in the vapid parlance of Sarah, is that going to be one of those “I’ll hafta gecha some”?
Finally, my name is Ed Tubbs, I live in Reno, Nevada, and I wrote every word of this.