I know its unpopular to say, but most people in America we’re hoisting the flag, and rattling there sabres when we went off to bash the heathen muslims. I wasn’t. It wasn’t out of some humanitarian hand wringing impulse, but self serving as hell. I have a son that was 13, and I knew, yes knew, that we would still be there when he turned 18. Which happens soon.Today that son asked me how I felt about him joining the military. It seems the pied pipers of bloodshed and gore were at his school. I don’t have any particular problems with recruiters, except they talk about college tuition, exciting travel opportunities, and not the incredible drudgery of garrison life, or the horrific trauma of their stock in trade. Thats called salesmanship, and hearkening back to my last post, well, for lack of a more accurate description,disingenuous.
So I sat and discussed it with my eldest progeny. I explained what a green stick fracture was, and how to apply a tourniquet to what remains of the leg of your best friend. I waxed nostalgic about the sound a bullet makes as it pierces the flesh of a human being lying next to you, or the pitiful moans a grown man makes when he knows he’s hit bad and isn’t going to make it. Not the “tell susie I love her crap” but the begging, pleading, making deals with god if your able to speak reality of it. I didn’t mince words with him, as he’s almost a grown man, and i confess the description of the smell of a 3 day old corpse covered with dried feces, and urine, and blood and shredded into something that didn’t really resemble a human corpse at all was not proper pre-dinnertime conversation.
Unfortunately it was all lost on him. As were the descriptions of the sounds of screaming and explosions, the raw terror of that near miss buzzing sound, or the agony that folllows being waxed by a hand grenade. The fact is he is a man, and men for whatever reason have this urge to run to the sound of the bugle.
All over the world people are fielding that same stupid question from their children, or picking up the remains of children that asked it last year. I’m sure smart people can explain in detail how its instinctual and dates back to when we were writing on cave walls; this desire to go out and conquer our fellow man. I’m not one of them. The only explanation I have for it is that the ignorant often make bad choices, and war seems a hell of a lot more glorious when you watch it on tv than when you’re wiping the shit off you after you luck out and don’t die when it all goes horribly wrong.
and it always does.sooner or later.
If you don’t wish to have this conversation with your children, exercise your right to vote. All of the democratic candidates, and at least one Republican (Ron Paul), have pledged to end the war. Of course they only said one war. We have several that we’re involved in.