To be clear, this is not an anti-war, “Born on the 4th of July” type of write up by someone who is overcome with a deluded sense of morality over past actions taken. I liked war. I liked what the training did to me. I liked the awakening of the reptilian brain—the lethality that it imparted me with.
With that in mind, after being practically force-fed the new wave of the veteran image, I feel compelled to respond:
“Don’t talk like one of them. You’re not! Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.”
The truth of the matter is, to many politicians in DC, you the American Veteran, are just not that important. Contrary to popular belief; many do not hear you. You are in fact, quite expendable. You’re a political rally cry, used during elections to boost numbers; and every platitude and bumper-sticker slogan will be used to help their campaign. To them, you’re a short term solution to a problem—whether war in the Middle East or the live debates on TV.
Some of us need to get with the program when it comes to our expectations and understanding of “higher” working in our best interest. There is an illusion propagated that we will fit perfectly back into civilized societies’ attempt at egalitarianism—yet many square pegs have found many round holes.
Men ranging from comfort-shucking adventurer to outright inter-species predator don’t exactly reintegrate fully into a culture that has become so soft it roves about looking for the next “trigger” to be offended by. But brothers; fret not, the realization coming is immensely liberating.
There is a maxim that remains unchanged, one must understand and accept this: To them we are nothing more than a method for violence that they cannot inflict on our enemies themselves. We are necessary, no question, but we are a means to a political end. So be it. That is acceptable—if one disenthralls themselves from the hollow promises and the political language. Come to terms with the fact that as we are a means to their goals, so are they, a means to ours—a way to war. A way for those of us who wish(ed) to be warriors have the path to become so. Their need for you is to your advantage, your ticket to the ultimate game.
And we got in the game. Some are still playing it now. But for many of us, our greatest struggle wasn’t the exploding hot metal or the long days, but the push/pull factors of both global and domestic politics; destroying any real attempts at winning. Sure, we won battle after battle, but the “war” itself was sensitive to many factors that had/have no place in an armed conflict where winning actually matters. Diplomacy was a forgone conclusion once the military was committed to action, yet its petulant influence periodically managed to stifle results.
We knew where the Taliban, Haqqani, Baathist, Republican Guard, mujahedeen, sand people, etc., were located and what would be required to kill them before they kill us. We have eyes everywhere; satellites, drones, HUMINT, turncoats, and simple observation swirling in areas we designate of interest. The entire planet is connected through various forms of electronics, and for the first time in history one hemisphere knows exactly what the other hemisphere is doing, in real time. Yet the administration still appears to have connectile(sic) dysfunction and feign ignorance when it comes to reading patterns of aggression from an enemy who has developed a keen ability with social media and common technology. Typically to openly and routinely proclaim their goal of our complete destruction… usually while killing someone… while its being recorded… and posted on Youtube… and sent to all major media outlets.
However the overarching diplomacy of “Hearts and Minds,” spanning from the occupation of Baghdad to this very second, would attempt to limit our operational capabilities to the point of what would be politically acceptable and morally palatable for the plebeians to digest while glued to CNN/Fox News/MSNBC. This would have lethal ramifications for the United States military’s efforts of conclusively winning the war and unsurprisingly the administration would balk at making the hard right decision of what it would take to effectively Win. Violence of action had become passe’ once the war lasted past the commercial breaks of its viewers.
Non-warriors directing warriors under the guise of accountability.
While the doctrine of maintaining a civilian controlled military was rightfully, and correctly designed to prevent military dictatorships (thank you team 1776), it has lost much of its efficacy when those same people are so far removed from the context of what it takes to fight in an evolving stage of global conflict. Our administration would rather incur a loss of American life over that of our enemies because it is more politically acceptable for them when they pander to the population. That, my brothers, is the definition of expendable.
And yet despite this beheaded snake, despite the imposed lack of lethality; the warrior had his place, and has his place still.
“We’re not like you. We’re the Witches. We’re the violent exiles, the lone-wolf nomads that you bred out of the race back when growing crops and living in one place became so popular. We don’t have, and we don’t need a social context.” ~ Thirteen
So where do we go with this? Realizing who (and what) you’re dealing with, when it comes to one’s notion of “patriotism” in America, is a start. Without attacking that noble notion itself, your leaders, I argue, are unworthy of your efforts. More than that, it is foolish to think the proliferation of the “broken veteran” is not serving some higher end.
Arguably the worst thing one could be faced with; inactivity. Marginalizing veterans is the best and easiest solution to getting rid of the problem of those who do not adapt into “normal society.” We have problems here because strength, fortitude and self-reliance are often mistakenly criticized as not being diplomatic and against the grain of group acceptance and cooperation. But you have to move forward, as ruthless now as you were then. This is imperative. Your “Will to Power” demands it. Evolve and adapt, but do so to assert your own initiative to achieve new goals and new experiences. You know what you are, what you are made of, and you are far more stress-inoculated than your timid neighbor will ever be. You do not need them nor the little tiny box that they wish to categorize and file you away into. You do not need approval nor acknowledgement from anyone as you have already proven what you are capable to those who mattered to you the most. Accept what you have become, what you have done, and use the same determination you honed in war to move forward.
Allowing society to define you as the reluctant warrior or broken veteran is the first step to failure as it presents you as something that is powerless. Without willful intent. You were propelled by circumstances. The victim. Reject this. On the outside maintain the guise of assimilation in order to achieve your goals but never forget who and what you are: A warrior. You have been forged by war, not by society.
You. Are. Free. Your life is your own, to do with as you see fit.