Each and every year at this time in November our nation remembers those who fought and died wearing a US military uniform. But only a few of what they named ‘Wars‘ were ones in which our young military were rightfully sent overseas to fight.
This writer can only think of one such time, and that was WW2. All the rest of them were disgraceful attempts by our (so called) leaders to keep a stranglehold on the world. Sadly, the dead wearing those proud US uniforms of various branches have always been transformed into heroes. Sadder still, they were not heroes, rather pawns used disgracefully in some Military Industrial Empire’s chess game. Worse still, in most cases they were sent into harm’s way by leaders, both political and military, who never had to smell the odor of instant death:
The procession of generals marches slowly
with the clouds of gunpowder behind them,
as another encounter eases to flame
and the shouts of battle burn invisibly
from what once were bunkers of manhood
reduced now to pools of slaughter-house blood
flooding charred carcasses, uniformed but in death.
And the plotters never once look back
for the optimism of victory will not allow it.
They simply smile and pat one another
and then interrupt for a quick reflection;
And their silence is for that glorious past
and all those poor pitiful pawns,
and for future harvests which will occur
on the plains now of blood and sweat
in the limbo era that is renamed WAR.
(PAF October 1970)
Times like this become a ‘Catch 22’ for we who dissent against this empire. If you mind your manners and keep your mouth shut as the hype and hypocrisy abounds all around you, you become almost as bad as them. If you stand up and speak out against the tide, they label you unpatriotic and being against our military. Well, there is a way out of this conundrum. We should show remorse for the dead and wounded and deformed for life young military personnel, but only adding our feeling that They had NO business being sent to those places to do what they did to others and, ultimately, themselves! If those of us who ‘ know better’ as to the machinations of this Military Industrial Empire remain silent, then we give it license, and never reach our young minds with Truth.
The reception of heroes began early
as do all occasions befitting dawn.
The congregation of colonels arrived first
riding in on the backs of soldiers,
and they kneeled at the altars of business,
then proceeded to receive the generals
who had by now greeted the sun.
The one stars carried the two stars
and the three stars the four stars,
in the most common fashion: piggyback.
Next arrived the right handed reverends,
blessing and saluting and saluting and blessing
(they even baptised a newborn bastard)
and they took their rightful place on stage
awaiting, as all, their newest King,
escorted by hordes of helmets.
And the King humbled all beneath him
as his rented throne awaited
(being valid for four more years).
By now the sun had sickened
and proceeded behind soft clouds,
and the applause carried through the wind
on this day of the recycling of evil.
PAF Fall 1970
Nearly 50 years and nothing ever changes, does it?
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Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, New York, longshoremen. He has been a freelance columnist since 2001, with more than 300 of his essays posted, besides The Greanville Post, on sites like Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op-Ed News, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, where he writes a great deal about the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, “It’s the Empire… Stupid” with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected].