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Author Topic: Veterans Day - what is there to be thankful for?
WeAreAllJust LooseChange
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Sunday, Nov 11 is Veterans day. A colleague of mine sent an email reminding us to thank Veterans during this holiday.
I sat there for a minute thinking - What is REALLY there to thank for?
A lot of countries in the world (my birth country including) use one way or another to celebrate their veterans from different wars or ways to honor past war victories and battles. I'm divided on the thought if I should be thankful to a veteran for those.

On one side I feel gratitude that someone unknown out there may have saved the life of my grand-grand...-parents in one of the wars or another, which the "tribe" (used loosely) I was born in had waged upon other tribe(s).
But same can be said for any stranger who in fact is a descendent of someone who had helped saved the lives of them from any number of accidents, mishaps, famine and trouble in general in the far past.

On another side I started asking myself - What to REALLY thank Veterans for?
- for allowing the manipulators in power of the day to use them as tools for achieving more power through wars and aggression?
- for allowing governments to deceive them of the real costs of wars - physical, moral, economical, social, etc.
- for killing innocent people of the "tribes" of other countries because they were sworn to do so?
- for allowing such ceremonies as Veteran Day celebrations, medals, battle honors, etc. to be used as ways to promote further recruitment of "tools" for oiling the war machine?
…

And yes - I do understand the pride to serve, the brotherhood in the army, the pride, the feeling of obligation to one's nation / people, the family tradition, the pride, the glory of fighting for the "right cause", the pride, etc. etc. etc. all the reasons which are used to lull people to become soldiers in the first place (not counting all the economical incentives and promises...).
But looking at the fact that both sides of a war have veterans which they want their citizens to be "thankful" for I cannot accept the fact that I'm asked to thank a Veteran of the War in Vietnam, Cambodia, Cold War, Gulf War, OIL war and any other number of wars that US and CIA has been involved in.

If I was a German, Italian or Japanese, etc. - how can I sincerely thank my Veterans for fighting in World War I and II?
Or I should thank only THOSE veterans that were victorious?
How could anybody who has been affected by wars thank the veterans whom that government used to wage the war in the first place?

How could anybody who has lost a loved one in a war, support a holiday representing the only means failed politicians have to achieve external power and influence?
How crazy is that?

Thanking somebody sincerely for their service as a group implies that you really mean it.
As such - I'm sorry but I cannot thank our US War veterans, or any veterans of military service.

We are all human beings, we all make mistakes. Allowing "the government" (no matter in which country) to use our bodies, minds and efforts to fight wars should not be one of those mistakes.

Think what is happening now in Iraq and how the government wants you to think that Iran is no different and "no option is off the table". Think about all the Veterans with PTSD which we will have to treat for generations to come, because of the ways this psychological confrontation of conscious and duty has broken their minds. Think about all the consequences of war which those Veterans are symbol of in one way or another.
Think about that when you Thank a Veteran on Sunday.

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Paladine
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Liberalism's so cool. [Wink]
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scifibum
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WAAJLC:

Think about what you're saying. That you don't want to honor people who ended up wounded, or with PTSD, because you don't agree with the specific way in which their country asked them to serve.

Thanking a veteran for his service is not the same as validating every aspect of the way in which the service was employed.

(You don't have to agree with Walmart's policies to thank the greeter for wishing you a nice day. You would, however, have far less cause for thanking him than you have for thanking people whose lives and sanity were risked or sacrificed in the armed forces.)

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RickyB
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That's not liberalism, though. That's ignorant, pseudo-sentimental "fashionable leftism". Not atall the same thang.

Loosechange - Italy fought on the "right side" in WW1. It got screwed in the loot-divvying party, and that is the main reason it ended up on the other side in round 2. Same (to a much lesser extent, though) is true for Japan (which chose its sides in round 1 mainly because Germany screwed it out of its gains in the (Ed. to amend factoid, sorry) Japanese-Sino war of 1894).

Germany in WW1 was not the monster it was in WW2, and the fact that it was allied with monarchies against an alliance of (mostly) democracies was rather incidental in that war, which was ALL about competing colonial empires. Germany as an empire in Africa was rather horrific, but it really isn't as though France or even GB would be winning accolades from Amnesty at the time.

Finally, Veterans Day is not really about "Thanking". It's about "Remembering". Capital R. Just because you didn't agree with a war doesn't mean you're free to forget those who died in it. You are perfectly free to remember them not as heroes but as tragic victims, and to feel the pain of the survivors rather than celebrate their (pointless or not) bravery. Just as long as you remember they died or got maimed on orders from the legitimate government of the land, and that many of them died out of belief (misguided though it may have been) that they were serving the greater good.

[ November 09, 2007, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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WeAreAllJust LooseChange
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SciFi - I believe I mentioned that my thoughts are divided on this and probably the post represents more the anger I feel towards wars and how scrupulous politicians use war in current time and age to achieve political power.
But ultimately they can only achieve this if there are soldiers who want to enlist in the army (or are "forced" to by their situation).
But in the end it is a choice of the human being if you want to fight in wars or not. In some countries it is easier to resist "the push" in other countries it is not.

I don't know - my own thoughts are not so clear on this - that's why I'm throwing my angry opinion in the wild on this forum so I can clear them up and be able to Thank a Veteran with a piece of mind. Not sure if this will happen but as we grow old people change...
I used to think that the hero in the movie was so cool blowing those bad Russians to protect the Afghans.
Now I see the same hero blowing up Afghans to protect... Afghans?
Maybe the hero (or its government) just likes to blow things up?

:/

The Change

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RickyB
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Loose change, serious question - how old are you?
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Eowyn
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Wow, and I thought Uncle Orson's rhetoric about anti-millitary opinions was unfounded. It's kind of sad to know that there are actually people who think this way.
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threads
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Here's a list of some of WAAJLC's questions (if I understood him correctly):
- Why should veterans be honored for bravery alone if I don't agree with where their bravery was directed?
- Does Veteran's day implicitly further the agenda of modern day politicians (does the celebrating soften people's images of war and make them more likely to support one)?
- If yes, then should I oppose Veteran's day out of principle?

I think the above three are perfectly valid questions even if you think the answer to them all is "no". No need to demonize WAAJLC (*looks at Eowyn*).

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Eowyn
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Sorry for any hurt feelings, but Loose Change did essentially just call both of my grandfathers, my father-in-law and several of my friends mindless tools of an evil power who kill innocent people.
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hobsen
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In any war the dead are primarily common soldiers, and mostly twenty years old or younger. They were doing what they were asked to do by their parents and their government, and they are honored for that. If their lives were thrown away uselessly, or spent in an unjust cause, that guilt belongs not to them but to those who ordered them into battle. And the same is true of soldiers from other countries, many of whom died for worse causes than even our veterans.
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Funean
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FYI, LooseChange--

From the proclamation establishing Veterans Day (on, interestingly enough, Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of the War to End All Wars--WWI):

"Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America , do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 , as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom,
and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."

(italics mine)

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guinevererobin
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Good post, Fun.
quote:
And yes - I do understand the pride to serve, the brotherhood in the army, the pride, the feeling of obligation to one's nation / people, the family tradition, the pride, the glory of fighting for the "right cause", the pride, etc. etc. etc. all the reasons which are used to lull people to become soldiers in the first place
I don't think you do. But that's OK.

~United States Marine Corps - Protecting Ignorant Americans since 10 November 1775~

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Richard Dey
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That kind of thinking, Loose Change, always reminds me of a guy from my home town who threw himself on a grenade until his buddies managed to escape -- by which time it was too late for him.

You're looking at war from the top down, not the bottom up. You need to have a bayonette stuck in your face to comprehend the gratitude you owe to those who fight with you. That doesn't mean that your ingratitude can't be put to work in demanding peace, however!

War is a team effort. Peace is a team effort.

I live in a veterans' home half the year, right on the great parade route of the town, and there are three here who put on their braid and, at the first sound of the band, stroll in the opposite direction -- chatting amongst themselves, not so much as waving at the Cub Scouts and the Moms carrying flags -- to the coffee shoppe where they get free coffee and doughnuts for the vets. They aren't into marching politicians, they aren't impressed by the materiel from the local military base, they aren't into jingoism,

... and wouldn't be caught dead marching with those who typed their way through Vietnam, peeled potatoes, had flat feet, served in the Virgin Islands, sacrificed their son that their neighbors might live, or are being prepared to defend everybody in the Cub Scouts. For those who actually faced the enemy, every day is memorial day, and a parade is a farce.

Therefore, these holidays which have been purloined by the jingoists and the petty political hacks and those who profit from war and promote it, shouldn't interfere with your gratitude who did as their country demanded.

But for those who died, for those who stept on landmines and lost their manhood in the exercise of it, for those who went mad, some sympathy is worthy. But that requires that you risk your own life for others -- or to empathize with those who did.

But to put your ingratitude to work, and you're welcome to it, you need to get out there and parade the other way. You won't be alone. Just a warning, that some of those marching with flags and guns waving may spit on you.

These days are just what Eisenhower said they're for. They're warnings for those left alive.

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Boy Logic
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Veterans day is for the veterans, not the politians that tell them where to go. I find it sad that some people have problems separating these from each other.

If you're having a problem finding reasons to thank veterans on veterans day, think about this: Where would the United States be today without a standing army?

If you come up with any answer other than 'not here', you might want to rethink your answer.

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KnightEnder
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I don't think we should be too hard on Loose Change. I know that sounds weird coming from violent ole'me but questions is the way people learn. Especially the younger generation. And we do pretty up the horror that is war at every opportunity we get.

KE

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KnightEnder
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Boy Logic, heard of Gandhi?

I do honor our veterans for their service and was delighted to meet the son of on of the men I work with who was a Major and to thank him and his comrades for all they do for us. But, that in no way invalidates Loose Changes questions. Challenging our perceptions is most of the time a good thing. Even better on drugs. (I hear)

KE

[ November 10, 2007, 02:47 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Boy Logic
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quote:
Originally posted by KnightEnder:
Boy Logic, heard of Gandhi?

No... who was he and how did he die?
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RickyB
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Ed. to delete condescending and shocked remark.

Boy Logic, If that (the not knowing who Gandhi was) was sarcasm, accept my apologies. If not, here ya go:

Mohandas Karamchand (aka "Mahatma") Gandhi

[ November 10, 2007, 06:30 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Straygaldwyr
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America, to answer the topic question.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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The divide between people in the United States and people in the United States military is interesting to observe. I cannot help but wonder if, with a volunteer army, it will become worse in the future. If so, is it an issue that needs to be addressed, and if so how?
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Everard
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Veterans Day is an important holiday... its a day when we remember the sacrifice our soldiers have made. Its not a day to remember the wars they fought in, necessarily, but rather that millions of americans have fought in our wars, whether voluntarily or not, and lost much in so doing.

Whether we agree with those wars or not, the soldiers who have fought have largely done so for love of country. Whether that love was manipulated for the gains of politicians or not, our soldiers have served, and suffered, because they love our country... and this is, for the most part, a country WORTH loving. our soldiers have, at times, fought in wars that preserved this country worth loving, and at other times fought in wars that made it harder to love this country. But those unloveable wars are inevitable consequences of having a military that we maintain in order to preserve our country.

We honor the soldiers who fought in our wars, not because of the wars they fought in, but because they fought for this country, and in fighting, have lost much.

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Jesse
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Actually, it's Armistice Day, but they didn't want to give people a day off for VJ day, so they bundled it.


We have Memorial day, to remmember those who fell, but Veterans Day is about remmembering those who gave their limbs, their minds, their hearing, those who missed the first steps of their son or their daughters graduation, who couldn't be their at their mothers deathbed, who spent the best years of their youth working to protect our nation.

If you feel someone else is treating it as an excuse for a hollow jingoistic celebration, fight back. Reclaim the day.

Recall that it IS Armistice Day, a celebration of peace, and not of violence.

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TommySama
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"I used to think that the hero in the movie was so cool blowing those bad Russians to protect the Afghans. "

What kind of movies have YOU been watching?! [Eek!]

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TommySama
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BTW, loosechanges argument reminds me of the idea that all citizens are to an extent responsible for the actions of their governments, which I first heard made here. I would think strong proponents of that idea would support thinking like his.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If you're having a problem finding reasons to thank veterans on veterans day, think about this: Where would the United States be today without a standing army?
In all seriousness, has the U.S. fought a war for its survival with a standing army? None of the wars I can think of that'd fall into that category were fought primarily by career soldiers.
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Jesse
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That's true, but several of them would have been lost without career soldiers.
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RickyB
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That aspect I do like. However, it is callow to apply it in such a blanket fashion. Usually the duped soldiers don't have the data that makes it possible to reach the correct decision.
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Straygaldwyr
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yes we need to make sure 49% of the military are traitorous liberals

[ November 10, 2007, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: Straygaldwyr ]

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RickyB
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No, we need to make sure an undetermined number of the junior officers are deranged fascist scum. You repugnant little shyt. All the liberals here are jumping to explain to this one misguided dude why he's wrong, but to your sorry ass we're still traitors? I hope that you die over there, even if it makes an equally repugnant douchebag happy (Ed. to add: Best, of course, if you're fragged, but any manner of death will do). At least I won't have to worry about what you're doing in my name.

They'll take ANYONE these days...

Ed. to add #2: Assuming Jesse isn't correct, and if he is I apologize to the people running psych evaluation over at the five-sided building for doubting them so much...

[ November 10, 2007, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Jesse
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Not so certain they took this one.
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threads
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Straygaldwyr has yet to show an ability to think critically despite having 295 posts. Regardless, RickyB I predict that your wish for him to die will not be taken kindly by other members of this forum.
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Paladine
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I actually do have to tip my hat to our lefties for the most part on this thread. [Wink]

You really want him to die because of some comments on a message board, Ricky? Way harsh, dude. I think you need to light one up and chill out a bit. [Wink]

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RickyB
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Yes, if he really is in the service, he is a bigger menace than any ordinary terrorist. If he isn't then I'd just not mind if he died, cause he's polluting the gene-pool and contaminating the body-politic.

I don't even buy the "just saying it to get a rise" crap. Some things you don't say, especially in some contexts. I never wanted you dead for your opinions, or any of the hardcore true conservatives here, piss me off though y'all do. This one I do.

And though I am on an elective semi-break (not smoking at home till I'm positive I have the new routine down cold, which should last another 2-3 weeks), I'd say the exact same thing with both lungs full of the kindest vapors [Smile]

threads - I appreciate your restrained comment, but I don't really care. OM can ban me for the comment. I won't retract it. I will say this: If he bans me, he better ban the scum too.

Ed. to add: I only prefer the fragging option if done frontally, and if no-one is caught. Needed to make that clear.

[ November 10, 2007, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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And back to the topic - Tom, veterans day ain't just for career soldiers or standing army recruits [Smile] . The brave men of the Continental army (and the boys of 1812) qualify as well.
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Rallan
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Yeah LooseChange is definitely going bassackwards at this. Armistice Day isn't a celebration of anything (although I'm sure the first Armistice Day in 1918 saw a fair bit of celebrating), it's a commemoration of loss. War is a terrible thing that calls on young men to do what they should never be asked to do, and we remember that.

It's also supposed to be the one day of the year where filthy hippy liberals like me call an armistice with misinformed warmongering conservatives and we all agree to Not Mention The War [Smile]

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WeAreAllJust LooseChange
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Sorry about the delay on the response on questions and much needed clarifications on my part. I read all your comments so far.

First - to answer RickyB - I'm between 30-40, old enough to have forgotten my history lessons (details - who EXACTLY fought in the WWI), and busy enough not to be able to spend more time on clarifying those same details to make my post(s) more accurate.

TommySama – the movie I was referencing was Rambo III

I believe "threads" was able to extract the questions I had from my post, but missed the biggest one of them all, which I didn't state clear enough.

Here it is (explained as much as I can in the following scenario):
You have 2 countries in a recent war against each other.
One is victorious, the other one not.
Both have had casualties military and civilian from the war.
Both have national holidays to celebrate and remember their veterans of wars, the most recent war including.
Why will both nations celebrate this act, when one of the sides was ultimately "wrong" and the other one was ultimately "right"? Not necessarily the victorious one, as history shows.

Why we (world nations) decide to celebrate the acts of ultimate violence expressed towards other nations (wars) or the people who have taken part in them (veterans, as innocent as they are).
Why do we create movies, write books, songs, poems, etc. glorifying the sacrifice of our war veterans?
I mean - there are other public servants who sacrifice their lives on daily basis (police, firefighters, border patrol agents and others) but we do not celebrate their acts in the same way, even if we do note their importance in a different manner.
I know it is not EXACTLY the same, as they are free to leave any time, but is similar in the sense that they are putting their lives on the line of duty.

To answer the accusations that I do not understand veterans and soldiers - my grandfather was a veteran of WWII. He died about 10 years and he had shared stories about his experiences. I've been in the army myself (non US) for a short period of time and also have had friends and colleagues who were in the Army (US) for long periods of time. Some are also veterans from the recent wars.
I think I do understand the attitude of veterans and soldiers: "I know how big s*** you are, but I'm still ready to die for you and my country"

I also understand how political governments want to encourage such behavior and devotion in any way possible - so glorifying past war victories and saluting veterans is a must. After all that's what we call patriotic.
Are we going to stick to that in a global world though?

What I do not understand (to some extend) is why people choose to continue to glorify war although indirectly as the ultimate resolution to conflicts and nation uniting, continue to pour resources (willingly and unwillingly) into military build-up even at times of peace when there is no clear defined enemy in sight?
And how blindly we are led to believe that wars without end are needed for this nation (US) to achieve its goals (like no more drugs, no more terrorism etc.) for the good of its people.

On the topic of Veterans day – I’ll stick with the Universal Soldier song - see lyrics

I like the idea that one poster had that Veterans day is a day to REMEMBER the veterans in whatever way you see it, so that's what I'll try to do from now when educating my kids. Poor them [Wink] !

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Daruma28
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I don't understand how so many people here act incredulous at the statement of a guys who's screen name indicates that he took "Loose Change" seriously!

This thread is just more of the same...I am not surprised at all.

In fact, after reading this latest bilge, I'm proud to say WAAJLC considers me "despicable!" Because I'm sure I would not want to be considered what he thinks of as "honorable."

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WeAreAllJust LooseChange
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Daruma,
I understand that you won't want to be seen as standing against torture and against all wars. That will be too much to bear for you.

And yes - people who might think there is some validity in an argument against glorifying the act of fighting in a war (no matter how "positive" outcome the specific war had) are simply rejected, because of what their screen name suggests. All their posts are and will be just the same crazy rambling of course, so say no more...

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Jesse
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I think you're despicable too, only I say it with a lithping duckish accent, you silly wabbit.
_______________________________________


Wierd, and unrelated, yet completely related.

This is the plaque that Ataturk had erected at Anzac Cove. A replica stands in Canberra, Australia.

"Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."

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Richard Dey
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Yes, Jesse, and Ataturk (who was gay) is echoing the gay poet Rumi. I'm not sure it's a comforting thought, but it is certainly a noble one.

Pillaging burygrounds, which is only the half killing the dead, despite the fact that most graves are visited only by the mowers, and despite the fact that all graves will either be opened to (a rather stinky) glory or incinerated in intergallactic collision, is nonetheless about as despicable and cowardly a self-indulgence as hoodlums can commit.

It's ingratitude. It's what I'm accusing Biblicists of towards homosexuals.

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