Thursday, April 07, 2005
Let me begin this entry by saying I am filled with only respect and admiration for those who serve/have served in my country's military - I have family who have served, and many of my friends are currently serving in the military. However, I have to say with all honesty that my respect for our soldiers in the military doesn't quite extend to those who command them.
Honestly, after the events of the debacle in Iraq, can you really trust Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and company? Soldiers being sent out to fight without proper intelligence, armor, and equipment strikes me as grounds for criminal prosecution.
So I'm pretty bothered reading this story about Sgt. Emiliano Santiago. It's no secret that military is relying heavily on reserve forces and that's it having serious problems recruiting quality individuals to serve. But here is a man who has voluntarily served his full 8 years in the National Guard, and at the end of his time, he's now had his time of service involuntary extended... by 27 years! What the hell?!
He's filed a lawsuit against the government, but this latest ruling doesn't look good for him.
Our country's military has been volunteer for good reason - the events of the Vietnam War reshaped the public perception of military service. The experiences of the citizen-soldier of World War II were tarnished by the Vietnam experience. It wasn't the sons of the rich and wealthy who had to suffer - it was those who were poor, non-white, and uneducated who were sent blindly by politicians to fight in Vietnam. And for what? The entire Vietnam War was arguably for nothing more than a government's nationalistic, imperialistic agenda.
I'm not an anti-war hippie or a supporter of dodging your duty to your country. I do believe there are moral reasons for war and in certain circumstances it is justified (WWII being the most common example). But given the complexity of the Iraq conflict, I think there are completely justifiable reasons for any rational person to not want to go. And it's pretty scary to think that even a soldier who has fulfilled his duty, is now being forced to return against his will.
A song by Blue Scholars called "Blink" that comes to mind:
in the military
minorities comprise the majority, suprised?
are you kidding me, the lies
rely on brown bodies to fight for white puppet masters
I cannot fathom how the caged bird drinks
until he thinks he is free
a critical mass
between a heavenly future and a hell of a past
to think you can die in the blink of an eye
I bid you to try, to test I and I
been destined to fly, but i'm rest'n tonight
and one bright morning, I will take flight
but until then
I'll be rock'n upon the "M"
I see the future drippin' out of a pen
and if sleep be the cousin of death
then everytime I blink is one step closer to my last breath
(a taste, right click and "save as")
On a sidenote, now that I'm 26, I'm ineligible for the draft, barring any changes to the law (some quick info about Selective Service). Current law affects men ages 18-25. Though like most guys my age, I had to register for the draft when I turned 18 like everyone else. But being ineligible certainly doesn't make me feel any better about younger friends being sent off in my place to die for American hegemonic ego or oil.
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