It's Hard to Figure Things Out When You Are in the Combat Zone
by James Glaser
May 14, 2007
When I came home from Vietnam I was still all Gong-ho about the war and my part in it. It takes a long time for the brain washing from Marine Corps boot camp to wear off. I remember thinking how crazy all those college kids were for marching against the war.
Now I see the same thing with Soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The media asks them what they think about the war, and they are all about it. The President goes to a State side military base filled with combat vets, and they cheer him on because they think the war is necessary and just.
Like I said, it took a couple of years for me to figure things out. When you are in the service, usually your parents, your clergy, and all of your peers are constantly giving you pats on the back, about how you are protecting your home land, how you are bringing freedom to another country, and how God is on our side, so your time in combat has to have been right. It takes a while before you start to question things.
After a couple of years though, things change. Nobody is patting you on the back anymore, and if you are having any psychological problems with your time in combat, you rapidly learn it is best to keep those problems to yourself. You might have come home a hero to some, but with the 20-20 vision of hind sight, you soon realize what a chump you were for fighting a corporate war.
When you are in the combat zone all you know is that you are fighting the guys that are trying to kill you and your buddies. You have no idea of what is going on in the war, except right in your area, with your unit. You don't read newspapers, for sure you aren't watching TV, and there is a good chance that any time you do have off, you are trying to get some sleep. Combat is 24/7 and you are exhausted most of the time. So, when some media type comes up and asks what you think of the war, you tell them that you are ready to kick some ass and take names, because the is the mode you are in.
We have been in George Bush's war long enough now that many returning vets have figured out the score and they are starting to speak up. Much like Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), there are now Iraqi War veterans groups starting up, like IVAW. That would be Iraqi Veterans Against the War. These new veterans have had some time at home now, and they know that they were chumps too
After a while, returning veterans figure out that most rich people's kids don't go to war, and hardly any politician has a child in combat. Then there is the constant spin coming out of Washington, and the veteran knows that most of that is bullshit. He remembers all the talk about the health care he will get at the VA when he is discharged, and after waiting months and months for an appointment, he figures out he was scammed on that too.
So, when you hear a Soldier or Marine in the combat zone or on active duty praising the war and George Bush, give him some slack. In a few years he will have figured out what is what, and he or she will join us in trying to stop this madness in the Middle East.
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