Monday, November 9, 2009

The Greatest Generation Should Be Pissed

I'm not one for militaristic, flag-waving, ooh-rah for the soldiers, jingoistic-cheerleading. I think war is conducted by the smallest of small minds who cannot work out global issues without resorting to blowing shit up.

As for the recent incursions into Afghanistan, Iraq and all the other post-9/11 bullshit war zones, I think we're still being lied to about why we have troops fighting and dying. The global war on terror as it's being sold to us is a lie. This isn't about keeping terrorists from our shores or protecting innocent civilians from the evils of the Taliban, al Queda and the rest of the terror alphabet. This is about money, trade routes, oil and strategic leverage in key parts of the world.

If it were anything different, you'd have US and NATO troops chasing terrorists across the Philippines or across Java. You'd have US, Canadian and EU soldiers in the Congo and Darfur. If this were truly about combating terror, the rich nations of the world would have troops in every, blistering, third-world jungle and desert where acts of terror are committed daily. Instead, your soldiers are being sent to take part in conflicts that were at best, orchestrated to protect international, corporate interests.

I think soldiers, on the other hand, ought to be commended for the job they do, when they do it well. They get sent to the places where you and I would never dream of treading, put their lives on the line, make the bad guys go away and try to protect the innocents around them.

Modern conflict and the World Wars/Korea are light years from each other. In those cases the threat to home was very real; especially in WW2. In global conflicts of days past, the men and women in uniform were joined in a very real way to the national populations at large. They were fighting for our freedom.

Now, maybe I was a tad fragile after watching Saving Private Ryan between 11:00 - 1:30am last night, but I was hovering around that place in my brain that is reserved for humility and thankfulness. Right around the end of the movie, when Ryan as an old man is standing in front of the grave of Tom Hanks character, and he's pleading with his wife "Tell me I've lived a good life. Tell me I'm a good man.", we cut to commercial. The commercial was for Macy's Veterans' Day Sale.

I got really angry. First, the timing was really not appropriate but more than that, Macy's chose to honour the war dead by giving you 15% off the price of an iPod??!! That's crass, folks.

What Macy's is essentially telling you is "Hey North America, on November 11, take one minute of silence to think about the people who fought and died for you. Then, spend the rest of the day buying crap in their honour."

If you do follow this plan, at least have the decency to show up to a Veteran's Day event or, here in Canada, a Remembrance Day event and tell a vet "Gee I'd love to stay and think about you and your friends and stuff, but I have to go to a sale and buy a big-screen tv."

Thank God I've not seen anything like the Macy's ad affiliated with Canadian business.

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