I walked into the room and caught my wife watching Oprah. Before I could retreat, I noticed that the topic was war veterans. Being one myself, I paused to see where the discussion would lead. The main thrust of the program was about the suffering of wounded and slain veterans and their families, but also about the indifference of the majority of the population. At least the all-volunteer military today is honored by the few people that occasionally think about them: in my day, we were reviled, despite the fact of being forced to “serve”.
Nevertheless, something struck me in listening to the program. One phrase was uttered several times, when talking about the suffering of the soldiers and their families. These men and women are supposedly “making the country safe”. This is myth, perpetuated by the ruling class to incite and maintain irrational fear.
We were told during the Vietnam era that we had to defend the country against the creep of communism. If Vietnam fell, the rest of Asia would soon fall, and they would be at the shores of the United States. A close reading of history proves that this was a falsehood. A lot of people got rich off this war, but the country started on its slide into deterioration and poverty. I noticed the first homeless people upon returning from the war.
The same myths are being perpetuated about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Politicians used fear following the attack on New York to justify lies about the need to invade Iraq. Many soldiers died or suffered lasting wounds to enrich military contractors, without making the country one bit safer. One could argue that it is less safe, because more people have been angered and former friends have become disillusioned about the values and course of the country. The endless struggle in Afghanistan is against an enemy that poses even less of a threat, but the population is still warned about the need to “make the country safe”.
The myth continues and is supported by such luminaries as Oprah. Even when hoping to ease the suffering of those at the front line, she repeats the lies.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.