Monday, November 12, 2007

Belated Blog on Veteran's Day

Yesterday was not a day that lent itself to blogging so here I am today.



Yesterday we prayed, at our morning services: "On this Veterans Day, bless all those men and women who, for devotion to their country and to the common good have offered themselves in service to our nation."

And last night we heard, at Evensong, a moving meditation from Giles Fraser on what the Brits call "Remembrance Day" about "The Lies of War & The Lies of Peace." (Wish there was a text to post but there is not. You'll have to take my word for it that it was great.)

And then, this morning, I finally got to yesterday's papers and saw Frank Rich's Op-ed -- The Coup at Home -- which is a must-read for anybody concerned about the soul of this nation and for anybody committed to preserving what is best about this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.

On Veteran's Day, the day we remember and honor those who risked their lives to preserve freedom and democracy, Rich calls us ALL to account for our complicity in the undermining of the foundational American values our veterans have served. An excerpt:

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we've propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We've become inured to democracy-lite.

To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.


Veteran's Day IS a time to honor and a time to remember ... AND a time to strengthen our resolve to nurture peace and hope in our hearts.

May it also be a time for us to speak truth to the powers that vandalize our values, to refuse to allow torture to be committed in our name and to refuse to allow the sacrifices our veterans have made to be squandered by those by subverting the rule of law and selling out the Constitution they pledged their lives to defend against all enemies, foreign AND domestic.

11 comments:

Bateau Master said...

Frank Rich .... ????

There a writer with such a stunning bona fides that we should make him a Veteran's Day Icon. NOT!

Let him put on a uniform and take responsibility for something more dangerous than a theater review and then let him come back and tell us how we've failed.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Like the current Commander in Chief did while he was in the National Guard?

Don't even get me started ... !!!

Bateau Master said...

There is a whole list of boneheads that should remain silent on Veteran’s Day: Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Olbermann, Matthews, Russet, et al. And, unless I missed Rich’s AF flight school completion and F102 qualification, he has to join the list. He’s never faced anything more dangerous than ink poisoning.

Until you have the responsibility to decide whether to treat the Geneva Convention (or US Constitution) as a suicide pact or preserve your own men (citizenry) it is best to remain quiet about what you do not know.

Jan said...

Thanks for the link. I need to read more of Frank Rich.

That Kaeton Woman said...

Me, too, Jan. Thanks Susan. I would have missed it if you hadn't posted it. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


IT

RonF said...

Just couldn't resist politicizing Veterans' Day, eh?

RonF said...

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we've propped up in places like Islamabad.

Pakistan is hardly an ideal democracy, but it's a big step up from where it was. Give them time. Even 20 years ago someone like Musharraf would have felt free to simply slaughter thousands in the street. Now he can't - he's forced to have reasonably honest elections, even if he postpones them for a month or so.

I'm amazed that anyone reading a comparison between the U.S. and Pakistan can keep a straight face or credit anything else the writer says.

We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.

Maybe the wine-and-cheese/academic set thinks this, but he apparently thinks the idea is widespread! He needs to get out more.

Allen said...

My father-in-law is a WWII vet and served in Africa and Italy. He was quietly on the mark when he spoke the following (I hope I remember verbatim with only slight paraphrase):

"If we had fought WWII under today's rules of engagement,under today's level of sacrifice, under today's opinion of acceptable military and civilian loss, under the glare of expert reporters and under today's gnat-patient public, we would be speaking German right now."

Anonymous said...

The alarming thing is that the American people are NOT in clinical depression. They think that it's just peachy-keen to torture brown folks on the slimmest of pretexts. I swear, if the Abu Ghraib pix hadn't included the woman soldier, 90% of the US population would have cheered the pix without a second thought.

Noone doubts that torture occurs in war - but to give a preemptive pass to torture is a new thing. Soldiers should have to think twice about doing an Abu Ghraib or a My Lai.

We have no honor. Not when we let an Atty General appointee get by without stating whether or not he thinks drowning-lite is torture or not.

NancyP

Suzer said...

I wasn't aware that only veterans are allowed to have an opinion on war and politics. I'll have to ask the several veterans in my family what to think from now on. And I'll ask a friend of ours, who is suffering from severe PTSD after serving honorably in Iraq. Our government, which sent her there, now refuses to give her the health care and benefits she needs. (This is after she and her partner lost their house and all they owned in Hurricane Katrina.) And because of Don't Ask Don't Tell, her partner can't even accompany her to doctor's visits at the VA. Without her partner, I bet she'd be one of the many homeless veterans on our streets (one in four homeless are veterans -- what kind of travesty is that!). I'll be sure to ask her her opinion as well.

Thanks, Rev. Russell, for the link to the Frank Rich article. I found it insightful and informative.