He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on
--Universal Soldier, Buffy Sainte-Marie
Before. . .murder was recognized as murder,
but now murder is a means to achieve a noble result
Sometimes Ranger gets so low his bootlaces could serve as strings for a hostile LZ extraction. Sometimes jagged little pieces come together to form a mosaic.
Obviously he is anti-war and opposed to military overreach and oo-rah thinking. Yet at the same time, there is a pride of service. Ranger does not believe violence is ever justified, yet violence is in his guts. This is the basic dilemma facing all thinking veterans. We were taught to read terrain, but seldom to look at the inner paths of our souls.
A recent Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) meeting Ranger attended featured the banner, "HONOR THE WARRIOR, NOT THE WAR." Ranger challenged that precept and was roundly criticized by the knee-jerk attendees.
Think: If you honor the warrior, then you are ipso facto honoring the war. There is no other way to read this. A warrior is the instrument through which war is executed. The two concepts are inseparable. This is a simple yet profound truth.
The question remains: How does one oppose a war and a warrior nation, yet still retain pride in one's former service? Accepting the pride is to accept the violence inherent in the activity.
Attempting this reckoning burdens me. This knot ties us all together. This is also the reason that PTSD resulting from war will remain incurable -- it is a personal expression of a schizophrenic societal construction.
We award medals and promotions for killing, yet everyone does everything possible not to deal with this aspect of soldiers after their service. When they are coping with their PTSD, they are often warehoused apart from society in VA hospitals.
When people say, "Thanks for your service", do they follow up with, "Come to our house for dinner"; I wrote my Senator about vets benefits, or, "I volunteer at VA long-term care facility"? Not hardly. The words ring hollow.
Parades and speeches at national political conventions are the institutional expression of "Thanks for your service."
The word "sucker" is always omitted.