It's Memorial Day weekend and all across America there are flag waving parades and events honoring our soldiers for their service to our country. They've paid a horrific price in terms of lives lost and debilitating injuries.
AP is reporting that nearly half of our veterans (the vets that didn't return home in a body bag) are on disability because of their war related injuries.
Almost half of new vets seek disability
A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press. What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.
Before they went off to fight in Afghanistan, the guys of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines talked quietly about their deepest fear. Not dying. Not losing a leg or an arm.
It was having their genitals ripped off, burned away or crushed in the fiery blast of an improvised explosive device.
This was no idle concern to young men bursting with testosterone. The makeshift bombs known as IEDs are taking a frightening toll in Afghanistan, the blasts shearing off arms and legs, ripping through soft flesh, crushing organs and bone, and driving dirt, rocks and filth deep into torn flesh -- often leaving the genitals shredded or missing. Some guys said they'd rather be dead.
Mark Litynski, a 23-year-old rifleman with Lima Company, knew the odds. He'd been married to Heather for almost a year, and children were in the future they planned together.
I ought to freeze my sperm so we could still have kids if something happened, he thought.
The idea nagged at him. But in the rush of last-minute training before they packed their sea bags and weapons and then took a few days of boisterous leave, he kept putting it off. Where do you go to freeze your sperm, anyway? Who would you even ask?
By the time they loaded on the buses at Camp Pendleton, it was too late. Should have done it, Mark thought as they boarded the plane in September 2010.
Weeks later, Mark was on a combat patrol in Sangin, southern Afghanistan, walking behind an engineer sweeping for IEDs, marking their path with yellow spraypaint. IED detectors aren't foolproof. There came a bright flash and searing heat, then the upward blast ripped off both of Mark's legs and most of his left arm, slashing into his remaining arm, shattering his pelvis and driving a rock and other debris up into his abdominal cavity.
Amid the bloody carnage, all the skin was ripped from his penis and his testicles were gone.
Read the rest here.
The unconstitutional and never ending wars are also responsible for our economic decline because they are literally bankrupting America. Foreign policy analysts Chris Hellman and Mattea Kramer over at TomDispatch.com estimate that military and war expenditures subsequent to 9/11 total nearly $8 trillion, here.
Every empire in human history eventually bites the dust and the American Empire is also destined to implode just like every other empire before it. That's a guarantee that is practically a law of physics.
It's long over due for Americans to honestly and morally reflect on our foreign policy, a foreign policy that has nothing whatsoever to do with national security. The nations that we bomb and the folks that we kill have no capacity whatsoever to threaten the US or to harm us in any way. Yet the government propaganda machine that is aided and abetted by our severely demented media continues spew the outrageous lies that folks in some two bit third world nation without armies, navies, an air force, tanks and sophisticated weaponry are somehow a threat to the biggest and most advanced military ever to exist in human history.
Is this what Americans want? Are we trying to out-Hitler Hitler in our quest for world domination? Has the US replaced Nazi Germany as the most evil empire in modern history? It's certainly no coincidence that America, a nation that once gloriously enshrined and cherished civil liberties, has morphed into a Nazified Police State.
If this is a legacy that we aspire to and genuflect before, then all I can say is God help us. We've become the evil that propels the Evil Empire.
No, I won't be celebrating Memorial Day or doing any flag waving. The American flag no longer even stands for anything moral, righteous, humane, noble or honorable.