Undoubtedly good-intentioned, the concert organizers’ effort to “honor” veterans — much like the purpose of Veterans Day itself — has some veterans responding there are better ways to do that.
For some that means getting out of the endless war “in order to ensure that my children and grandchildren – and, by the way, YOUR children and grandchildren – won’t have to go thousands of miles away from home and kill innocent people, or be killed by those same people defending their homes, in an endless struggle for control of oil and other natural resources.”
“I’m a veteran, and I don’t want your thanks,” wrote Rob Howard, a 14-year U.S. Navy Veteran, calling Veterans Day “Another opportunity for the Empire to beat its war drums and fly its battle flags and remind people of how noble and honorable it is to wage perpetual warfare upon people thousands of miles away who look and believe differently than we do.”
More than 6,800 service members have been killed since the 9/11 attacks and more than 220,000 civilians have shared the same fate. Meanwhile 100,000 service members have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and another 250,000-plus have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury.
The unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and the war on terror is currently 7.2 percent. While that’s lower than the 10 percent from last year, it’s still higher than the national rate of 5.8 percent. Women veterans are faring worse with an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent and more than 20 percent of veterans under the age of 25 years old are unemployed.
“Since 9/11, those thank yous have been aimed at veterans with the regularity of the machine gun fire that may still haunt their dreams,” wrote Rory Fanning, an Army veteran who served two tours. “Veterans have also been offered special consideration when it comes to applications for mostly menial jobs so that they can 'utilize the skills' they learned in the military. While they continue to march in those welcome home parades and have concerts organized in their honor, the thank yous are in no short supply. The only question that never seems to come up is: What exactly are they being thanked for?”
While many of those hundreds of thousands of spectators may not be asking that of themselves, Bruce Springsteen managed to get one message to the crowd by performing Fortunate Son, the antiwar song released by Creedence Clearwater Revival during the Vietnam War.
Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war,
Lord And when you ask them,
"How much should we give?"
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more,
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no millionaire's son, no,
no It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no fortunate one, no
Neo-con media didn’t miss the chance to try to paint Bruce Springsteen as “anti-troop,” failing to see that “pro-war” is not the same as being “pro-troop” and Springsteen and honorable veterans Bob Howard and Rory Fanning are so pro-troop they are anti-war.
Asking young American men and women to fight useless and unjust wars is not honoring our veterans regardless of how many concerts and parades we hold.