In Memoriam: War

05/24/2008 11:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Memorial Day the soldiers who lost their lives in service to this country are honored.

But what if the memorial is tainted, that the wrong wars are being fought by those whose valor is being used for a less than noble agenda?

America's involvement in Iraq has gone on longer than World War Two and yet the stakes could not be more dissimilar. In the mid 1950's when Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex making the country in its image, subsequent wars lost their essential meaning and became a means not to secure freedom but to ensure profit, like all concepts co-opted and retooled by usurpers with dollar signs for eyes and stones for hearts. They see something real, add obscene amounts of sweetener and mass produce it. And the soldier who was once branded in madness as a baby killer is now glorified as a saint, an angel in camouflage and their service is being used by the Chicken Hawks In Chief as a guilt inducing distraction. The monuments both of stone and of flesh are sullied by those who have propagated this current war of convenience and who see only profit in its perpetuation. Because it is a turf war, a braggart's war, a who-has-the-biggest-dick war, the Mother of All Oil Wars war. A sick, unjust perversion being waged as I write this, as you read this. It is just another substandard outsourced product, being sold by cynical manufacturers of maladies and corrupt concoctors of cures, bought by a nation of consumers too guilty to stop buying the line, unable to shake their shame for having once treated a previous generation of warriors like shit when they, like their current incarnations, were only following the rules of the game.

Where are the wars to stop genocidal madmen armed with machetes? Those wars which would be unanimously backed by an America newly awakened to the real world and fought gladly by our ennobled young warriors if only to free those caught in the true, bloody, grip of terror that reigns in places like Rwanda, Somalia, Angola, Sudan? To reclaim the displaced people in the middle east? To rebuild, to feed, to reunite the families, the children, the intellectuals, the farmers, the artists, the elderly being butchered by real enemies to liberty and peace? This should be the mission of our brave soldiers, this the cause in which they might fall. But it would be too costly to the profiteers, the Halliburtons, the Blackwaters, the BushCos. A conscientious approach to the war in Iraq would force their consumers to read the ingredients before they shove it down their throats. So think of the young men and women falling. Just don't think of why.

The war in Iraq is really being sold as The War to Forget War, where its simplistic ring-around-the-collar reasons are trotted out by earnest, well-paid spokesmen; where pictures of flag-draped caskets are hidden from view; where death tolls for Iraqis are snickered at and suppressed; where returning veterans are shelved in the attic. It is the war where generals try to do their duty to their commanders and their country and testify on its behalf but who resign or are kicked away when they discover the fraud of their mission and the waste of their brave charges. It is a war of corporations, a war between brands, a battle between Quisp and Quake; it is war as a game, war as a tactic, war as a ploy. It is a bait and switch for suckers. It is the very perversion of war.

This Memorial Day let us remember not only our courageous fallen but the seventy five percent of those innocents caught in the crossfire of war. And this Memorial Day let us remember war itself and what it has become in the hands of those who want us to forget.