As Americans don their flags and lay flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, wars rage on as neocons plot more of them. Despite hot air being blown into microphones behind teleprompters read by politicians who will never put themselves in any danger, these wars will be carried out by troops who the government treats like pawns on a chessboard. Proving just how little the government thinks of these men and women who risk their lives to fight their wars, the Commander in Chief of these troops, Donald Trump has yet to even visit a single one of these war zones.
It's not like Trump doesn't love the military. As TFTP previously reported, he loves them so much that he plans on forcing them to put on a parade to satisfy his militaristic desires as he channels his inner soldier and pumps out his chest in the most patriotic manner possible.
In March—despite an unofficial poll conducted by the Military Times finding that 90% of people do not want a parade—Trump promised to flex the US empire anyway.
While visiting the troops in war zones is purely symbolic, the fact that Trump has refused to go to Iraq or Afghanistan even once in his year and a half in office—despite constantly threatening to use the men and women of the armed forces on a whim—speaks to the level of detachment within the establishment.
War is the plight of mankind that is perpetually waged by cowards too afraid to send themselves or their own children into harm's way, but who do not hesitate to send the poor or 'patriotic.'
When the state is done with its pawns of empire, it disposes of them like spent military gear. They then become unable to get the proper care they need for illness and injury related to their service. If they try to self-medicate to cope with the subsequent PTSD from being forced to brutally occupy a foreign country, these veterans have their children taken, face life in prison, or worse.
It is also important to point out that if Trump really supported the troops and wanted to honor the fallen ones—he'd bring all the alive ones home, today.
If Trump really supported the troops, he'd end all the wars.
If the establishment really wanted to support the troops, it would stop using them as pawns in the spread of empire and the expansion of the military-industrial complex.
If you really want to support the troops and veterans, how about we address the fact that tens of thousands of them sleep on the streets every single night in the country they offered up their lives for.
Instead of chest pumping and back patting or even traveling to a war zone, if Trump wants to support the troops and veterans and honor the fallen ones, he should start by addressing the problems plaguing them right now. Sadly, none of this has happened.
When 307,000 veterans die waiting for care they were promised by this country as the president gloats over military equipment while playing a hundred rounds of golf, something is seriously wrong.
When the entire country looks the other way while there over 40,000 veterans living on the streets with no home as the president forces active duty military members to put on a show for him, something is seriously wrong.
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When Americans remain silent as a veteran kills himself or herself every 65 minutes, every single day, every single month, of every single year as troops and humvees parade down Pennsylvania Avenue celebrating the war that caused these deaths, it's time to seriously consider a national conversation about what "support the troops" really means. And no parade or visit to a war zone will ever do that.
To those who have read all the way to this point without writing this off as some anti-Trump pro-Obama piece, good job. Although Barack Obama did visit war zones in his first year—he still created more of them.
Like Trump, Obama, and Bush before him, and Clinton before him, had no problem using our sons, daughters, mothers and fathers to further the agendas of his corrupt puppet masters.
It is important to point out that this is not some unAmerican tirade to lambast the military, genuinely caring about the lives of others—including the men and women of the armed services—involves critical thought and the ability to question one's own government, especially war.
Indeed, after his retirement from the Marine Corps, Major General Smedley D. Butler felt the same way when he made a nationwide tour in the early 1930s giving his speech "War is a Racket." What separates Butler from other historical military figures is that he is one of only 19 people in history to win the Medal of Honor—twice. So, when a highly decorated, two-star general takes to the stage to assert that war is a racket, people listen -- most people, anyway.
In one of his speeches, Butler decried war and pointed out how so many people died just to benefit a very small 'inside' group. The speech read in part,
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
Butler knew he was being used as a pawn for the military too, and pointed it out, often. It is important to remember that Butler was saying this about WWI and WWII which were arguably far more justifiable than the wars started over lies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, that premise is exceedingly more obvious.
I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.
Decades later, in 2016, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson courageously backed up Butler in an extended interview, noting, "I think Smedley Butler was onto something."
"Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO – after George H.W. Bush and James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that he wouldn’t go an inch further east – was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapons sales?" Wilkerson asked. "You bet it was," he answered.
Wilkerson pointed out that the military industrial complex "is much more pernicious than Eisenhower ever thought it would be," pointing to Lockheed Martin’s role in providing arms to repressive Middle Eastern regimes like Saudi Arabia and increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula—just like Trump is doing now.
So, while Trump is certainly hypocritical for refusing to visit the troops in war zones, remember that symbolically supporting the troops through public appearances is little more than vacuous lip service when you come back to Washington and cave to the military industrial complex in the deep state who treats them like cannon fodder for the empire.