Check what time it is wherever you are. Then wait an hour. Chances are by the time that hour has passed, another US military veteran will have taken his life. Yes, his. The victims, checking out 22 times a day, one every 65 minutes, are overwhelmingly male; just like the ones that die in combat.
Forbes Magazine ran a report on this back in February of this year. In it they showed an image of a lone veteran standing in a clearing wearing a sandwich board that was not quite up to modern realities at a mere 18 suicides a day.
This is not counting the active duty suicides, which happen on average of once a day, according to data released by the Pentagon.
And of course the Veterans Administration is handling the epidemic with its usual efficiency. According to a recent report in USA today, it takes longer than VAs targeted two weeks, an abhorrent goal for the circumstances, to initiate psychiatric care for veterans with mental and emotional problems, including those that are contemplating eating a gun. It is more than a month before they can get these troubled veterans in to see a psychiatrist.
As a veteran, I quit letting the VA anywhere near my body after experiencing their quality of care a few times, which is to say after they nearly killed me. But as a civilian I could be in front of a psychiatrist to complain about feminists or bad service at a restaurant if I wanted to within a day or so. All it would take is the insurance card from a civilian provider in my wallet or some cash.
The military has taken some measures to help veterans while they wait to be seen. They set up a hot line, and according to Forbes they claim to have saved 26,000 lives on the telephone. I am sure it was at comparatively nominal expense to taxpayers, though we have to assume that we are talking about taxpayers gullible enough to believe that a phone center actually prevented 26,000 men from killing themselves.
May I suggest that despite the valiant and very economical efforts of our federal government to do the equivalent of handing out aspirin for brain tumors, there may be another way? There may be a viable plan to help men who are serving their country, and the corporations that run it, at their tragic expense.
It is called peace. Yes, peace. Such a notion is only pollyannish if you think American wars are waged for noble reasons or to save democracy.
If, on the other hand, you think wars are waged over money and power and that there are probably options for world commerce that don’t require acts of genocide and destruction, then it should make you wonder a few things, like how many soldiers who did not have to walk over the bloody, scattered limbs of children in the course of their day job might come home with less need for a suicide hot-line.
How many soldiers would later commit suicide if they did not have the gory deaths of their brothers-in-arms, friendships forged in heat of battle where brotherhood gains desperate meaning, burned into their memories so badly that they cannot escape the images even in their sleep — or in the bottom of a bottle?
How many men would not be dead, right now, if they did not return from a war they did not start to find divorce papers waiting for them and their children calling some stranger “Daddy”; to being branded as a risk, to their children, to society, and relegated to being worth nothing more than a paycheck as a direct result of making sacrifices for “their country”?
How many men have served and served and served, till they were served up?
We have made a national pastime, not just of illicit, imperialist wars, but of sitting through government propaganda smiling like bobble-head dolls, faithfully listening to public relations hacks tell the American public how we care about veterans; of all the lives we are saving with a fucking telephone, as the bodies piled up on our own shores, and at our own feet.
There were protests? My ass. Modern Republicans never saw a coffin that did not look better draped in a flag. Democrats only raised a slight stink until their guy took the oval office. Since then they have either become hawks or very, very quiet doves. This country cares nothing about our veterans. It cares a lot more about the politics of these wars than the men dying in them.
And here we sit with the answer to all of it that almost nobody wants to hear. We will repeat this indecency and repeat it again and again and again until the MHRM finds a way to catch fire and help people understand, force them if we have to, that the soldiers we so cheerfully offer up to the meat grinder of American politics are human beings that have better things to do than be torn to shreds and tossed to the curb.
I have heard some Americans bemoan the way our government treats veterans. They will tell you that we should spare no expense in taking care of their shattered bodies and minds when we are done using them. I am so sick of their phony concern and false, empty rhetoric.
When we find a way to actually have a man’s life be worth one shred more to the average person than the selfish use they imagine they have for it, then we will have found a way to take human civilization to the next level of being human.
Until then, forget about it. People will find their reasons. They will pontificate on matters of resources, and world politics. They will hide behind alliances, even with tyrants and terrorists, as a reason that more American men should suffer and bleed.
Or, as with most Americans, they will decide whether men should suffer and die based solely on whether whichever whore got their vote wants a war to happen.
And of course they will speak of glory and heroics and patriotism and every other tried and tested mind-fuck with which men have been duped into killing and dying for centuries.
To our national disgrace they will spend this day paying homage to the carnage and the pure human evil that created it.
If you are interested in my Veteran’s Day message, and even if you are not, that is it from me as a veteran. Tear it to shreds with petty politics and other foolishness if you will. But please do me the favor when you are done. Kindly wipe the blood from your hands on something other than the back of this movement. The movement to which I belong has no blame to bear, and nothing to celebrate on this day. Only the hope that compassion for men will lead to something better.