Damn it! I like being snarky and funny. But this subject makes me stone-cold serious.
While the world recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day and President Donald Trump found a few hypocritical words to say about the U.S.' everlasting bond with its allies, I had a difficult time not puking up my lunch. Captain Bone Spurs—a man who avoided service by providing a fraudulent doctor's diagnosis—lauded the sacrifices of the war's dead, searching for the heart-felt trace of sentiment that had gone down the toilet with his morning dump.
Although his words were less than moving, I felt nothing but sorrow for the men at Omaha Beach, and for all the young men over the course of history who have suffered the horror of war. Let's face it; all but a few of them were no more than boys, subjected to a level of fear and trauma that no human being should have to endure. I felt compelled to ask the nagging, enduring question: "When will they ever learn?"
But, wait just a minute; I must be confused; I thought that the First and Second world wars were to be the ones that would put an end to war altogether. Instead, we're finding our entire planet mired, ever since, in a seamless history of war on almost every continent, and there is certainly no end in sight. It's safe to say that there are more armed conflicts in the world right now than in all previous eras of its history.
The U.S. has certainly done its share of meddling in global affairs, stirring up strife whenever profitable. And the Trump administration, irrespective of its two-faced show of human sympathy—and though it tries to duck responsibility for John Bolton's saber-rattling—is actively drumming up support to involve our country in even more wars. Why? At least, in part, because war and rumors of war can serve as an effective distraction from the revelations of the Mueller Report and White House corruption, and because the Industrial-Military Complex is demanding more mayhem and death in order to feed its insatiable appetite for the filthy lucre that funds almost all political campaigns.
Sadly, religion and ethnicity are used as catalysts in fomenting most of the world's armed conflicts. But, somewhere in the equation, there's always the factor of pure and simple greed.
Although Dwight D. Eisenhower, POTUS No. 34, had been a stunningly capable military leader, he was not a particularly memorable president. Perhaps his greatest legacy is in his farewell address, wherein he prophetically warned of the threat of the military-industrial complex and how it is largely money—"... gravely to be regarded"—that dictates whom we will fight and whom we will destroy.
It seems that there are no enduring solutions to the problem. Behind every war is the greed of powerful men, and the sad reality is that the liars, plotters and spinners in Washington will always continue to serve their real master—the mega-rich and the industries they control.
And so, since no one else in the U.S. seems to have an answer, I have a proposal I'd like to present. Everyone is going to choke when I say it; but it really could be a long-term solution to end the history of U.S. involvement in armed conflicts.
Here's the plan: Make military service compulsory for all Americans, men and women alike. (Israel has done it and it works.) Along with that, there must be no deferments, except for the most extreme physical and mental handicaps—Stage 3 bone spurs don't count. Stiff criminal penalties, including prison time—should be imposed for any person (or their physician) who falsifies a handicap report for the purpose of allowing a person to duck military service.
No free passes. That's the program. (Yes, little Barron and Tiffany will have to shower with all the Hispanics and blacks their father considers society's dregs.) So will Arabella Rose Kushner, Donald Trump III, and all of Mitch McConnell's grandkids.)
When the country's privileged finally have "skin in the game," voilà, the problem is solved. No one wants to contemplate their children and grandchildren being marched off to war, and especially taking their last shallow breaths on some remote battlefields.
The problem of greed will never be solved. But, when it comes to the rich, entitled and powerful, the only way to stop them from involving our country in armed conflicts is to hit them where it hurts. If Americans don't want more wars, the enactment of a compulsory military service law would be a good start.
The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org