U.S. veterans since 1954, when America took over the war in Vietnam after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, may be tragic figures but we are not heroes needing tax breaks. 

It is not heroic to be the instrument of a government which illegally and immorally invades and occupies other countries, decimates its population and its culture, destroys its infrastructure and leaves genetic destruction in its wake through defoliants and depleted uranium. That is not heroic, but it is tragic for all concerned.

Since 1954, the U.S. has attacked or invaded countries or groups who originally were our allies, who we created or maintained, or who we aided and abetted in their wars against others. Our military excursions have exclusively been choices on our part. The freedom, safety, and sovereignty of this country have never been in question.

And if you are going to tell me that 19 Saudi’s and one Egyptian flying planes into U.S.buildings was an act of war by Afghanistan and Iraq, then you need some serious remedial education.

Homeless veterans (some 500,000 every day) do not need tax breaks. Veterans in prisons and jails (Vietnam veterans made up the largest minority federal prison population in the 1970’s and 80’s – thanks for the help) do not need tax breaks. Veterans with drug, alcohol, and behavioral problems from combat do not need tax breaks. Their broken families and children do not need tax breaks. 

We need homes. We need help with our lifelong physical and mental health issues from days, months and years of hunting and being hunted by other human beings. We need the VA to be abolished and we need to be given medical credit cards so that we can be cared for at home by people we know and trust, and where we can have the support of our families and friends (get a letter lately from your hospital saying you need to come in and be checked for HIV/AIDS because they were not sterilizing their equipment correctly, as hundreds of VA-using veterans like me have?). 

We need education and job skills (killing people and blowing up buildings are not good on a resume). We have a host of needs, many of which will never be resolved for us, we know, because they can’t be – we will always have to live with them, and “just suck it up” (grandpa never talked about the war) helps as little as “just say no.”

Veterans certainly do not need mindless politicians falling all over themselves trying to one up each other being the best little fascist they can be by bestowing gifts on veterans. Sometimes I think I am in 1920’s Italy where Mussolini and the Pope fashioned a militaristic fascist state – how’d that work out? Does your minister pray for God to be on our side and to protect our invaders? 

And veterans really don’t need holier-than-thou people with their trite “thanks for your service” smugly looking down their noses while lecturing others about how invading soldiers are somehow keeping us safe and free. What we veterans really need is for you to quit creating us.

 

(Watson is a former combat Marine, disabled Vietnam veteran, and environmental activist who makes his living in the wastewater industry.)