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Yesterday I replied to a meme about the military that irritated me, and I figured I’d get pushback from people telling me about the great foreign policy we have and what a wonderful institution it is.
I was wrong.
Here’s a sample of the replies I received instead:
I retired from the Marines in ’97, having been disgusted with the constant yammer of “thank you for your service,” having spent my last decade active, just trying to keep my Marines alive, able to think clearly, and not absorb the b.s. dished out daily, about “the importance of these wars.”
It’s long overdue for people like you to be telling the truth about “what we did for you,” which is mostly to produce the most dangerous time in the world, in my own lifetime. I spent a good bit of time in places where we weren’t allowed to know where we were, and only after retiring was I able to find out what we were being used for. The Marines spent lots of time “over the horizon,” as “security” for operations we weren’t to know were happening, probably like what was done in Benghazi.
It’s still embarrassing when I get thanked. I want more than anything to explain how we managed to destroy half a dozen nations, spent trillions of dollars on tons of bombs, cruise missiles — and while we didn’t kill everyone, a lot who survived weren’t very happy to see us.
I spent almost no time in the Middle East in my second decade, only because I spent much time deployed in the first, at a time when we (the U.S.) were just ramping up in preparation for the destruction. I retired with 19 years, five months, 15 days, medically retired for multiple sclerosis, and I’m glad it happened, because I was a “lifer,” believed in what I was doing, and in the beginning actually thought there was good cause for our invasions.
I don’t think I would have understood what I know now, except that I got out, and began to see news (not on TV) and got to watch Benghazi, the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, almost like a civilian, and became determined to learn why. The best I can say for myself is I thank God I was able to get out without ever killing anyone.
I can’t really describe how easy it is to “serve” without knowing how evil the work is, until one hits a certain level, and then it hits you, and you begin to question everything, or you shut down and try to pretend you don’t know you’re doing wrong.
I enlisted because it was a family tradition, military service, and I enjoyed “seeing the world.” I truly believed we were “defending the nation,” all the way till I was sent back from Iraq for having “too much deployed time,” and got to watch that war on the sidelines. I only found out how we got into it about a decade ago, and at the same time discovered that what Saddam Hussein stated as his cause for invading Kuwait was in fact true — as forces on the ground, after his death, discovered the horizontal drilling done from Kuwait into Iraq’s oil field.
I enjoy reading your work just because I know it’s the truth. It’s kind of strange, after all the years of lies. I sent dozens of good men to war for bad reasons, and all I can say about it is that I prepared them for what they would see, and I was here, when they got back, to help them deal with the blowback.
I’ve watched one close friend shut down completely, not able to deal with what he saw as a metal smith on C-130’s, not even combat. One close friend spent six ears in Iraq destroying munitions caches, as a combat engineer. He is completely oblivious to the evil side of what was done….
I dearly wish it were easier to explain how one can be oblivious to so much of the reality of war, while being caught up in the moment — which is every moment at war. As a boy, I never understood why veterans never spoke of their experience, but as a young Marine knew why, having watched Vietnam unfold, while expecting to go there in my own turn. I didn’t, but did go to Beirut, to Africa a few times, and cruised the Middle East for a few years. I look back and wonder how I missed so much that was true, yet knowing it was because each of us, all of us, were tasked with almost insuperable jobs, that literally consumed us; we were always doing too much to really see what we were enmeshed in.
I spend much time in the news, around the world, trying to tell the truths I’ve discovered in my own searches. I pray a lot now, I spend a lot of time hating this government, and the many who won’t even look up and see it for what it is. I thank God for the m.s., and forcing me out of the Corps, which was my family, for so many years, knowing “the Marines” are good, honorable Americans, but we were always doing dirty work for political purposes, never for any good purpose.
Thanks for speaking out, and stating something that needs be said, time and time again.
Thanks to that good gentleman for writing.
Down to business:
(1) I’ve just confirmed a June speaking appearance in New Hampshire and another one at FreedomFest in Las Vegas in July; details to come (I’ll release them first on the Tom Woods Show).
(2) Tomorrow night my webinar with Tom Woods Show guest Aidan Booth, on how to get into eCommerce as a newbie, is being taken down, so of course find the time to watch it: http://www.tomwoods.com/aidanreplay
Read the original article at TomWoods.com. https://tomwoods.com/well-i-was-wrong/
Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the 2019 winner of the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award from the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and host of The Tom Woods Show, which releases a new episode every weekday. Visit https://tomwoods.com
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