A Veteran’s “State of the Troops” address on the 10th anniversary of September 11th

Note: I served in the U.S. Air Force from 2000-2007. My AFSC was 3C0X1 (Communications computer systems operator). My highest rank was E-5 (Staff Sergeant), and I received an honorable discharge.

Part 1: An address to the American public. If you finish reading everything I have to say about the military and you think I’m not on the troop’s side, you missed the entire point. I’ll summarize my point of view by saying that the U.S. military treats the troops inhumanely. It would be considered a human rights disaster if anyone else in the world treated anyone else in the world the way governments (in particular, The United States of America) treats its military personnel. The way the U.S. military treats its troops is in violation of the universal declaration of human rights and many other laws both foreign and domestic.

The American government and the American public are complicit in these human rights abuses. The America public has quietly accepted that in order to get one person to kill another person you need to break all the rules free, civil society is based on. The American people understand that troops are systematically brainwashed, treated like 2nd class citizens and have 99% of their civil liberties, freedoms and rights voided. They know it, and they’re paying all the bills to make sure it keeps happening every day.

So no America, you do not support the troops no matter how many yellow ribbon car magnets you buy. Saying you do is just insult to injury. The only reason everyone calls troops heroes is because the government has very consciously orchestrated a spectacular, highly funded charade. Without all the propaganda, all the commercials, all the pop culture references and all the memorabilia we wouldn’t go along with pretending our troops are gladiators fighting for honor, glory and righteous causes in the Coliseum. We would see that our troops literally are the political equivalent of Roman gladiators who are owned, trained, lied to, systematically instilled with battered person syndrome and sent to die for the benefit of their owners under false pretenses…and when they can’t be duped into marching to their death proudly they’re simply forced to go against their will with a gun to their head.

On some level we all know this, and if you don’t, you do now. So now that it’s been said, you have to ask yourself, what’s the best way you can support the troops if there’s a fraction of a chance that a fraction of this is true? I’ll give you a hint. None of the following excuses help anyone:

“The troops knew what they were getting into when they signed up.”

“The troops volunteered. So they can’t complain.”

“They took an oath. End of discussion.”

“It’s not for them to question why but to do and die.”

If those excuses are valid then all it takes to create a second class citizen is a signature. The United States Military perpetuates the precedent that as long as you can get someone to sign a piece of paper then it’s perfectly acceptable for the government to erase all the civil rights humans have fought and died for throughout human history. Think about that next time you sign a civilian job contract that waives away all your rights to any kind of legal protection from your employer no matter what they do to you or how badly you get hurt on the job as a result of their negligence. You don’t have any right to complain about that because you set the precedent that paper is worth more than human life when you turned your back on the troops.

The great irony of the United States Military is that it claims to fight to protect people from being forced to live under the same conditions it forces its troops to live under. That’s the irony behind your “support the troops” car magnet. You should replace it with a magnet that says, “Through hypocritical, Orwellian doublespeak, willful ignorance, flimsy excuses and apathy against the rights of my fellow human beings, I support government-sponsored brainwashing, slavery, the erosion of civilian rights and unaccountable government authority.”

Part 2: An address to the American troops. The way you’re being treated is tragic, and the military has put conscious effort into lying to you so that you won’t see it or believe it even when it’s pointed out to you. You practiced marching drills in basic training even though you never march in formation on the battlefield because marching teaches you to lose your identity in the group; it’s a well-documented and time tested brainwashing technique. So are your ranks, medals and “customs and courtesies.” You take your hat off when you walk outside and put in on when you go inside as a constant reminder that every moment of your life belongs to your leaders. You’re forced to call your “superiors” “sir” and “ma’am” as a constant reminder that your will is worth less than theirs. A true leader, someone worth following, would never say, “Salute me out of respect or I’ll send you to jail and end your career.” A leader worth following would never tell you, “It’s not for you to question why but to do and die.” Only an abusive manipulator would say that to another human being. We were all born equal. Every breath we take, we take as equals, and we’ll die as equals. Anyone who tells you differently is not your friend and not worthy of respect.

I understand that many troops volunteered for pure, selfless, heroic reasons. Even the troops whose primary motive in signing up was a steady pay check, I understand that you sleep well at night believing that, incidentally, you support truth, justice, freedom and peace. I understand that if it came down to it, most of you would literally, willingly step in front of a bullet for the sake of the civilian population. I can’t thank you enough for the sentiment.

The thing about that is, what you’re doing right now is accomplishing the opposite of what your leaders promised you it would. They know that. That’s why they won’t allow you to question them. It’s not because there’s no time to explain. It’s not because global politics are too hard for you to understand. It’s not because there’s anything truly heroic about not thinking for yourself. It’s certainly not because your leaders are so righteous that questioning their integrity or intelligence would be an exercise in futility. You’re told not to exercise or trust your own ability to reason because the more you do that, the more likely you’ll come to the logical realization that your leadership has systematically constructed an elaborate bubble around you and is lying to you to get you to do someone else’s dirty work that violates your strict code of ethics and honor. While you’re busying hating me for saying this, your leadership is laughing at you all the way to the bank.

I know I’m attacking all the beliefs you hold dear, but you have to see that I’m doing it because my heart bleeds for the troops. Having said that, I have one more hard thing to say. You don’t have any excuse for supporting an unjust war. Not at this point.

I was an Airman First Class stationed in Aviano, Italy on September 11th, 2001. That day we went into Threatcon Delta and scrambled our fighter jets not knowing which direction to look for the next incoming attack. We were scared and confused, but we did our jobs and we didn’t ask questions because there wasn’t time for second guessing. Not long after that our flight line was full of C-130s sending troops to Northern Iraq. We didn’t fully understand why we were sending troops to Iraq, but our president promised us that we were the good guys, the terrorists hated our freedoms, Saddam had WMDs and he posed an imminent threat to the American public. I was skeptical until General Colin Powell explained the whole situation in detail with pictures. Then, even though I couldn’t turn a corner in Italy without seeing 50 “Pace” (Peace) flags insinuating I was monster, I had faith in our leaders. So I did my job and slept soundly.

It’s been 10 years now, and the verdict is in. The WMDs were a lie. Iraq had nothing to do with September 11th. Saddam Hussein was never even a remote threat to the American people. The chemical weapons he used on his people, he bought from America. Since Saddam was removed from power more Iraqis have died as a result of America’s actions than Saddam Hussein’s did or could have. The Iraqi people want America out of their country. The American occupation in the Middle East isn’t protecting anyone’s freedoms, and it’s not making the world safe from terrorism. The American occupation in the Middle East has created living conditions in those countries worth fighting against. It’s scary there, and it’s making people hate America who otherwise wouldn’t have. The actions of the American military are creating terrorists and bankrupting America.

And that’s just what the American military is actively doing. The other, less publicized side of the coin is what the American military is passively preventing from happening. Palestinians are living in Holocaust-conditions. They’re being ethnically cleansed. Boats full of aid workers trying to reach the victims are being shot at and blockaded by Israel. Yet the world stands by and watches in horror because every nation in the world knows that if they step in to help then America will turn its gargantuan, unquestioning military on them.

The world economy is strangled in economic policies and embargoes held in place by the threat of American military “intervention.” All the while murderous dictators are given free rein to step on the rights and lives of their people as long as they play ball with America. Threat of American military intervention keeps millions (if not billions) of people trapped in poverty, misery, fear, despair, indignity and danger every day.

These aren’t conspiracy theories. These claims consistently make front page news, not just in the “lame stream, left-wing, American media” but in every media outlet around the entire globe. Everyone is talking about it everywhere. Hundreds, if not thousands of books have been written about it, and world leaders weigh it in their decisions every day. The world practically revolves around it. This means that the American troops no longer have the luxury of feigning ignorance by saying, “I was just following orders.” “I trust my leaders.” “I was just doing my duty.” “It’s not my place to question.” “There’s no time to ask questions.” “The verdict is still out.” No. The verdict is in. I’m sorry, but you’re not acting like good guys even if the intention is there.

Your duty to your current employer doesn’t supersede your duty to humanity no matter what oaths they handed you to recite. It’s your responsibility to question your actions. When someone tells you to kill someone else, the only correct response is, “I’m going to research this issue to the core of the onion and second guess myself right up to the last moment.” That’s called holding yourself accountable, and that’s a cornerstone of maturity. Suicidal servitude is not.

It’s not like you’re going to have to do some deep, dark soul searching to even face the possibility that the official Disney version of recent history as told by the United States Military Public Affairs Office is bullshit. In fact, I wouldn’t believe any troop who says the idea never occurred to them. I expect most troops understand this truth better than most civilians. I know that 70% of the conversations that take place in military smoke pits every day are about how much the military sucks and how it cuts its own throat with its broken, outdated, backwards bureaucracy. The troops know better than anyone that military bureaucracy is a wasteful menace kept afloat because it’s such a lucrative cash cow. On some level all the troops know this is true. The question is, when will you fully admit that the giant, bloody elephant in the room that everyone (even you) is talking about is real?

As long as that bloody elephant stays in the room you don’t have the right to sleep well at night. Don’t get mad at me for pointing out the obvious. Get mad at your leadership for misleading you and putting you in that position. And don’t tell me, “I don’t agree with you, but thanks to my sacrifices you have the luxury to say those ignorant, disgusting things.” No. your sacrifices have not secured my freedoms in any way. In fact, the citizens you claim to be protecting have lost significant freedoms, liberties and dignities on your watch. And you know who took those freedoms from the people you were supposed to be protecting. Your leaders did. I’m afraid to even bring it up in public, because I’m afraid of those leaders and the unquestioning military force they control. I accept that I’m probably on a no-fly list despite (or because of) the fact that I’m a very vocal advocate of freedom, equality and nonviolence. I haven’t tested that theory because I have too much pride to fly and allow myself to be violated by the TSA. So no. You don’t get to dismiss any criticism of the military, its leaders or its personnel by claiming to fight for anyone’s freedoms. I wish you could, but your leaders took that card away from you and wiped their asses with it.

When I was enlisted I didn’t have the courage to consciously object and go to jail for standing up for truth, justice and freedom. I wish I had so I could ask the same of you today. I understand your fear of your employer. So I urge you, don’t reenlist. Get out as soon as possible. Talk others out of joining. Starve the military industrial war complex of its slaves and make the world a safer place for everyone.

However you felt about this blog, you’ll probably feel the same way about these:

One response to “A Veteran’s “State of the Troops” address on the 10th anniversary of September 11th

  • Ben

    I don’t know if the author reads these comments, but if he does, I would just like to say “thank you for writing such a powerful and well-spoken article. It’s real, it’s genuine and more people need to consider what’s going on in the world, especially when we’re over there in the mix of things causing a huge majority of this ruckus and instability and claiming that we’re doing it to keep the world a ‘safer place’.” In my eyes, the author is a hero for being brave enough to speak up about this and trying to invoke human sentiments in others.

    Cheers to you, random guy on the internet!


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