You are hereBlogs / Robert Fantina's blog / Veterans' Day

Veterans' Day

By Robert Fantina - Posted on 13 November 2013

Veteran’s Day is over. The sparkling parades are a vague memory, and the soaring oratory has passed. The citizenry can now return to its complacency, tossing the bright, red, plastic poppies into the trash, and picking up new ones next year.

            Yes, veterans have had their day for 2013; they’ve been lauded and applauded, given fancy dinners, and had their moment in the sun. They can return now to their families, or the local homeless shelter, where a disproportionate number of them live. They can continue their substance abuse, a problem also far worse among veterans than the rest of the population, until the next Veterans’ Day, or the next overdose. They can be left for another year to the demons that haunt so many of them, the ghosts of the dead, ‘enemies’ or comrades or innocent bystanders, the ‘collateral damage’ of war, all victims slaughtered in Europe, Asia or numerous other sites caught in the crosshairs of U.S. imperialism. For another year they can struggle with the scars, both seen and unseen. They can fight an indifferent bureaucracy, a branch of the government that sent them into mortal danger, as they attempt to get help for these scars.

            After November 11, few people need concern themselves with these trifling issues. There is always another flag to wave, another enemy to invent, another war to wage. So as World War II veterans die off, there will always be a new crop to honor one day a year, and ignore for the other three hundred and sixty-four.

            The President and members of Congress, of course, are in the forefront in bestowing short-term honors upon the men and women they send to fight their wars. Solemn ceremonies in the White House Rose Garden, with a solemn-looking commander-in-chief, flanked by soldiers, veterans and members of Congress looking for a good photo op, all offer hypocritical lip-service to the people who have done their dirty work.

            Yet what do these august elected officials do during the rest of the year to ‘honor’ veterans and current soldiers? Mainly cutting their benefits. This is done both directly and indirectly by cutting food and housing assistance programs that many veterans rely on. For example, according to Margarette Purvis, President of the Food Bank for New York City, “…about 95,000 veterans need food aid such as those offered by soup kitchens and other hunger-relief organizations. ‘On this Veterans Day, when we’re waving our flags, I need every New Yorker to know, 40 percent of New York City veterans are relying on soup kitchens and pantries. That is not a guesstimate; that is a fact.’”

Additionally, Ms. Purvis noted that with proposed cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the situation will worsen, since these cuts will result in more reliance on food banks, which may not be able to meet the need.

And what of future wars? Israel, puppet-master to the U.S., is most anxious for the U.S. to lead an invasion of Iran. One wonders how long the U.S. can delay; Israel must not be thwarted. After all, in exchange for the billions of dollars the U.S. gives to that apartheid regime, money that could instead go, perhaps, to rebuilding the U.S.’s failing infrastructure, Congressional and presidential candidates receive millions of dollars in campaign contributions through the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

One often asks oneself, ‘where will it end?’. Yet a more important questions maybe this: ‘how will it end?’. A few thoughts may help to answer this question.

1.    Military employment must be seen as what it is: enforced slavery, the purpose of which is to foster U.S. imperial goals.

2.    The true reason for U.S. wars must be exposed. This will only happen when the citizenry demands it.

3.    Corporate financial goals must cease to be more important than human rights.

4.    Human rights, which the U.S. pays lip-service to, must, in fact, be respected.

None of these requires a great amount of thought to be considered valid. A closer look at each is instructive.

1.   Enforced slavery: Young men and women enlist in the military, signing a contract, the terms of which they must keep, but the U.S. can violate with impunity. Length of service, work assignment, geographical location, etc. can all be changed without notice, at any time, with no input from the soldier impacted.

During their time in the military (this writer does not call it military ‘service’, because the only things being served are imperial and corporate goals), soldiers can be put in mortal danger, to better advance U.S. power, corporate profits, or both. They will have no say in the decisions to put them there.

2.  The true reasons for war: Advancing human rights, protecting U.S. citizens, or bringing freedom to an oppressed people are the usual reasons given for U.S. wars. In Iraq and Afghanistan, oil accessibility was the reason; the people of both nations are far worse off today than prior to U.S. ‘liberation’. A study of all the U.S.’s earlier wars finds either an industrial or power catalyst, or both, for each of them.

But facts must not be allowed to get in the way, when one has the opportunity to wrap oneself in the flag, and watch other people march off to die. Why look at government lies when the national anthem is playing, and jingoistic tears are coming to one’s eyes?

3.  Profits over people: There has rarely been a war waged by the U.S. that hasn’t been fought to enrich corporate coffers. Even during World War II, the U.S. allowed select U.S. companies to continue doing business with Axis powers, business that assisted those nations in waging war. The goal was not liberty and freedom; the goal was enriching the bottom line.

4. Human rights violations: There are few countries on the planet with as dismal a record of human rights support as the U.S. Certainly, many other countries brutally oppress more of their own citizens, but the U.S. is complicit in such oppression around the world. To say that the U.S. sends its soldiers to support liberty would be laughable, were it not so tragic. These same soldiers are denied the very rights the U.S. claims to hold sacred.

Cruel tyrants who support U.S. corporate and imperial goals are given financial support, while democratically-elected governments that lean too far to the left to please the U.S. are destabilized and/or overthrown, making way for murderous regimes to take over, repressing free speech and killing their opposition. It is said, each time that an overthrow has been exposed as having been perpetrated by the U.S., that it was done in the name of that holy grail, ‘national security’.

            The U.S. has done an excellent job of keeping its citizens uninformed and misinformed; a more informed citizenry would never tolerate the bloody steam roller that is the U.S. Corporate-owned media, hand-in-hand with the government, covers, emphasizes or ignores world events, depending on their importance to the twin gods of power and profit.

            This can only end when the U.S. citizenry wakes up. Sadly, there is little to indicate that that will happen anytime soon.

Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.