Thursday, November 11, 2010

A tribute to our veterans

On this veterans day, observed while two wars are being fought by US servicemen and women,here is what President Obama says in his proclamation:

On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.
In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm’s way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation’s finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so. Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.
Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.
America’s sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.
As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our service members and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day, let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for.

I certainly agree.

We might also note that this is not a proclamation praising Blackwater or Haliburton or any of the other private contractors who have grown richer as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

America has always had its war profiteers. Washington and Lincoln had to deal with them. By contrast, Bush and Cheney seemed to embrace them. Indeed, we should recall on this Veterans Day, that Cheney, who never served in the military, was in the employ of Haliburton between his stints as Secretary of Defense under George I and Vice President under (over?) George II. The story is that he left Haliburton with tens of millions of dollars in his bulging pockets when he re-entered politics in 2000. What a surprise, then, that Haliburton won contracts worth billions in the "War on Terror."

So, while we join with President Obama in saluting our vets and our active-duty soldiers, sailors and airmen, let's take a moment to figuratively urinate on those who have lined their pockets during these wars --- a questionable, if not criminal, war in the case of Iraq --- while thousands of young Americans have been maimed and killed in the service of the nation.

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