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Forgetting

Forgetting

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Published by Jack Schimmelman
A plea for healing our wounded vets who sometimes carry their trauma invisibly.
A plea for healing our wounded vets who sometimes carry their trauma invisibly.

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Published by: Jack Schimmelman on May 29, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/31/2012

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Forgetting©By Jack Schimmelman
We forget the day after remembering. Memorial Day passes withparades, grave pronouncements, visits to unknown soldiers’ tombs andso much more. We honor those who have served. We remember.And we keep on forgetting. We forget the neighbor’s son or daughterwho signed up because they could not get a job, but their Uncle Samuelhas promised a straight path to employment once they are dischargedfrom the service.We gather live bodies and minds that still function and train them to bekillers. Killers must not empathize with the enemy. The inability toempathize with another human being is one trait of a sociopath. Yet weare proud they have served. We do not tell our neighbor that ourgovernment has declared war without a true reason, but only for anabstract political theory about how to control the Middle East. Orperhaps it is another theory. Who knows? We certainly don’t. Thosepoliticians who make their momentous speeches on special occasionssend our children, parents, and in some cases, grandparents, to war.And during these two wars, many have been deployed several times. Atthe same time they plot a war on poor people in this country. When didthe War on Poverty become the War on the Poor? As this “poor” warheats up, more bodies seek to become cannon fodder for those whohave helped make it harder to survive. Let us make a new rule. If Congress wishes to declare war, their children must serve first. Not anoriginal thought, but on point.Despite these futile circumstances we honor those who have returned.Ghosts increasingly walk our cities, farms, suburbs and points beyond. These apparitions look, speak and feel like alive human beings. Buttheir souls have been drained of music. They are shells returning ontransports. In 11 years of useless war in Afghanistan we have lost 2,000people.We have lost many more to suicide.Families are surprised that their son, daughter, father, mother cannoteasily reintegrate themselves. We have paid them to be destroyers andthey return with a battered soul. The army responds by giving inaneadviceto loved ones who are home. They have also responded bysetting up hotlines, places to which veterans can go, but, at best, thisseems to have been inadequate. Others say the suicides are because
 
most vets cannot find jobs and so we must do something about that.Well, that’s a good idea. What do they put down as their skills on anapplication?We kiss our citizens goodbye to defend a state that is close to the top of corrupt states. The true casualty of war is us. We diminish because of what we do to ourselves, never mind the innocents we mangle, kill andcast into the dry mountain and desert arid winds.We are dying, as we don’t have a clue as to what we can do for thepeople for whom we are responsible. A spell has been cast. Soldierswho return need to be removed from their fog. Some have done so.Witness the vets who threw their medals at NATO when thatorganization met in Chicago. Aaron Hughes, a National Guardsman fromIllinois dedicated his medal to a friend no longer breathing; a secondmedal to one-third of the women in the armed services who have beensexually assaulted and finally he broke down, saying, “I’m sorry, I’msorry.” His spell has vanished and the first steps towards his recoveryhas begun. We will all be the richer for this American’s journey back tohimself.Every veteran who comes home needs profound emotional support andin many cases (perhaps the majority) intense personal therapy. The jig is up. The President gives us some hazy reasons why he cannotstart complete withdrawal now. He says the mission isn’t completed.He claims that a narco state like Afghanistan, whose head guy is thechief drug dealer, will fight the Taliban once we have finished trainingAfghan forces. Our government claims that Al Quaeda will again floodthe country after we are gone while simultaneously telling us they havekilled most of their leadership, including the infamous Osama.Now is the time to stand. In the midst of our pathetic attempt at anelection we must demand of Obama that if you want our vote you mustend this war beginning
now
. And if he is elected and fails to do this,then we must stand taller. We must occupy Washington. We must sitdown and not move. Let the National Guard come back fromAfghanistan and haul our uncivilized asses to jail. We must fill the jailsuntil there is no space to put us. Listen to Gandhi. We must proceedwith profound love. Listen to your heart. Don’t listen to Congress(which hardly works for a living) who tells us that we don’t understandthe complicated geopolitical reasons for killing our citizens. Weunderstand enough. We were attacked by a group of radicals whoconspired in Germany and the U.S., amongst other places on the globe.Shall we bomb Germany? Or how about Minnesota? We do not need toknow all of the finer points of war. All we need to know is the inflamed2

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