Recently, the film Man Down premiered in theaters across the United States. The film showcases the negative effects that war has both on the people who serve in them and their families back home. The film has the viewer immersed in the story, and I couldn’t help but leave the film thinking about the problems resulting from American militarism. How is it that we have 200,000 veterans who are homeless? Why do we have one in five veterans ending up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? And why are 20 veterans committing suicide a day?
This depressing state of affairs has resulted from a country and a culture that glorifies war from the time a child is young to the time he is of age to join. The men that go to war are praised for being patriotic, yet when they come home from the war effort, they are forgotten and often spit upon by society. Ask any veteran who has tried to get their government-run health care from the VA about how our nation treats its veterans.
Often, I hear the phrase “sex sells” and indeed it does but not nearly as much as war. War is the mother of all cash cows and she isn’t slowing down. We are in year fifteen of the global war on terror and with the convenient new ISIS scapegoat, the war industry is in great shape. War can only sell when the public is ignorant of its true ramifications. War does not sell when people like the main character of Man Down are showcased because it shows the real effects of war and all it has to offer. It shows that war is not some triumphant celebration, but mostly an evil, painful, and unnecessary tragedy.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, former President and Commander of Allied Troops in World War II against the Nazis, warned us about the Military-Industrial Complex. He wasn’t warning us as a hippie, pacifist, or nauseating leftist. He spoke from his first-hand knowledge of this vast conspiracy taking shape before his very eyes. He was quoted as saying, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military Industrial Complex.” The U.S Federal Government and its military power now overtly act without a care in the world about the havoc they wreak abroad. From Lockheed Martin to Boeing, we are now seeing such companies openly advertise on veterans day and promoting war.
This is not to be mistaken as an anti-troop or anti-American missive. Just a short three or so years ago, I was preparing myself for my senior year of high school unsure how to shape my upcoming adult life. I had many family members join the military and look so honorable by doing so, but I was sheltered from the ugly side of that dirty business. The military seemed like a golden ticket out to take me around the world while doing something honorable for “God, Country, and Family”. I was very naive at that time, but I lucked out. I received an injury in Boot Camp that smacked me back to Earth and ended my prospects as a warrior. Granted, I may have never seen a war if I had stayed, but the fact remains that the war industry always wins while the little guy gets thrown into the meat grinder in the name of freedom.
The word freedom is sadly the biggest marketing term that is used to coerce so many to die for a government that attacks our God-given freedoms every day. After 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed immediately in the name of safety and security. In that same month, recruiting commercials spread like a wildfire, claiming that another 9/11 will happen if individuals wouldn’t enlist for service. This terrifying dichotomy based on lies tricked many people to sign up and have their lives destroyed with nothing to show for it. They were the lucky ones, as many were never given the chance to come home as they sacrificed their lives for something that was little more than an international criminal act.
Our freedoms have deteriorated every day since 9/11 with calls for security at the expense of our liberty . We are left with a generation of veterans with a multitude of mental and physical problems that only continue to worsen. As red-blooded, patriotic Americans we must deny the big government talking points of the military industrial complex that the wars are to protect freedom. That is a lie. We must reach out to our communities with the truth . A non-interventionist foreign policy, as preferred by the Founding Fathers, is the only thing that can protect our country, its veterans and its freedom in a lasting fashion.