Our “best and bravest?”

Originally published at The Benfell Blog. Please leave any comments there.

I’m glad that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is at least being repudiated if not actually repealed. But Obama’s remarks endorsing the so-called compromise caught my eye. Among them, he said, “Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in-Chief.”

Wow. That explains why he’s throwing their lives away in at least two futile wars that appear to be widening into an all-out crusade against Islam. That explains why military recruiters lure people who would otherwise be consigned to sub-living wage jobs with the promise of a college education. That’s why our government refuses to take post-traumatic stress disorder seriously, instead privileges ideology to effective treatment, and cuts funds even for programs that don’t conflict with its ideology. That’s why healthcare at the Veterans Administration in general can be characterized as a “failure to provide.”

I tend to be in opposition to the military. I think people who volunteer for military service have failed to question the propaganda that begins every morning with the “Pledge of Allegiance” in school and have too willingly participated in a legacy of war and of empire. At a more fundamental level, I oppose the use of force because as the bumper sticker says, it “doesn’t prove who’s right, only who’s left.” So I’m hard on soldiers too.

But I’ll call a hypocrite when I see one. This hypocrisy runs far deeper than the consideration of anyone’s sexuality as a measure of fitness to serve. And Obama’s ears, among others, should be burning bright red.

(UPDATE: Obama has called for, in McClatchy’s paraphrase, “Americans to honor those who died fighting for the United States with more than just words this Memorial Day weekend.” Of course he did so with nothing but words.)