6 January at 00:01
I was 29 when i went to Iraq in the summer of 2003. I came home broken, i have attempted suicide twice, and have only recently begun to really live again. I could go on and on about it. In fact, I do! Working with veterans in crisis is my job. All while actively being a member of that very same club.
From that place, the thought of another generation coming home like me, like so many I've tried to help, and the recklessness by which this has all taken place, has me heartbroken. It is from that place of absolute shear heartbreak for the next generation of soon to be broken troops, that I share this simple guide for Millennials. I know it will seem like sorcery in about 1.5 years, but it's not. It's cause i've seen this movie already. Spoilers follow! Here is exactly what you'll experience next:
1. There will be a MASSIVE propaganda push to frame this act of war as a moral necessity and to act like anyone who opposes it is working for “the enemy.”
2. The propaganda push will include enormous appeals to American militarism disguised as patriotism: flag pins, flyovers, reverent cries to “support the troops,” as if the greatest support you can offer the troops isn’t to keep them from dying for no good reason.
3. Over time, this vague appeal to patriotism and militarism will start to have a specific aim, an invasion, bombings, the takeover of oil fields, the support of proxy wars. These aims will magically align with the financial interests of multi-national corporations.
4. The people in harm's way -- innocent civilians in Iran, mostly -- will be framed and/or dehumanized as "the enemy." This will include everything from racial slurs to endless talking points about their "blood thirst" their "hatred of freedom and Americans." It's utter bullshit.
5. When the bombs start to drop, all of the reporting will be about the small number of US troop casualties.
For example, most Americans know roughly 4,000 US troops died in Iraq.
What most Americans don't know is over 200,000 Iraqi CIVILIANS were killed.
6. This horror too, this murder of children, of families, the bombing of weddings & birthdays, this destruction of entire regions, will be swept up under the guise of American militarism (disguised as patriotism), of "supporting our troops," who are "fighting for our freedom."
7. In the end, and there will be an end -- this isn't the beginning of World War III, this is asymmetrical slaughter -- the vast number of dead will be people who don't even know why the war was waged, they will be mostly young, innocent and brown-skinned. That is the ugly truth.
8. And even the US troops -- most of whom signed up out of a genuine desire to protect their country -- they will be abandoned too as the people who waged the war, who made such big promises of "support for the troops" will CUT veterans medical care, forget the dead and move on.
9. And the only people who will have benefited will be those massive multi-national corporations -- oil and weapons manufacturers mostly -- who rushed in to profit off the death of all those innocent brown-skinned children lying in the rubble. Then they will receive yet another tax break, for the good of the economy, which is slowing down after the war.
10. The media (especially cable news) LOVES a war. They love the spectacle, the drama. It means big profits. It means eyeballs on screens. It makes stars of their anchors. They will ask the wrong questions, they will follow militaristic talking points.
11. What will get lost in all this bickering and drama and tragedy and spectacle is the fact that all of this was AVOIDABLE.
12. When it's all over, nothing about your freedom or liberty will have changed, improved, been protected or saved. You will only have pain, debt, loss, and PTSD.