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Lives lost, but not for freedom

On this Memorial Day, I wish to take a moment to remember the servicemembers whose lives were lost in the line of duty these past seventy years or so.

To you — if you’re out there somewhere, if you can hear me — I am so very, very sorry. Not just for the loss of your lives, but for the dishonorable ends for which you died.

Probably no one knows better than you, that you did not die for freedom, or to defend your country. The country didn’t need defending from the people you were commanded to kill.

You died for empire.

You died so that the United States could stand on the world’s neck for generations to come. You died to assert our dominance over world affairs. You died to guarantee the profitability of an insane military-industrial complex, and to demonstrate our masters’ will to use deadly force for the sake of it.

If you still carry some consciousness, no doubt you’ve reflected on the lies fed to you even long before you signed up or were inducted. Lies that were camouflaged in a constant barrage of flags and eagles and words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘honor’. You know now that these words have become so perverted that they are meaningless, certainly in the context within which you were commanded to kill and die.

You’re angry, and you have every right to be. You were used, prostituted, to further ends that had nothing to do with the defense of your homeland. You didn’t give your lives for freedom; your lives were stolen and thrown away for no more than the reasons of state. The loved ones you left behind are fed the same lies in their mourning, and your children are being encouraged to follow in your footsteps.

I wish I could say that you’ll be avenged. I wish I could say that those who fed you to the cannons will be brought to justice, and that nevermore will a servicemember receive an immoral order. But I honestly don’t know.

I’ll do all I can. Thank you and rest in peace.

Pass the word!
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Alan Augustson: author of Rust, Protocol Six and other stories
Alan Augustson: author of Rust, Protocol Six and other stories