Monday, November 11, 2013

Thoughts on Veterans' Day

I really don't want to sound ungrateful, but sometimes when people say "Thank you for your service" I cringe. I don't regret joining the Army in 2009, life in the military forged and tempered me. Iraq was a shit-hole, and as hard as it may seem to believe there really were some very good times and really amazing people there. I met my best friend, Ian, downrange. He was like my brother, we always had each-other's back no matter what happened, even long after we got home. Life in the Army, deployed or at home, changed a lot of my perceptions about people: How we behave toward each-other as Soldiers as well as civilians, trained responses to danger versus panic-response, it really is a whole other realm of experience that a lot of people don't understand because they haven't been there. 

Then one day I had my Transition Leave form signed, drove to the top of Reservoir Hill, mooned all of Fort Huachuca and never looked back. 
In case you thought I was lying

As badly as I want to give shout-outs to all of my Army Buddies and people who were always there for me, and believe you me I DO, the whole of my four years in the service has been poisoned by the unforgivable actions (more importantly, a lack of action regarding a specific incident) of a small group of people of whom I had the great misfortune of being left in their hands. Yes, I'm talking about THIS and THIS because this shit is STILL HAPPENING to our men & women in uniform on a daily basis and no one seems to give a shit.

I want to enjoy today on my own terms, I really honestly do. I plan on staying home, I never really liked chain restaurants all that much, I'm not in any financial position to go on a shopping spree and fire-works sometimes freak me out: I always wondered who thought it was a good idea to reward our combat hardened returning troops with loud fiery explosions in the sky, yeah that sounds like something they'd REALLY APPRECIATE. 

Four years isn't a whole lot of time, arguably, I had every intention (at first) of staying in long enough to eventually become an NCO or even an Officer if I could make the age cut-off for the Green to Gold program. I was even giving strong consideration, once the combat ban was officially lifted, to signing up for a combat MOS. But then after a squad-mate forced himself into my room and (I'm 99.9% positive) attempted to rape me, then my entire chain of command proceeded to ignore my repeated complaints of him harassing and stalking me, all in silent accordance with punishment for a UCMJ infraction... it's very difficult, I would say nigh impossible, to re-stoke any fire of enthusiasm or motivation to remain within a system that clearly doesn't value my effort, dedication, or even my very life.

Much to the contrary of anything your recruiter may be telling you, they do not give a shit about you: I repeat, THEY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU.

There is nothing noble or patriotic in picking up a gun and not asking any questions, any sociopath that can bang out a few push-ups can do this. Silencing of dissent doesn't do us any favors, either: There will always be whiners and complainers out there, and part of any respectable NCO or Officer's job is winnowing out the nonsense from the legitimate and addressing BOTH OF THOSE. We have a serious problem with sanctioning violence and maltreatment against our own, and the even bigger problem is that no one wants to fix this because they actually prefer it exactly the way it is.

The military isn't trying to purge the plague of rapists from their ranks because they WANT TO, believe you me: They're only proudly donning a polished affectation of drive and concern because there's only one thing our military truly fears, more-so than terrorists or North Korean nukes, and that's bad press. Under the patches and the ribbons they're perfectly fine with letting service-members "punish" each-other in the most vile ways conceivable, the only reason they're making a public stink about it now is because they finally realize that it's making them look like shit and no decent human being wants to come play with them in the Big Sand-Box.

Why does an institution of our government that pretty much does whatever the fuck it wants anyway suddenly NOW give a flying-lizard-clit about what the American public thinks? Because no one wants to sign up for a cause that silently condones brutality against their own behind closed doors and upon deaf ears. Technically, a Soldier doesn't even have the right to defend him/herself against an attacker according to Article 128 of the UCMJ (in many situations) They didn't tell you THAT, did they? If someone bursts into your room and puts their hands on you, you might not be allowed BY LAW to defend yourself. 

So yes, there were some good times and some good people. I loved many of them like family, I'd have taken a bullet for them. All of that camaraderie and "unit cohesion" has been pissed on because instead of simply leaving me to a slap-on-the-wrist Article 15 (I'll never understand our military's inability to grasp the concept of two consenting adults, albeit of different ranks, being together as abhorrent yet somehow THAT warrants a squad-mate's grossly inappropriate behavior as acceptable punishment for said infraction...) my Chain of Command basically told me, though not directly in words, that even if "R" DIDN'T blunder his attempt I would have deserved whatever he would have done to me.

Last I heard, but have not been able to confirm, my former Commanding Officer and his wife now have a daughter: If so, what would she think of my story when I get a chance to tell it to her?

Despite what many close to me might tell you, I AM quite capable of forgiving people and moving on from transgressions. I have a personal rule when it comes to forgiving people for their mistakes: I am not in any way obligated, in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, to forgive someone who has made no attempt to apologize or explain themselves or their actions. Go ahead and pray to your imaginary friend for salvation, throw your "sins" upon them to your hearts' content, so far ONLY ONE SOLDIER has apologized to me personally for his poor behavior and it wasn't "R" himself nor any of our superiors. So beg forgiveness from your so-called "god" if it makes you feel better about yourself for being such a shit-person, but do this knowing full well that you never had the testicular fortitude to come to ME and beg for MY forgiveness (with the obvious exception of that one Soldier previously mentioned.)

And until you do, maybe even AFTER the fact, I promise you that I will spend the rest of my life ensuring that I am heard, acknowledged and understood: I don't care if telling the whole world what you bastards did rides upon my very dying breath, you will not silence me. I don't care if I have to suck off the Anti-Christ himself to do it, either.

When the game is so obviously and grossly rigged, the only way to truly win is not to play.

Enjoy your barbeque, go have a beer or two, and reflect upon your wrong-doing. Look your wives and children in their eyes and think about what YOU would do if someone had attempted to do upon THEM what you allowed upon ME and MY HOUSEHOLD. There are countless heroes being remembered today for genuine acts of valor and bravery, for sincere and selfless service under the banner of our flag, and know that as long as you silently condone such acts of violence and barbarism, you will never be honestly counted among them.

I don't say this about terribly many people and mean it, but I genuinely hate you.

Thanks for ruining what should be a holiday by not doing your job.

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