by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
One hears a lot about heroes these days. So much so, that it would seem that nary an American is not a hero. Teachers are heroes, cops are heroes, firemen are heroes, nurses are heroes...and, of course, all those American troops over there in wherever are heroes.
I have likewise been called a hero. I got drafted and went to Vietnam; to mindless patriots, that makes me a hero. To me, it makes me a fool.
I was in a line company, Charlie Company, 1st of the 12th, First Cavalry Division (Air Mobile — Sir!) and spent a year in the bush. I have some 'good' war stories. But I will spare you those. Instead, I will tell you the only recurring Vietnam nightmare I have ever had.
I am in Vietnam...for a second time. That's it. Where's the horror? Just that I was so incredibly stupid as to let them do it to me again. I am ashamed.
If this is an anti-war essay, it is not so as a moral consideration, but as a practical one. Something like forty-nine thousand young Americans died in Vietnam, and I don't know how many Vietnamese, Canadians, Aussies, and Koreans (which is telling). As for the Americans, what did they die for? Nothing. Except to make some people very rich — the merchants of war.
We know that the latest Iraq war was criminal. We know who the unprosecuted war criminals are. Obama is among them; for it is a crime under international law for a government not to prosecute war criminals. This likewise applies to the prosecution of torturers. This nation is still criminal. This nation still tortures. I am ashamed.
The war in Afghanistan, if not criminal, is an act of insanity — except, of course, for the merchants of war. We will lose. Again. And the only good that could possibly come out of it is the utter collapse of the American Empire. If we could only become a nation again — a nation among other nations — these wars would be unnecessary, for there would be no evil empire to attack with terror and no empire to strike back. No, Mr. Bush, they do not hate us because we are free, but because we materially support and encourage those who rob them of their own freedom. The collective moral ignorance of this nation is staggering. I am ashamed.
Going to Vietnam did not make me a hero, but it did, I believe, give me the right and the authority to speak out against the immoral insanity of this empire.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.