Click to enlarge chestful of military medals
As regular Vleeptron readers know or suspect, Vleeptron Dude was once a conscripted Army soldier during a Big War. I served honorably for two years (the draftee's absolute minimum), got some medals (see above), and then rode off on my Triumph Bonneville 650 dual carb motorcycle and did not cut my hair for 2 or 3 years.
My World War I uncle was impressed by the green medal, he said it's a biggie. The Army doesn't hand them out like Halloween candy. (It does not involve throwing oneself on a hand grenade or taking out an enemy machine gun nest.) Anyway, whatever, I got one.
There's no big military holiday accompanying this post. (Last Monday was Indigenous Peoples Day in neighboring Northampton and Amherst, Massachusetts USA.)
Vleeptron is posting this because this is the 15th Year of the two Asian Long Wars first declared by USA President George W. Bush. Vleeptron Dude keeps standing on a chair and trying to see the Light At The End of the Long Asian War Tunnel, and still sees not a distant twinkle.
When, in the dark of night, Portia sees a candle in a distant window, she says:
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
But there is no little candle to the Asian Long Wars, or to the Catastrophe of Syria, to the mess in Libya, to the Catastrophe of Yemen. My world is weary, and although there are indeed many good deeds, most of them seem to shine much too dimly.
We are 15 years into the War Without End which George Orwell wrote about in "1984." Alliances change, enemies change, but for as long as anyone can remember, The War Goes On, with giant public war rallies and parades, marching military bands ...
Military Justice is to Justice
as Military Music is to Music.
-- Vietnam War-era soldiers' saying
And of course the Handmaidens of War Without End, Amen: Dead people, dead babies, dead women, dead soldiers. The maimed, the crippled. The fucked up, whether they live for many years after their combat, or not very long after coming home.
Vleeptron has a suspicion that Somebody is getting very rich by supplying the instruments of War Without End. That's just our suspicion. Don't cite Vleeptron until somebody Fact Checks it.
Perhaps like the wonderful architect Maya Lin and her Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, someone could start sketching a design for a National Memorial of War Without End. Artists and sculptors and architects have Plenty Of Time to work up their designs.
Leave A Comment. Share Your Thoughts. Submit a Memorial design, Vleeptron will be proud to be the first to display them.
How do you feel about the Wars That Never End?
The bemedalled War-Era (never went near actual combat, a fellow can get hurt that way) Army Veteran recommends for day-to-day wartime getting by: cannabis and your favorite diazapene, maybe a good SSRI would work. The traditional wartime self-medication is Strong Alcoholic Beverages. Because Dutch gin was the first mass-produced High-Octane Cheap Alcohol, soldiers called it "Dutch Courage" as they prepared for today's battle.
DO NOT KILL YOURSELF. 22 USA military veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY. (Donald Trump, who dodged the Vietnam War Draft -- bone spurs in a foot, but he forgets which foot -- recently suggested that soldiers who return from the Long Asian Wars with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome are weak, weaker than good soldiers should be. Leave A Comment.)
The poem that follows was written in what historians now just call The Century of War.
Charles Hamilton Sorley, a Scot from Aberdeen, was shot in the head and died instantly at the Battle of Loos, in France, on Wednesday 13 October 1915. His body was never found, but his kit bag was found and sent home to his family. Inside it they found this poem.
Sorely was the first World War One soldier poet to use the word "millions" -- accurately -- to count the carnage.
Bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq immediately, bring them back alive, safe, whole. As commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama can do this with the stroke of a pen -- the same power George W. Bush used to start these disasters and doom my neighbors' children.
~ ~ ~
When You See Millions
of the Mouthless Dead
Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)
When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"Yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.
Original text: Charles Hamilton Sorley. Marlborough and other Poems. 4th edition. Cambridge: University Press, 1919: 78 (no. XXXIV). First publication date: 1916. Composition date: 1915. Form: sonnet. Rhyme: ababbabacdcdcd