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The other day as I passed through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, I saw an Honor Flight group deplane. In this instance, it was 187 Korean and Vietnam vets flying into D.C. from Appleton, Wisconsin, to see the memorials and generally take a last lap of honor.
Passengers hurrying to their departure gates paused to clap. I think I even saw one businessman wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. It was straight out of a Budweiser commercial.
Fine, as far as all that goes. I agree with the impulse to demonstrate gratitude, especially toward vets of Korea and Vietnam.
But what worries me is that this sort of ceremony falls into the category of momentarily honoring older vets while ignoring newer ones, and the ongoing wars in which they fought, most of the time. In other words, are we doing this because it is the right thing to do, or because it makes us feel better? If we really cared, would there be as many homeless vets sleeping in Walmart parking lots?
What I mean by that is that, as a nation, we have offloaded our wars of the last 17 years onto 1 percent of the nation. We have put them through repeated rotations, giving them far more exposure to days and months of hypertensive, adrenaline-pumping situations than any World War II vets underwent. We know from World War II what 150 days of combat exposure does to the human mind. We really don’t know what 2,000 days of worrying about mortar fire and roadside bombs does. But we are finding out.
So, are Honor Flights what we do in order not to pay attention to what is really going on? The more applause I hear in airports, the more suspicious I become. As Phil Klay writes in the May issue of The Atlantic: “America as a whole chooses to express its love for its military in gooey, substance-free displays, our military waits, perhaps hopelessly, for a coherent national policy that takes the country’s wars seriously.” (Klay also had a piece in the Sunday New York Times that I also would quote, but it quotes a guest column that ran here by Mackenzie Wolf, so that would be too circular.)
GREENBELT, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes.
An undated image of Hoda Muthana provided by her attorney, Hassan Shibly. (Associated Press)
Attorneys for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump asking the court to recognize the citizenship of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join ISIS and allow she and her young son to return to the United States.
U.S. soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken November 1, 2018. (U.S. Army/Zoe Garbarino/Handout via Reuters)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)
With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"
But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
A group comprised of former U.S. military veterans and security contractors who were detained in Haiti on weapons charges has been brought back to the United States and arrested upon landing, The Miami-Herald reported.
The men — five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian — were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, the heavily-armed men allegedly told police they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.