Today, there are approximately 20.17 million veterans – 7 percent of the U.S. population. That’s more than 20 million stories, along with the stories of their loved ones. Sometimes poetry is the most effective way to capture both the ambiguity and the story.
The real tragedy in all this is that the United States of America invaded yet another foreign country, imagining that we could bend it to our will and create a “Mini-Me” version of ourselves, and then spent twenty years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives ignoring what was obvious from the very outset.
Old warriors rarely
say anything about
people they killed or
horrors they saw
While Fussell wrote on a wide variety of subjects over his long life—ranging from Augustan humanism, Samuel Johnson, and Kingsley Amis to the 2nd Amendment, the Indianapolis 500, and travel in between-the-wars Europe—war, the irony of war, the suffering and lunacy and permanent damage of war, the unfairness of war, lay at the heart of his writing and of his being.
Their prose often stood head and shoulders above the standard freshman drivel, exhibiting a certain rigor of thought and depth of feeling that perhaps comes from having witnessed whole anthologies of trauma—entire villages razed by fire, wide-eyed children draped in gore, wives screaming beside mutilated husbands.
I want to apologize for walking in
When the dog was licking
Your bald head as you lay
On the couch drinking rum
Straight from the bottle…
Some men are very nearly monsters, capable of killing without compunction or remorse. In the everyday civilian world, we generally seek to lock them up. In war, they have a chance to fully flower.
However great my distaste for President Trump, I support his administration’s efforts to extricate the United States from Afghanistan….Prolonging this folly any longer does not serve U.S. interests. Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you’re doing something really stupid, stop.