Monday, August 29, 2005

American Legion, Where Were You When I Needed You?

This is a little late in coming...
I wasn't going to talk about the Resolution 169 from the American Legion convention last week, but I just haven't been able to let it go. I have a personal ax to grind when it comes to the American Legion anyway.
Twenty-some years ago I was writing letters to just about everybody to ask about extending the VietNam GI Bill beyond December 31, 1989. It seemed reasonable to me that someone who served during, for instance, the 1968 Tet Offensive should not be denied access to the GI Bill because they were silly enough to remain in uniform. What I was told at the time by the American Legion among others was that their constituency was predominantly WW II and Korean veterans and that they didn't think they'd be able to help me. That was okay... I had my twenty by the end of August, 1985, and I got my four years of VietNam GI BIll benefits. I would have liked to have stayed in a little longer... I missed Desert Storm... but that's life.
Now in August, 2005, the American Legion presumes to speak on behalf of the VietNam veteran in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
No. No, they don't. They do not speak for me.
We had absolutely no business in VietNam, and we have absolutely no business in Iraq. I am here to tell you that it is, in fact, possible for a military member to serve in a pointless war knowing full well that it is pointless. The public need not worry that we don't already know. The military relies on the public to keep us out of pointless wars in the first place.
I have no idea what their intention was when they authorized their Poobah to "engage whatever means necessary to ensure the united support of the American people." Since apparently very few, if any, of them were career military, I'm not going to worry about it.

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