Patriotism - something I can't grasp
I just listened to the Sheer Intelligence interview on Truthdig about "The Great Con of American Patriotism" and it struck me that probably no German of my age, born 1948, could have ever felt the same way as both, Ron Kovic or Danny Sjursen, did. Because we were the kids of the bad guys and we actually thought to join the German military service (Bundeswehr) is something that would be neither honorable nor even reasonable. Everyone I knew among friends, schoolmates and extended family fought to be recognized as Conscientious Objectors and at that time most of them were granted that status.
Later on, I guess, it changed, because it was not mandatory anymore to serve at least a year and a half or a year in the German Bundeswehr. So, whoever went into the military, did it voluntarily. I have never talked to anyone who did that. I have lost track and guts feelings where we stand today on those issues, as I didn't live through the eighties to 2016 in Germany. Most of my student colleagues marched in Berlin against the Vietnam War in the late sixties. For some there were some risks involved doing so.
Here is the interview with the trancript from truthdig:
The Great Con of American Patriotism
One is Ron Kovic. The movie “Born on the Fourth of July” was made about hi Tom Cruise immortalized him in that film; he also, it was based on his own book. And he wrote the script with Oliver Stone, that was nominated for the Academy Award. And probably the best war movie that we’ve ever had; maybe “All Quiet on the Western Front” in an earlier period, but certainly the best. And Ron has, of course, remained active. And he wrote a book about veterans protesting against medical cuts and everything, and the sit-in at then-Sen. Alan Cranston’s office, called “Hurricane Street,” that is out now. And the other guest I’m bringing in—so Ron was the sergeant; the sergeant now is going to meet the major. And the major is Danny Sjursen. Readers of Truthdig know him well, because he’s writing a history; for a lot of publications he’s also writing a lot of columns. And, amazingly enough, he’s been writing these columns about the military, about Iraq and Afghanistan, where he has been in combat, leading troops for 10 years. And he is a graduate of West Point; he’s, as I said before, a major, active-duty major. And we can talk a little bit about how he purchased the freedom to be able to write so critically. But as we do this recording, we’re on the 29th of January; in three days, Major Danny Sjursen is going to be out of the military. And what is that, for the first time in 18-and-a-half years.
While listening to it, I imagined Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders would chime in and give their opinion and asked questions to Kovic and Sjursen. Because here on C99p folks voiced quite some different view points on Gabbard's and Sander's anti-war and foreign policy positions. Their truthfulness or trustworthiness or silence were either questioned, doubted or defended and supported.
I will cop out here, because I feel as a German I would probably not be welcomed to say something about both Kovic's and Sjursen's explanations of their own experiences, activities and activism in and after the wars they were in.
So, forgive me, if I am not saying anything. I still would like to know what you think. I said a couple of days ago, I would vote for Sanders and Gabbard and also mentioned once, why I trust Gabbards "anti-war" rhetoric more than many here, who distrust her. And I feel somewhat supported by what one of the interviewees said and somewhat not convinced the other interviewee stated. If that is cowardly, so be it, but I don't want to hurt or upset or incite people's feelings unnecessarily. That's all.
It is a sad thing, no matter how you look at it.