Ok Veterans – I have a bone to pick. This may piss some of you off. It may piss off some of your family and friends. It may piss off everyone. This is not politically correct. And here is the obligatory warning: Adult Language Follows.
We are not collectively HEROES. We are not sacrosanct. We are not owed anything but our retirement, VA benefits and a proper burial. We are not owed deference or respect.
That being said, respect, freebies, discounts and neat guy stuff is cool. However, we are nominally, warriors by profession. We CHOOSE to do our jobs. True, our profession is an honorable and dangerous one. However, we do not, and should not expect anything beyond what is guaranteed in writing at the time we signed our contract.
We have all served with great men and women. Some of them were bona fide heroes. However, most of them were just like you and me. Regular guys that were just doing their jobs. Short of those that displayed uncommon valor or those killed or forever handicapped by a combat wound – we are not heroes and should not expect a hero’s welcome everywhere we go. While it is nice, and we should show appreciation for such affection – EXPECTING it is wrong.
To continue, some veterans are douchebags. Some douchebag veterans have high rank and lots of medals. That does not make their subsequent actions free from scrutiny or criticism. We all knew them when we served. You remember the senior NCO that made rank in time of war without deploying a single time all while hiding out in a training unit. You know that CO that was more worried about his OER than mission or troops. You were horrified at the actions of that LT or member of the E4 mafia that should have never been inducted – much less put in charge of anything.
You knew the malingerers, shitbags, sham artists, soup sandwiches, race baiters, alcoholics, druggies and sex addicts (yeah, I know…). We all wished at some time that we could hammer them – but politics and weak commanders got in the way.
So take a moment before automatically venerating someone just because they have a particular medal or served in a particular theater. They may have been the doucherocket that you would have hated when you were in. Some of them may also be bone fide heroes.
When individual Veterans and specific groups like the IAVA demand ticker tape parades, and stand by the most notorious among us based purely on being a member of a particular fraternity – we become no better than the looters, moochers, sycophants and leeches that we so despise in the civilian world.
This is not to say that we should not demand what is right and proper – such as Purple Heart Medals and benefits for those killed at Fort Hood and Chattanooga – and even then, certain groups like the MPOH fight that worthy cause because “war is only overseas” according to their exclusive interpretation of what is right and proper.
I have seen a thousand posts by Veterans that look gift horses on the mouth, complain that whatever charity organization isn’t “doing enough” or doesn’t support “X” cause, and demonize some of the most worthy organizations based on hyperbole, hearsay and what someone on “the internets said.”
We mock and deride others for their oversensitivity, rail against political correctness and scorn the command policies that force us to have “diversity” training and the like – but overall, we are the loudest, most strident group of butthurt whineybags in Social Media. If someone “disrespects” a Veteran who DESERVED it, burns a flag, misquotes a regulation or has a different view in general, we go to virtual war. We gnash our teeth, pull the “Veteran Card,” demand people be fired, boycott businesses – and for what? Being silly or flippant or disagreeing? Is that not exactly what we fought to preserve? The RIGHT to disagree, to be flip, to offend? Were WE not the most offensive group of people on the planet? I know that almost every unit I have been in would have ALL been fired in the Corporate World for their attitudes, crude jokes and general lack of sensitivity. EVERYONE and EVERYTHING was free game for a joke or insult – and no one got butthurt.
We have some legitimate issues to address, and THOSE are what need to be the focus of our collective outrage. The shitty VA treatment, refusing to arm the troops stateside, the ACTUAL repeated disrespect of our glorious dead by the current administration, the persecution of our most needy Veterans by the VA and DoJ, the refusal of the anyone to actually do *something* about the after effects of exposures to chemicals from Ft. McClellan/Pelam Range, Khamisiyah, Nerve Agent Pills, etc – the list goes on and on. Nevertheless, it does not help our legitimate causes when we act like spoiled brats over the tiniest perceived slight.
In closing – Veterans need to Harden The Fuck Up. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are special only because of what your service has made you – not because you chose a profession. Be PROUD of what you have done and defend your brothers and sisters – but damn, quit with the self-righteous butthurt and step away from the crowd of eternally offended. WE are better than that.
Platoon Sergeants…standard brief for the long weekend.
Now get them out of here!