Standing for peace is not disrespecting anyone’s appreciation for those who serve to protect us; however, we are what we eat. Our appetite for military conflict as a tool for resolution of disagreements, the bullying threat of American military intervention, and our smart bombs delivered by smart drones overwhelm our palate for peace. Football-game pageantry includes a B-2 stealth bomber flyover at the cost of $169,313 per hour of flight time.
We celebrate not just Veterans Day but set aside 49 other calendar days/weeks a year to honor our military. In contrast, we set aside just one day to honor Peace Corps volunteers: citizens, who like our military personnel, serve in all corners of the world, sometimes in dangerous places, and who are sometimes killed in their service to our country. We underappreciate our State Department diplomatic professionals: Americans who also serve all over the world, sometimes in dangerous places, and sometimes they, too, are killed in service to our country. We set aside Foreign Affairs Day to honor our diplomats, but there are no parades or B-2 flyovers.
Two members of Congress served in the Peace Corps; 93 members served in our military, including our Rep. Gallagher, who sees the assassination of a foreign leader as taking a terrorist off the battlefield. I can’t possibly know what it’s like to face General Soleimani’s militias on the battlefield and thank Rep. Gallagher for his experience, service and sacrifice.
However, the American military never should have been in the Middle East in the first place. The error of our imperialistic ways with Iran began in 1953 when American interventionism (at Britain’s prodding over oil) overturned the election of a beloved Iranian leader in a free, democratic election. Americans, angered and frightened by foreign governments’ meddling in our affairs, should recognize the hypocrisy: We were pros at meddling way before there was Facebook or Twitter.
Children don’t play at peace with toy diplomats and Peace Corps dolls. Although we espouse our desire for peace, it’s not getting its fair share of our attention.
Norman J. Wilsman
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin