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Letters, Aug. 30

Why blame veterans?

Let me echo Herb Rothschild’s concern about “the saturation of our culture by militarism” (“For now we can’t be patriots, July 17). America has been involved in so many terrible and unnecessary wars. Our military budget is so bloated, our bases spread out so far, those who do not weep at the folly of this overreach probably wink about pocketing the lucre.

However, Herb’s choice of where to direct our disaffection mystifies me. Why harp so hard about the veterans who fought and bled in these wars? In the case of Iraq, for example, would it not be more accurate to lay responsibility on the neocons and the mass media conglomerates that recklessly promoted war based both on faulty reasoning, and falsified information?

In other words, Herb is holding up the wrong target. Indeed, his essay struck me more as a racial polemic, trying to alarm readers about some “white power” movement rather than an expose of those main forces that drive and feed most off our “culture of war.”

Finally, it troubles me that Herb does not give readers a working definition of “patriot.” Instead he implies that patriot equals warmonger and, therefore, we should renounce or at least suspend patriotism. That raises the question, who are “we” at this point in history, and for what do we stand? Is it sufficient that we define ourselves as a multicultural mob of consumers who only pledge allegiance to Mammon?

I think we can do better. I suggest we re-embrace the idea of patriot, where our values go well beyond just the price of things, and where we expand its definition to include the authentic promotion of peace, protection of the environment and candid rebuke of the war profiteers. I mean everyone, please, reject this endless mantra of war against Iran.

Leif Joslyn


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