EXCELLENT COMMENTS: David Pear on “Thanking Vets for their service”.

Miles Teller as combat vet Adam Schumann in Thank Your for Your Service (2017).  Like American Sniper and other films of its ilk, an open glorification of the imperial military in the 21st century, behind the mawkish pretense of “caring for the wounded warriors.”  The culture, totally manipulated by the hegemonist plutocracy, never ceases pushing this hypocritical narrative, and Hollywood (which accounts for all movie and tv production in the US) is happy to oblige. It fools most Americans. Mission accomplished.

Editor’s Note: As expected for a topic inherently loaded with a great deal of partisan emotionalism, The Saker’s brave discussion of what has become an unchallenged cultural norm, thanking vets “for their service” (supposedly for keeping us and the US homeland safe and free, etc.) generated a fair amount of commentary, with some of it of very high caliber. In total we received approximately 87 comments. Unfortunately, as we have explained elsewhere, comments by unregistered parties cannot be published due to the risk they represent in terms of attacks on the site, something which happens with tedious regularity and which can be extremely costly to us in terms of time wasted, and the frequent need to contract expensive techs to rectify the damage. Below, we reproduce the commentary on this post by David William Pear, who also happens to be a senior contributing editor with The Greanville Post.—PG

Thanking vets for their “service” – why?

As a Vietnam war criminal I never know what to say when someone thanks me for my service. Sometimes I ask “What service”. Now I think I will just say “Why”—and look at the expression on their face and listen for their response.

[I use the Veterans Heathcare Administration (VA or VHA). THEY ARE THE BEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE US, and every study shows that they have the best outcomes at the lowest cost. I can testify that I have never had any of the problems that the propaganda machine and Trump are spewing out. Nor do I know anybody else that has. They always treat me with the utmost respect and courtesy that should be a model for all healthcare.]

They never fail to call me “sir” and they always thank me for my service. Not being one to bite the hand that heals me, I respond politely, but inside I know that I did not perform any service worthy of thanks.

While I am a war criminal and deserve to be hung, there were a lot of people smarter than me that got fooled by the Cold War propaganda too, e.g., watch The Real News Network series about Daniel Elsberg’s new book “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner”:


I joined Special Forces which was then being expanded by JFK as the new military approach to defeating communism. JFK’s ideology of “winning the hearts and minds” through a new kind of soldier was taken from the book “The Ugly American”. The idea was that by training soldiers to know the culture, language, and customs of the people, the US could win them over to capitalism instead of communism.

The idea was that Special Forces was to be an “extension of the peace corps, only we carried guns” (my description) and conducted counter-insurgency as well as digging wells, improving sanitation and bringing medical care to remote backward villages. SF worshiped Kennedy and even named their training facilities at Fort Bragg after him: The John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare. It was all very naive.

The book The Ugly American was a sensation when it came out. Kennedy even sent a copy to every US ambassador and it was required reading for foreign service officers. I have since re-read the book recently, now that the scales have fallen from my eyes.

It is a horrible chauvinistic book, which portrays indigenous people as backward, ignorant, inept and in need of the Westerner to bring them knowledge, understanding, and modernization at a pace that they can absorb. It is a paternalistic racist book, dripping with the virtues of capitalism and the evil of communism. It assumes that given an intelligent choice that post colonial countries would choose capitalism and welcome Americans with loving open arms. This is the propaganda that many of us grew up with and that many Americans believed. [Most still do.]

Even Daniel Elsberg admits that he came to believe that Joseph Stalin was as evil as Hitler (sic), and that the US, Europe and the rest of the world were in a life and death struggle against communism.

It seems that the media was less corrupt then, but now we know that it was deeply infiltrated by the CIA, and even the trusted Walter Cronkite was tainted by Operation Mockingbird. The mainstream media was for the Vietnam war before it was against it.

“And that’s the way it is”, is how Cronkite signed off every evening and we believed him.

Maybe this sounds like I am just making excuses for myself. Usually I do not discuss my military experience, although I do put it on my bio. It is part of who I am. I suspect that even now without the draft (I was not drafted) there are people who join the military because they have been brainwashed that they are joining an honorable profession to do an honorable service. The military changes people and they are never the same again.

—David W. Pear

A sample of the standard propaganda, Thank You for Your Service movieclip.

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11 thoughts on “EXCELLENT COMMENTS: David Pear on “Thanking Vets for their service”.

  1. It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to own up to being a war criminal. But it there’s any virtue that’s capable of conferring redemption, it’s honesty. More than ever, having read this short essay, I admire David for his incisiveness and candor.

    1. What totally wrong analysis. Soldiers are victims of propaganda not the perpetrators of crime.
      By wrongly thinking that he is a war criminal, poor Pear condemns all other soldiers too. What was in there for him and his comrades except blood and tears. At least in early European wars, the army was allowed to plunder the vanquished to recompense them for their efforts. Now the winner takes all and it is certainly not the military ranks !

      1. Victims can to varying degrees participate in and be complicit with their victimization. You’ve made a hard-and-fast judgment here that allows every individual who participates in war to absolve themselves from any responsibility for their actions. This is an invitation to moral nihilism.

        But thanks for being so empathic. Perpetuation and promotion of war needs as much praise and support as we can muster. Hundreds of millions of corpses is but a fragment of the carnage we as humans should be capable of. Let’s put on our thinking caps and fire up the machines of murder and mayhem and see if we can pile up a billion, two billion, three billion more, while shrugging and loudly declaring, “But it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I guess I was brainwashed.”

        1. What you bring up is the Stockholm syndrome whereby the victims participate in their own destruction. It is by imposing guilt that we are being ruled. The Church oppresses us with original guilt on which its whole nefarious hierarchy is built and
          serving in an army (and the US is much like the ancient Sparta in character) is like such bndage because it is portrayed as honorable and manly (even for women).
          When one sees the flags and parades one should vomit at the spectacle of total
          obfuscation. All other considerations are confused and being sarcastic does not help much so go on feeling guilty like Vietnam veterans because that is exactly what the establishment wants.

          1. Actually what I brought up has nothing to do with the Stockholm Syndrome. I’m talking about ethical issues, not psychological ones. Ownership and assignment of responsibility is distinct from assigning or inviting feelings of guilt, shame, embrace of one’s captors, patriotic hysteria or revulsion, or any of the other psychological responses you cite, whether healthy and justifiable or self-sabotaging and pathological. I respect your analysis and description of the phenomena by which we are manipulated or oppressed but you’re having a different conversation than the one I initiated.

      2. Please don’t waste your empathy on me.

        Every participant in any illegal war of aggression is by definition a war criminal. I do agree with you though that in most cases the soldiers (sic) are victims of propaganda, brainwashing, careerism and let’s be honest adventurism. However none of those absolve the fact that unlike “early European wars”, there are international laws that govern civilized warfare…..now there is an oxymoron if there ever was one.

        While being a victim may be grounds for leniency, even compassion and medical treatment, it does not erase the fact that “just following orders, being brainwashed, young, stupid, adventurous and ignorant” is not an excuse. Of course it is not practical to punish every soldier who participates in an illegal war of aggression. I was using poetic embellishment. We did not hang all the German and Japanese soldiers. But the Nuremberg trials did not make exceptions to the rule.

        International law is based on treaties that all have agreed to. The UN Charter is a treaty that the US president signed, and the Senate ratified, thus making it “the law of the land”. The UN Charter is quite clear about when military force is justified and when it is illegal. It is really not that complicated, and anyone who participates in an illegal war is a war criminal. Period.

        Somehow though I really don’t think your comment is serious. You give yourself away by bringing up “plundering”. Do you have the same concern for other victims of society such as the poor, minorities, and disadvantaged? I do.

        And I also have compassion for vets. There is a reason why so many suffer from PTSD, alcoholism, drug addiction and 22 commit suicide every day. That is what I understand to be part of the Saker’s message that we should stop thanking “warriors” for their service.

        1. I am quite serious and brought up only purmdering in old European wars as an example of what lies at the bottom of conquest. Nowadays one fights for what ? Honor ? Fictional protection of the ‘father’land ? Indeed one should not encourage young men or women for enlisting. But with the rewards offered for entering the ranks are so attractive to the disadvantaged that a military career is shown as desirable. The guilty ones are the large corporate war profiteers, the weapons manufacturers and the elites who persuade the unwitting to fight for them and their greed, not their victims whether they are the poor, minorities etc. as you mention.

          1. Actually, I think we agree much, much more than we disagree. I have no desire to punish any of the victims of US wars of aggression, including the grunts in the military or veterans. Nor do I really feel that I deserve to be hung myself. I never committed what one would call an atrocity. But neither do I like being thanked for my “service”, and I am not alone.

            And I agree that the financial remuneration in the military have become quite attractive to young people.; purposely so. In truth if I were 18 years old now, the military would look quite attractive as a career choice.

            The all volunteer military became exactly what critics at the time said was the danger. A democracy and a mercenary army are not compatible; not is a draft that only takes the poor.

            I definitely agree that the real war criminals are at the top, the MIC, politicians, profiteers and warmongers. I agree, they are the real criminals.

          2. Of course the ‘boys;’ and ‘girls’ who do their duty to the ‘father’land should not be thanked for their service that only serves the establishment. They risk life and limb, but then who cares? because there are so many of them and they have not the opportunities to become fine and intellectual giants like the wealthy kids that go to Harvard and Yale. We all believe in that sort of eugenics don’t we? And forgive me my German antecedents (German grandparents) and allow me to quote hereby Goethe:

            Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß,
            Wer nie die kummervollen Nächte
            Auf seinem Bette weinend saß,
            Der kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlischen Mächte.

            Ihr führt ins Leben uns hinein,
            Ihr laßt den Armen schuldig werden,
            Dann überlaßt ihr ihn der Pein,
            Denn alle Schuld rächt sich auf Erden.

            Who never ate his bread with tears,
            Who never sat during conscience wreaked nights
            In tears on his bed,
            He does not know you, you Heavenly powers.

            You bring us into our lives,
            You allow the poor to become guilty,
            Then leave them with their suffering,
            But all responsibility is revenged on earth.

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