Friday, July 13, 2012

Used by the State, Even in Death

My father died last year. One of the last wishes of this retired career marine father was to have a burial at sea in the tradition of the military.

He told me upon his death bed, "The only important things in my life were the US marines, your mother and you kids."

I wasn’t pleased at all with this decision for a military burial as I do not believe that the US military really "takes care of its own" at all. One need just look at all the military veterans who are homeless or had their bodies and ashes dumped in landfills for evidence of this. But it was my father’s life and death and, since I no longer live in the USA, it was difficult for me to try to convince my father and remaining family that we should have a quiet family-only ceremony like we did for my mother.

I was hoping for a small and respectful burial at the same place my family sent my mom’s ashes back to the sea at the peaceful and oh so serene Japanese temple that was surrounded by blue skies, mountains and nature on the coast of Kyushu, Japan. That was a ceremony whose hallowed silence was punctuated only by the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks and the birds overhead; the only other sounds were the sobs and cries (along with hugs) amongst the four of us remaining relatives in attendance.

That ceremony, to me, represented reverence and respect for the dead; a tranquil and close family affair just for us. Not one surrounded by strangers, with a military band blasting out marching tunes with no immediate family present.

Nevertheless, my father believed that he wanted to be thanked for his service to his country. In spite of my voiced hesitation, he had the full support of my militarist cheerleading state-worshipping brother. I was out-voted and a military-style burial at sea was decided.

Interestingly enough though, and as is par for the course for Leviathan, it took six months for the funeral proceedings to take place. Even though my father died in September of 2011, his burial was in March of 2012. In an curious twist of fate and timing, I received a DVD video of my father’s burial at sea over the Memorial Day holiday.

Unfortunately, the video was painful to watch. The fact of the matter is that, in my opinion, the video wasn’t so much a ceremony and tribute to my father who "fought for his country;" it was, in fact, a video of a ceremony that celebrated the American military machine; it was an orgy for the glorification of the State and US militarism.

Even though I shed a tear for my father, I’m sorry to say that the video of the ceremony nearly disgusted me.

In the background of the video, dubbed in music played the national anthem, the Marine Hymn and, even more in line with bargain-basement "celebration" quality of the proceedings, a country song was overdubbed that included the singing refrain, "I’m glad to be an American. Where I can be free."

I wondered, "Is this really reverence for a dead soldier and his family?"

Before you folks who are family of the military dead are too quick to judge my criticism, listen to this: I also received the US flag that was supposedly used in the video for my dad’s ceremony. Unfortunately, and pardon my politically incorrect language, but even a blind man can see that the flag I received isn’t the one used in the video of the burial ceremony. The one I have in my possession is twice the size of the one that was used in the video. Am I supposed to have some sort of emotional tie to this flag? What does this flag have to do with the one used in my father’s ceremony besides both probably being manufactured in China?

Sorry, folks. These are different flags.

Or is the purpose of this flag that I was sent a continuation of the state-sponsored propaganda and use of the dead to influence the thinking of the living? Is this another token that is supposed to make the owner of the flag "proud to be an American" too?

It doesn’t make me proud at all.

I’m sorry. Dad, I love you and I am proud of you, but you didn’t go to war in Korea to protect our freedoms; you went to war over there to further US economic interests and the US empire. That you never figured that out in your lifetime is sad. But, I hope that you are in a better place and have had the chance to speak directly with a former US marine general by now.

That my still very much alive university educated brother is too dim to see it today in all American militarism is a testament to the power of the American propaganda machine and brainwashing by the mass media. That I write this is merely a warning to American people to wake up.

In Japan, the old order before World War Two told people that they went to war in China and Asia to bring peace and to fight for the emperor. In the USA, the old – and current – order tell people that they go to war to be free and to protect American freedoms.

These things are all lies.

In this regards, the Japanese are decades ahead of the average American; they figured out long ago that the propaganda was a lie. The average American still buys this trash hook, line and sinker.

My father was duped this way in life and now in death. My living relatives also believe this. It is sad that, in life and in death, my father is still used as a tool of the state...
Of course, from this short missive, I will expect to get the usual hail of criticism and hate mail claiming that I disrespect the military or their service. That I, a person with no experience in battle, are using the sacrifices that these men and women made "protecting my freedoms" so that I may make these claims.

To that I say, "Poppycock!"

In response to the anticipated storm of hate mail, I’d like to borrow the words of another famous American statesman and true patriot whose experience in battle rivals my own: "Bring it on!"

Copyright © 2012 by Reprinted by permission.


Anonymous said...

The only thing shameful is your deep seated hostility to anything and everything from the US. This was for your father! His last wish! For God's sake - you'll exploit that for a blog post?

mike in tokyo rogers said...

No. My deep seated hostility is for the US military machine and how it kills people around the world. I hold even more distain and disgust for people like you who are apologists for that military machine and how you've allowed a once great nation to become a fascist state with your blind cheerleading! I will exploit that for a blogpost and do (reprinted from Lew Rockwell)!... But you may be right! The USA? What's not to be proud of? A country that is at perpetual war with the world and has bombed over 36 countries since 1950! In no instance did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, result.
"US Bombing Interventions Since WW II".
Also a nation (of supposedly free people) that has the highest percentage of the population in prison? "USA #1? 40 Embarrassing Things That America Is The Best In The World At".
. But, the apologists will still scream, "Yeah? But we're better than North Korea?" OK... Them's darn good bragging rights! Go back to watch American Idol. You are beyond redemption.

Anonymous said...

Open up dude- don't be such a hater. I didn't bomb anyone. I guess this is your version of payback for a tough childhood.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Add an extra hostility mark for "Dude" who is so ignorant and ill educated (as well as obviously unread) to make such an asinine statement as, "I didn't bomb anyone." No, and neither did the kids in Iraq and Pakistan and Somalia and Afghanistan who the USA is killing right at this very moment with bombs that were paid for with dude's taxes! Yet dude don't know about it and acts like he is proud that he doesn't.... There's a words for people like that: 5 letters. Begins with a "M" and has two "O's." Can you guess, dude?
"Are Americans too ignorant, uninformed and ideological (xenophobic) to vote for their own best interests? I believe they are.". PS: Hitler, Bush and Obama never bombed anyone either, dude!

Anonymous said...

Dude, I hated and hate the war and always voted for candidates against it, but your belligerence against Americans is pathetic. Open up!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike,
I served the state 3 yrs active and 21 in the Army reserve. I once was gung ho on being an American, but as the years went by, the "glory" and "honor" BS quickly faded as I witnessed first hand the reality of our shameless imperialism. I'll be frank, and I'm not proud to say it, but I "served" for the money. And I didn't defend anyone's freedom. I'm sure I made things worse. I'm only thankful I was never involved in any combat. But I remember plenty of gung ho types who chomped at the bit to get in on the action and were sorry they missed out on the Gulf "war", "Operation Iraqi Freedom" , etc. When my time comes I don't want a flag or any mention made of my military service.
Militarism is Idolatry, no matter how you look at it. And it is totally incongruous to a free people. And since Americans can't seem to get enough of the military, I can only conclude they are not a free people. It is sad about your Dad. He was, no doubt a sincere man and a good father. Just the type the state can milk to the end.
I have very little company in my views regarding the sacred cow of militarism, but as Mr. Henry once said when everyone thought he was being unreasonable in not wanting to ratify the Constitution; "Conscious rectitude is a powerful consolation."
In my book, the real heroes were the ones who refused to murder for the state and even went to prison for it. Ben Salmon was such a man during the fraud that was later called the "War to end all wars". He was a true Christian. He would not compromise and take a desk job to avoid prison. He once obseved very correctly; "The safest place for a man who won't fight is in the army." And "There just ain't no such animal as a just war." He lost just about everything a man could lose, but kept that which was most valuable; his integrity.
Stand firm my friend. Sic Semper Tyrannis.
George Hill
Las Vegas, NV

Anonymous said...

I am sure you receive a large amount of hate mail from state and military loving fools, so I figured I would send you a positive note to break up the flow of nasty grams to your inbox.

It's great to hear that Japanese people know the military is a joke and a giant con. Unfortunately, you are correct, most Americans still worship the ground of the military.

At my company for instance, they have several charity efforts devoted to military causes. One such program provides gifts and benefits to the family of soldiers who are deployed overseas. Of course no one ever asks the question why a war machine with a $1 trillion budget has so many employees living at or near poverty.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading your future contributions to LRC.

best regards,
Matt Rolleri
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

mike in tokyo rogers said...

It amazed me juts how blindly indoctrinated Americans today are. How in the world an article critical of the US military machine and US imperialism becomes an "Ant-American" article is interesting. I suppose one can conclude that, judging by the reaction, that Americans do identify with militarism and it has become a part and parcel of the American psyche... If so, dud, how can you justify your, on the one hand saying that you "didn't bomb anyone" with your twisting an attack on militarism into becoming an an attack of Americans? Doesn't make sense does it?
Also dude, you "voted for the candidates against the war?" Ha! ha! Ha! Who were they? Obama? Clinton? Don't look now but they voted for the wars and voted to fund them and the so-called patriot act and the Homeland Defense Authorization... Why don't you try to get an education? PS: no difference between a Democrat and a Republican - they are both of the war party, so how could you vote against them? Unless, of course, you are Libertarian or Anarcho-capitalist, which you are obviously not, since you are trying to argue with me.

Anonymous said...

Dude your like my idiot friend who said Gore and Budh were the same and so he voted for Nader. Only idiots can't see the difference

Anonymous said...

Bless you Mike,
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I felt the way you wrote ever since I was sent to Korea many years ago, to supposedly die there. I knew it was a 'game'. Nothing I can write will add to what you wrote, you said stuff like it should be said, and I praise you for it.

George Wetherington

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Yes. You are right. Only idiots can't see the difference:
Middle Eastern nations bombed under idiot Bush: 4
Middle Eastern nations bombed under idiot Obama: 6
"Bush, Obama, same old drama".
Among other things, since taking office Obama has:
- Signed the NDAA into law -- assassinating US citizens w/o trial now legal
- Personally oversaw a 'Secret Kill List'
- Waged war on Libya without congressional approval
- Started a covert, drone war in Yemen
- Escalated the proxy war in Somalia
- Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan
- Will maintain a presence in Iraq even after "ending" war
- Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan
- Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries
- Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia
- Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia
- Opened a military base in Chile
- Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan
- Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster
- Did a TV commercial promoting "clean coal"
- Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports
- Signed the Patriot Act extension into law
- Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants
- Continued Bush's rendition program
See? Even an idiot can tell the difference. As Barry Goldwater said, "Republicans and Democrats? Ain't a dime's worth of difference." That was in 1964... At today's inflation and dollar devaluation, that's about 1/10th of a penny difference.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Dear Dude, Instead of arguing with me with your ignorant views, do yourself a favor and read a book. Or, even better, go here and learn something: "Lew Rockwell".

Anonymous said...

A very well written article.  I was once a pro-war, propaganda-believing dupe until I finally woke up to the insanity and danger of hero worshipping our military and its “accomplishments.”  Keep up the good work. JOSH DENNIS

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. For years I believed that we, too, we're fighting for freedom and democracy until one day I realized that what we really were fighting for was the profits of Wall Streets Bankers. I agree with this article wholeheartedly and have nothing to add except keep on telling the truth. Some of us "get it."
Ed Turley
Minneapolis, Minn.
USMC - ret'd. 1994

Anonymous said...

"Republicans vs. Democrats".

Anonymous said...

Since I was a teenager the 60's, I remember nightly news broadcasts of the blood and gore on the battlefields of Viet Nam and my own Dad (former WWII Air Force) silent on the issue.  Since neither he or my mother never discussed politics, at least in front of us kids,  I don't know exactly what he thought, but the decisions surrounding his own funeral/burial was left to his second wife and included a rifle salute and Taps .  That was in 1986 before I could even formulate a cohesive thought about the USSA Empire, even before I understood it could be a threat to us here at home.

My youngest and brightest sister could have completed her higher learning at any school she chose.  Instead, on her 18th birthday she joined the Army and lived out the rest of her adult years in that institution and to this day (retired at age 50 six years ago), does not see our military as being anything but honorable.  I've tried to introduce her to the Oath Keepers, and in emails a couple of times a week, I'll send her something that she clearly does not either understand or agree with.

In contrast, my brother-in-law (married to my now deceased middle sister and retired Air Force) has had his eyes opened and is completely distrustful of our entire Government. 

Perhaps it's just a matter of time before your brother understands what's going on, or perhaps it's just that some of us are chosen to fully grasp and intelligently discuss the role our military plays in the most private areas of our lives as well as the ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil.  

May God bless you and your family.

In Light and Liberty,
Laura Jackson
Merrimac, Massachusetts

Anonymous said...

Mike, this is for your idiot dude friend (Timely from today's LRC): "The Insanity of War Flags Over Graves
"In his autobiography, Dreams From My Fathers, Barack Obama writes of taking a job at some point after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations” in New York City, and his functions as a “research assistant” and “financial writer”.
Oddly, Obama doesn’t mention the name of his employer. However, a New York Timesstory of October 30, 2007 identifies the company as Business International Corporation. Equally odd is that the Times did not remind its readers that the newspaper itself had disclosed in 1977 that Business International had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960."

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about your father. However the first poster is correct. This was his last wish. And he was a soldier and obviously had great respect for his own service. No matter what your own political opinions, you should at least give him the small honor of having his traditional military funeral, which he earned, in peace. It may not mean anything or at least anything good to you, but obviously it meant something to him. Have some respect for the man and save the anti-american rants for other posts where it would be more appropriate.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Dear Anonymous,
In case you were unable to decipher it in your pro-militarist haze, my father did have his military funeral. I didn't stop it nor did I do much more than try to convince him - one time - that he should go with his initial wishes of being buried next to his wife of 45 years.
I doubt that he can read my "rant" after his burial. My "rant" is for the rest of the confused people who think that the USA government cares about them. It doesn't. Facts speak loudly, don't they?

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