Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Boots on the Ground" and Other Ways to Discount our Humanity

It must be tough on politicians. From their cozy government halls and offices, they must somehow find the strength within themselves to support the sending of young men and women - those loved children of worn and worried parents - into the horrors of war ... to return, if at all, with broken bodies and tortured minds.

Poor politicians.

Because it must be so hard on these civil servants to take the stance for war, I imagine THEY MUST use non-inflammatory acronyms, innocuous slang terms and war-time euphemisms that soften the blow of what is truly at hand here: "collateral damage" and "liquidation" instead of "death;" "department of defense" instead of "department of war;" and - as truth-teller George Carlin pointed out - the evolution of the terms "shell shock," "combat fatigue" and "post-traumatic stress disorder" through the years ... all of which attempt to gently erase the meme and truth that "war is hell."

But even with all of these lovely terms that are designed to keep our minds at ease, there is none worse than "boots on the ground." Think of it: boots ... on the ... ground. The lives of young men and women, the bodies that inhabit those boots, the hearts and minds that connect ethereally, the physical hands that connect concretely, that clasp directly another loved one's hands, the arms that hug a parent or child. Imagine all of these reduced to something as heartless, meaningless and static as shoe wear.

Politicians and propaganda pundits should take heed.

These are not boots. This is Uncle Joe from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who left one daughter, one son and a wife back home. This is Eric from Los Angeles, California who hopes to learn a trade he can bring home to help support his extended family. This is a brother Tony from Phoenix, Arizona whose new bride is expecting a young one in November. Hear told it's a son. They will name him Anthony, just like his dad.

Each politician, each military leader and the commander in chief must curtail not only the use of this inhumane term "boots on the ground" but the manipulative technique of word-play all together. It may make your job easier, but it doesn't give respectful due to souls and humans doing what they can for their country.

Tell it true. All of us. Let's tell it true. Not just for some boots, but for the lives of every Eric, Tony and Joe out here in the ranks of our humanity. 

Fort hood tribute to soldiers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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