Theologically, it is your standard pagan religion of human sacrifice. Offer the holy blood of our children to the god, Molech or Baal Melkart, or in this case the national security state, and you will be blessed and prosper. This holy blood ensures that we are safe and free.
All of this involves a lot of sentimental flattery of veterans, while carefully avoiding the reality that romanticizing their work in this way guarantees that more will be destroyed to no purpose in America's stupid and senseless wars without end. How is that of any actual use to any present or future veteran that these devotees profess to love and honor? Truly the proverb is fulfilled exactly upon veterans in this way: "A flattering tongue works ruin."
I was reminded today of how utterly impervious to reason the devotees of this cult are, and this made me realize in a new way what is at work here - survivor guilt.
Survivor guilt gets a lot of attention in the Bible, and rightly so, because it is one of the most powerful ways in which we are blinded by the fear of death. Some examples:
- When Jesus told the apostles that he needed to die and that they could not follow, they just couldn't handle it. First, they simply would not accept that it would happen. "Far be it from you, Lord, that this should happen to you." This led several times directly to arguments among them over who was the greatest. And then when that truth could no longer be ducked, "Lord I will follow you to prison and to death!" Which led directly to Peter forsaking Jesus and denying him.
- Moses survived only while other babies in his position died. It's not clear, but that may have influenced his rescue of his fellow Israelite by killing the Egyptian. Certainly his survival while his fellow babies died was something he had to look at.
- Jesus, too, lived only because Joseph had to take him out of town without warning other families of what Herod was likely to do to their babies.
- Before this, David in his own words occasioned the death of the priest Ahimelech and his entire family by showing up and getting help. Saul's servant Doeg the Edomite was there, and as David said, "I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul." David was unable to warn Ahimelech of his danger, but he knew what would happen, just as Joseph knew what would happen to the babies in Bethlehem.
We see here in Peter's case that survivor guilt, if not properly faced as David did, makes us absolutely stupid. Mom says, "Eat, because children in Africa are starving," and this guilt trip works because the survivor guilt it creates makes the kid unable to ask how eating in the States when he's not hungry will keep anyone in Africa from starving. His brain just turns off.
And this is an important part of why Americans simply cannot think when it comes to veterans. These soldiers are occasionally killed, and quite often traumatized, in completely useless wars so that politicians - especially Democrats - can show what big testicles they have, so that war contractors can launder public money into their coffers, and to stir up trouble by the outrages that the American bombers and invaders commit so that the resulting blowback can justify more of the same.
None of this does a thing to make any of us safe or free, of course. Had the US stayed out of Vietnam instead of going there and trashing the country while murdering around three million civilians, would the Vietnamese have robbed any American of his freedom? If they had left Iraq alone instead of going over there and killing over a million civilians and driving millions from their homes, would we be any worse off than we are today?
All that this actually does is to cause our empire to be hated around the world, while giving our rulers ever more excuses to rob us of our freedoms and to plunder us for the benefit of the 1% who finance their campaigns and give them soft fat jobs when they leave office. What in any of this does the average American have to be thankful for?
Bur survivor guilt makes the average American completely unable to even look at the obvious, never mind think it through properly. Can this end well?