my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of my people." Jeremiah 9:1, REB
Reports today are that over half of the armed forces of America are involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the number of wounded exceeds those from the Revolutionary War and the early years of Vietnam. Such numbers are for comparison purposes, obviously; to try to put some kind of perspective on the horror.
There are also reports that the number of homeless soldiers returning from Iraq and seeking shelter and aid here at home is "shocking." What should be learned once has to be learned over and over again: that the military recruits bodies, and uses them as tools, and when they are used up, the tool is thrown away. All those children being recruited in the poorest areas of our country, promised a way up and a way out; and how many of them left worse off than they began?
The troops live under
the cannon's thunder
from Sind to Cooch Behar
moving from place to place
when they come face to face
With a different breed of fellow
whose skins are black or yellow
They quick as winking chop him into beefsteak tartar
John is a write-off and Jimmy is dead and Georgie was shot for looting
And young men's blood goes on being red
and the army
still goes on ahead recruiting
"Cannon Song," lyrics by Bertolt Brecht
The more things change....