Singer Edwin Starr once asked and answered, "War, huh, good God, what is
it good for? Absolutely nothin'!"
Besides Veteran's Day sales and kids getting the day off, my guess is that Mr. Starr
and "War" lyricists, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong never expected the second
This week, as we mark Veteran's Day 2007, this White House continues its
six year, hell-bent effort to make Starr's admonition, a disheartening
There have been the heady war dividends that have fallen to Haliburton,
Blackwater, and right wing talk show hosts who use the war to split
America and fill their personal war chests.
Politically speaking we need go no further than Karl Rove's caveat to GOP
governors that the war would be a winner for the Republicans.
But it is the war veteran groups who have benefited the most and with the
WWII members dying out, the surge of eligibles for dues-paying membership
couldn't come a better time. And they don't have to look any further than
the streets to find the new members.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a new report
shows the percentage of homeless veterans, numbered at 495,400, is more
than twice that of the general adult population.
After using our young men and women as wedge issues and cannon fodder that this
administration and their apologists prop up as treasures to hide behind
only to be tossed away like second, third and fourth thoughts when they
lose their political value.
Building their huge contracts on the backs of their "support" for the
military, how much time do you think non-veterans O'Reilly, Limbaugh and
Beck will use their programs this week to admonish the White House for
their utter disregard for the soldier they deploy - for three and four tours - in
harm's way, let alone the veteran who's long since been forgotten?
Will they spend as much time berating the difficulty returning reservists have
(according to Pentagon survey) in getting their old jobs back and (according
to a Harvard Medical School study) the sin that nearly 2 million vets who lack
health insurance as they do condemning Cindy Sheehan for attempting to
end the war that killed her only child?
Oh, they'll feign tribute and patriotism and lay blame for the past six
years at the doorstep of hate-America Americans. They'll slam
Sheehan or Rosie O'Donnell or war veterans like Jimmy Carter and John
Kerry, distracting their fans from seeing the true victims of the war:
Our veterans. Whether they come home in boxes or have to live in them on the
streets, once the veteran has been exploited for political purpose, the
war-mongers will ignore the life-long harm they have wrought on these
heroes they boisterously hurrahed into an unnecessary war.
Whether it be the debacle of an ignored Walter Reed, the attempted cuts
in the Veteran's Administration budget, or slighting the veteran's
homeless plight, the Lords of Loud blowhards will always take the side of
the Bush-made war 'cept for a rare and anemic "mistakes are always made
in war." Far more excuse than a condemnation.
The rabid Lords of Loud are famous for slamming the homeless for their
unwillingness to pull themselves up by their boot strings, no matter
their boots be the only remnants of their glorious service .
Actually, it's really quite brilliant. A kind of Bring the Boys Home-less
Program. Follow us here? Any terrorist who takes a look at the bleak
outlook for our vets once they get home will think twice about wanting to
follow them here.
Starr, Whitfield and Strong's lyrical contribution was meant to send a
passionate message in defense of the true victims of wars: the soldier
fighting them. The contribution of this White House, and the unholy
alliance of those who concede to this war's countless "one more chances,"
is an appalling legacy of an unrelenting influx of new veterans to be
victimized. And if there's anything that dishonors the veteran, it is
If we truly want to honor today's veteran, we do it by bringing them home
and providing decent post-service care after they get there.
Leaving them homeless? Unforgivable.
The veterans' reward for their sacrifice? Absolutely nothing.
And in that, Starr,Whitfield and Strong were right.
War! It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War! It's got one friend, that's the undertaker
War has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can't give life, it can only take it away
War! Huh Good God y'all
What is it good for?
Say it again.
And for the sake of the veteran, never stop saying it.
Steve Young is an award-winning TV writer, author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" www.greatfailure.com and a member of Jewish War Veterans Post 697