I hate war. But I do not hate soldiers.
I believe engaging in armed combat goes against the teachings of Jesus. But I respect the fact that war veterans have made incredible sacrifices for causes they believed to be noble.
I am generally in favor of cutting military spending. But I think we should increase spending on medical and psychological care for veterans. The high rates of mental illness, divorce, and suicide among military veterans causes me deep sorrow.
My first-grader came home from school earlier this week with a little newspaper that featured an Iraq war veteran who had lost his leg. She told me he was a hero because he killed the bad guys. “How do you know,” I asked, “who the bad guys are? Remember what Jesus said.”
“Love your enemies?”
Is there a way, on this day, for me to honor the spirit of sacrifice but not the acts of destruction; to give thanks for the selfless nature of our veterans without condoning the violence they committed; to advocate for better treatment of soldiers without supporting the work of the military industrial complex?
I believe the best way to honor all veterans is to make sure there are as few new veterans as possible.