To the men and women in uniform on this Memorial Day:
I did not take you, break you, scold you, mold you, garb you, arm you, order you, border you, and send you off to take life in pursuit of some bogeyman, threat, villain, or despot conjured by the words of men whom you do not know, nor are in any way accountable to the whole of mankind; for theirs is a dark art, painting banners of victory with the blood of the vanquished.
I know there are some amongst you who believe you are righteous. I know there are many amongst you who rue your abdication of conscience and now march the lonely trail of perdition. The earth is denser for the bodies deposited beneath the soil filled with shrapnel of hatred or duty.
You did not fight for me. You failed to protect liberty for slaves walk among us. Freedom lives only as an illusion, ever in peril from the imprint of your boot. The evil you pursue drinks from the same cup as those who command you. Your enemy is indistinguishable, save for the flag used to lure you to patriotism or otherwise train your sights upon.
I see no need for an armed, uniformed force who follows a flag. I see no need for liberators, protectors, or guardians. Each man’s life is his to defend. It is the individual invested in his own welfare who takes to the fight. It is not the mercenary cashing his check or drawing a benefit. His interest stops with the compensation. The individual’s welfare stops with his life.
I should thank you, but I can’t. Despite your best efforts, the world is what it is; and to your worst efforts, you less than what you could be. If I am to accept a humanity portrayed by cynical, violent, callous men then I pray you do the inevitable and quickly lay us all to rest. If, by some cosmic brotherhood of unity and common purpose, you feel the pain you cause and deny servitude to other men, then I welcome you to peace and spiritual sobriety.
When you take up arms, you set aside reason. When you see an enemy, you fail to hear possibility. When you bask in glory, you shrink in humanity. Soldiers do what they are told, without question or hesitation, despite qualms of conscience or crisis of morality. How can people who are not themselves, free, pursue it in the name of others?
Renounce that which has sought to deny your own and reclaim your nature.