Those were the last words spoken by Nathan Hale before he was hung by the British on 22 September 1776 at the age of 21. On the one hand, I admire a person who’s conviction is so strong that they are willing to offer their one precious life in support of a deeply held belief. On the other, I abhor that men in power send the youth to do their dirty work. I abhor that cowardly men in power declare war on another country (or factions within their own country) sending youth into battle to face the bullet, the blade, the bomb while they cower behind desks spewing rhetoric about the glories of battle. I abhor the hypocrites G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama who sing the glory of battle and send of youth to the font lines when in their own youth they hid behind money or enlisted in the comfort of the National Guard. I abhor any government that sends idealistic youth to fight other idealistic youth not to protect the innocent but to guarantee the rich have access to cheap oil, cheap minerals, to fend off an economic philosophy that would see the rich lose some of their wealth. I abhor that people of my generation those born at the tail end of the malignancy known as the Vietnam conflict, a generation that should understand the atrocity of war because we saw the horror on live TV that now vote to put fools in power that send our youth to die.
Edward Abbey had it correct when he said, “The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.“