(I’ve taken a little poetic license with this story, as did Peter, Paul and Mary with their version of the original Irish song.)
Oh my dear Johnny, my dear son,
Of course your mind was made up by the time you told us this news. You’re signing the National Guard enlistment papers when you and your family go back home after Christmas (oh, how can I possibly stand listening to this?). And then you’ll be off to boot camp, then officer training school, if the recruiter you so foolishly trust is right in his bogus promises and assurances. All those military words that I can scarcely type, much less utter…they are that foreign to me, belonging to a language I never intended to learn.
Of course you wouldn’t have wanted to hear the questions we asked ahead of time, the myths we tried to bust; nor would you want to hear our agonizingly expressed concerns for your very soul, my dear Johnny. Were you even able to let any of our considerations and warnings in? Was your wife, she who sold her flax and sold her wheel for you? She who believed that the Guard stays in the US? Can you really be that unaware of National Guard units having served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many other illusions are you laboring under? Too many, too many, from what you report as gospel according to Corporal Recruiter.
When I asked you plaintively which person targeted by our ‘wars’ you might consider enemy enough to kill…you said nothing, even when I pressed it. When we spoke to you of wars of choice for Profit and Empire, you stayed silent; when we called the recruiter a liar for telling you that with your college degree, and once you were an officer, that you would be able to turn down assignments, did you hear that? Or had our voices taken on the wohn, wonh qualities of the adults in a Peanuts cartoon? When we spoke to you of the alarming increase in suicides among troops and veterans, and of rampant PTSD and moral trauma…did you deflect it somehow as inconsequential…or unlikely?