"When all think alike, no one is thinking very much." ~ Walter Lippmann
Abu Ghraib in the Workplace: What It Means to 'Hire a Veteran'
Column by Yarlan Zey.
Exclusive to STR
We’ve all seen them – the long list of affirmative-action questions that would-be employers ask when you fill out a job application. When you first began to look for work, you thought your education, experience, expertise, and skills would land you that next job! Sorry, you were wrong. Virtually every job-hunting website is stuffed with “hire the vet” bribes. Why?
Maybe it’s just me, but there is a pretty obvious reason staring us right in the face. Is it possible that – with fears of workplace violence inching higher day by day – any normal person is a wee bit skittish about inviting into the workplace a bunch of people who willingly joined an organization that kills people without accountability? Perhaps some employers simply don’t buy the excuse that “someone told me to do it.” That excuse didn’t work on mom when they used it as children, and it doesn’t sound any more convincing coming out of the mouth of a 24-year-old with a buzz cut. Do you think this could lead to second thoughts about hiring a vet? If not, read on.
The chicken-hawks already have bankrupted the United States both morally and financially. Their string of non-stop wars has been draining the economy since the end of World War II. And there’s no end in sight. And with government-mandated hire-the-vet policies, Uncle (Son of) Sam has found a marvelous new way to cripple the American workforce – both literally (with gunshot wounds on a “bad day”) and in terms of plummeting competitive performance. How? By giving preferential treatment to the propagandized products of a government-controlled school system that churns out bumper crops of obedient potato-heads and dumps them into an economic marketplace that has been blasted to smithereens by other government policies: in other words, a system that creates the typical “patriotic” high school graduate. You know who I mean – the kids who followed the Siren-song of big government and joined the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines.
The Marines, in particular, use boot-camp training methods designed to deconstruct the personalities of incoming grunts – patching up what remains with a psychotic confabulation that is predisposed to PTSD, among other things. It molds kids into costume-wearing killers who have been bribed into silence with socialist welfare benefits. They wind up like Chucky dolls with really bad haircuts that remind you of Zip and Pip from the film Freaks. Then they are set loose to destroy property, maim, and kill hopelessly out-gunned, undernourished, and impoverished “enemies” in faraway places. Of course, the new cyber-warriors sit their snack-plumped fannies in air-conditioned trailer parks located in the desert near Las Vegas or the Mojave, where they murder people with killer drones using remote-control consoles that resemble the video games they’ve been playing since they were addicted to TV and high-fructose corn syrup as children. Thanks, ADM. Yeah, Amurrrrica!
Yup. Prompted by a Daddy Complex that left them feeling somewhat less than macho (usually after some important male figurehead insulted them or told their moms that they needed man-lessons), they wanted to be turned into arm-pumping cretins just like their Hollywood action heroes. So they joined the Marines. Nobody told them it would be just like hanging around with any other group of teenage gang-bangers – but with even higher rates of theft, bullying, assault, rape, murder, suicide and other bennies that are the order of the day in the Marines. But the music – is there really anything worse than marching-band music? – is even worse than in the most nefarious rap-addled doggerel-prone urban-gang. But government can make even the most tragic organizations look good by comparison, eh?
The “Veteran Status” Menu: Empty Bribes for Empty Minds
If you have never personally seen the affirmative-action questions or the designations that accompany a typical job application, here’s a list – all of them required under certain types of contracts.
Disabled Veteran Status – If you are in the armed forces, this gem can be achieved by twisting an ankle during a drunken fall off your motorcycle while fleeing an outraged father after you wiggled your worm-like fingers under the bra of his pre-teen daughter as she walked home from school near one of the military bases in Okinawa. Or maybe you were shot in the leg by someone in Fallujah who was defending a neighboring family made homeless by your armed attack as you left no hovel unmolested in your quest for Saddam’s fabled “weapons of mass destruction.” Remember those? The preferential points you get from the bonanza of Disabled Veteran Status will help you win a promotion or land a job that would otherwise go to a better-qualified candidate. Go on, make your mamma proud. Step up and claim your reward.
Special Disabled Veteran. See Disabled Veteran Status – but with percentages added to the definition.
Veteran of the Vietnam Era. This preferential status is awarded to soldiers who were lucky enough to survive the deadly Pentagon Party that snuffed out the lives of 2.4 to 4 million Vietnamese people who never had enough money to buy a boat ticket to Japan – half of them civilians. In other words, it is a hiring status that is awarded to the poor souls who were unable to escape into a college or cross the border into the Great White North of Canada during the Vietnam War Era. If you’re one of these sad sacks, you get to enjoy a benefit that is paid for by some feckless employer who just wants to pay you to do stuff for money. Meanwhile, the people who should be held responsible for victimizing you have never been put into a jail cell where they belong. And they are still collecting their military pensions for wasting your life away.
Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran. This is a special preferential status given to veterans who have already gotten a cheap piece of costume jewelry, called a service medal, for taking part in an operation for which they were already paid a standard wage by the government. I guess that the medal itself is somehow deficient in appearance or intrinsic value, so the creators of this status wanted to throw you yet another bone to make up for it. So you get a wage, a medal, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran status. It’s kind of like triple-coupon day at the U.S. government homicide outlet nearest you. Yup, awards for getting awards. Oy vey! When does this stop? Umm – not quite yet. Read on.
Recently Separated Veteran. No, this has nothing to do with divorce, detachable legs and arms, or crazy-gluing yourself to a really hot sex partner and having a doctor peel you apart. Uh-uh. It’s even nuttier. It applies to any of the other veteran groups as an added bonus if you left the military within the last three years. Again, it’s like double coupons.
Newly Separated Veteran. This benefit has a freshness-expiration date of one year after leaving a government-paid sinecure known as “military service.” The idea of “military service” is a strange one. After all, who is served? In circles where irony and the definition of oxymoron are not well understood, the phrase “military service” does not trigger laughter.
Other Protected Veteran. This is left for that tiny, tiny, oh-so-very-tiny group of people who fall through the minuscule cracks in the mixed economy that open up when awards are given to the other Disabled, Special Disabled, Vietnam Era, Recently Separated, or Armed Forces Service Medal veterans. Insanely circular, endless, and pointless, these awards literally mean “prizes for all” – just as in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. Reality really is stranger than fiction.
Look for an Increase in Workplace Violence and Unfriendly Workplace Lawsuits
Gee, what do you think will be the inevitable result of giving hiring and job-promotion preferences to veterans who cannot compete in the free market? Do you think your products will improve in quality? Will they be cheaper? Okay, enough with the easy questions. But what impact will it have on the workplace? Will preferential status awarded to people who are willing to engage in deadly violence make the workplace more pleasant and safe? Or will it make it coarse, tense, full of resentment from those who have been passed over, and just plain dangerous and fearful? The answer does not require a degree in rocket science.
I work for a healthcare-related company whose CEO is a former Marine. I didn’t know it when I joined. I just needed a job. Somehow the dunderheads on the board of directors at this company thought a real gung-ho Marine would whip the company into shape. Or is it possible that they hired a Marine because this company is owned – through many shell organizations – by a big-government military contractor, and they had no choice? Hmmm. But even if the first reason was used – the desire to put a “man” in charge – anyone with a red pen can cut costs. And yes, in a “formerly” mismanaged company such as the one where I am employed, this needs doing. But what comes afterward? The long-term success of a company will not blossom as a result of hiring someone who specializes in slashing and destroying – which is what Marines do best. It will thrive based on the creativity, inspiration, and productivity of the workers – especially in a company with an ingenious product or service. A Marine who chooses bullying as a management technique (and my CEO does prefer this technique) in an effort to replicate the PTSD-inducing experience of boot camp – is unlikely to inspire the most creative workers. These are the workers who joyfully come up with great ideas and go the extra mile because they are enthusiastic about seeing something wonderful through to fruition. Slaves and other beaten-down sods generally aren’t that productive. Maybe that’s why my company does not have a bright future.
The” German Look”: der Deutsche Blick in the Workplace
A corporate culture of brutality and fear is the perfect recipe for creating the kind of paranoid, hushed behavior that characterized civilian life during the Nazi regime or the subsequent plight of East Germany (and increasingly the USSA). It has been called “the German look” or der Deutsche Blick. People with der Deutsche Blick always look to each side and behind them before talking – just to make sure that unwanted ears are not listening. So how will the Human Resources Department and the Legal Department manage the unfriendly workplace that they are creating with this “hire the vet” policy? Even worse, what will employees do when they are treated in a heavy-handed fashion – with escalating intensity – day after day as a result of this official policy? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’ll want to know how many steps I am from the exit when it happens.
Yarlan Zey used to write frequently for Strike The Root under his real name, but he had to abandon his home-office career, which allowed him to publish proudly under that name. He still needs a paycheck, but under the hire-the-vet regime of his current employer, he would quickly become toast if this bit of fun were connected to him. He is now looking next to himself with a quick glance to the rear. Oops!