Veterans Day celebrations have come and gone. One thing about veterans: Everyone’s for them. But what does that really encompass? How did they get here? And what of the veterans to come?
The World Veterans Federation (WVF) is an international network comprised of 172 veterans organizations from 121 countries representing about 60 million veterans worldwide. It acts as a humanitarian, peace, and justice advocate not just for veterans but for victims of war. Out of those 121 countries with 60 million veterans, one country contains about 19 million — over 30% — of all the world’s veterans. That’s the United States.
Why so many? The U.S. represents only 4.25% of the world’s population. That outsize representation, where we dramatically outnumber other countries in producing veterans, is repeated in our jails where we imprison more than 20% of the entire world’s prison population and repeated in our routine gun shootings where we own 42% of the world’s privately held guns.
Veterans For Peace (a U.S. member of WVF), was formed in 1985. Odds are you’ve never heard of it. It suffers from a lack of recognition, particularly among members of Congress, precisely because it stands in opposition to US wars of aggression (Iraq in 2003 as characterized by Kofi Annan).