November 4th, 2003

flavored with age

Do what now?

So last night I'm innocently watching a rerun of That '70s Show, and when they go to commercial, I am presented with the withered face of a 900-year-old World War II veteran regaling me with his war stories. It turns out it's a Wal-Mart commercial, with the message "Wal-Mart Salutes Its Employees Who Are Veterans, Although We Still Won't Let Them Unionize Or Make a Living Wage". So I'm thinking, man, how sad is it that this poor fucker who probably saw his best friend's leg get shot off in the Ardennes not only still has to work, but he's working it Wal-Mart? The odds are pretty good that he used to work somewhere else until his current employers showed up and drove them out of business.

Anyway, the commercial goes on to show all these blue-smocked Wal-Mart employees, presumably real people, with a caption under each shot saying their name and what they're a veteran of. "Bob: World War II veteran." "Mary: Viet Nam War veteran". "Julio: Gulf War veteran." "Alonzo: Korean War veteran". And so on. And then, they show some guy, and the caption says "Willie. War on Terrorism veteran".

Uh, excuse me? How does that work? Which war is the War on Terrorism? Not Afghanistan, surely; that was a war on the Taliban, who, for all their faults, weren't terrorists. Not the second Iraq war, surely; that war had nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism (until after we 'won', of course). So, what war did this guy serve in, exactly? Did he stand on the corner outside the World Trade Center taking potshots at the planes? Was he a member of the Israeli Defense Force at some point? Or are we just calling anyone who served in the military after September 11th, 2001 a "veteran of the War on Terrorism"?

You've got some explaining to do, Wal-Mart.