Who is called US veterans

USA veterans - Until the last soldier

11 days left - and on November 6th, the USA will elect its president: On this occasion, Cicero online correspondent Malte Lehming reports in a countdown on special events and curiosities during the election campaign.

In order to disperse, Ludwig Wittgenstein liked to go to the cinema during his time at Trinity College in Cambridge. He preferred to sit in the front row. He despised English films. Instead, he watched primitive American films. With them, he writes, he always learned something.

The strip “Rambo II”, which was made around 50 years later, would probably have also fallen into this category. Many years after the end of the war, John Rambo, the award-winning Vietnam War veteran, was assigned to fly back to Vietnam to find out whether US soldiers were still held in captivity there. In fact, he finds some, but is let down by his military employers. He frees the prisoners of war on his own, brings them home and confronts his employer.

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There are two key scenes in the film. In the first, Rambo is asked by his Vietnamese liaison agent why he left the army after the Vietnam War. “When I got home,” he replies, “I found that there was another war going on, a war against the returning soldiers. You can't win this war. ”In the second scene, towards the end of the film, Rambo's former command officer tries to persuade him to join the US arms again. Rambo waves it away. He just wants America to love its soldiers as much as these soldiers love America.

Veterans are part of America. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has the highest budget after the Department of Defense with around 90 billion dollars. It employs around 280,000 people in hospitals, cemeteries and government offices. The reintegration, care and pension system is highly developed. The ministry even has its own police unit (“United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police”).

Veterans also dominate the tourist image of Washington D.C. They wear medals and insignia from their former unit, some come in wheelchairs or with walkers. Whether individually or in a group, check out the great war memorials on the mall - World War II, Korea, Vietnam.

Page 2: America has an intimate relationship with its veterans

Just a mile or so from these monuments is the vast Arlington National Cemetery. Here the "Old Guard", that legendary, oldest infantry unit in the US Army, guards the plain white grave of the unknown soldier 24 hours a day in wind and weather. It says: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”. The "Old Guard" also stands in line when the body of a fallen man arrives at the Dover Air Force Base in the state of Delaware.

America's close relationship with veterans may explain why a story unrelated to the election or nothing to do with America found an echo here. The story was first reported by a Pakistani newspaper, then by the Associated Press in the middle of the month, and earlier this week in the New York Times. It's a moving story.

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According to her, Russia has appealed to the Afghan authorities to investigate the fate of 265 Russian soldiers who are still missing. Around 30 to 40 of them are said to be still alive and have assumed a new identity in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Some come from Muslim republics in the south of the former Soviet Union, while others have converted to Islam. Moscow emphasizes that there is now an amnesty for deserters. The missing could therefore return to their homeland unmolested.

In December 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, in February 1989 it left the country as a loser. About 15,000 Red Army soldiers had died. A Russian veterans' association was founded three years later. She takes care of the bereaved and looks for missing people. She has already found 29 former Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan, 22 of whom have returned to Russia, and seven wanted to stay in Afghanistan.

The search for these missing persons is actively supported by the Russian embassy in Kabul. Dimitri Priymachuk, the assistant to the military attaché there, is quoted by the “New York Times” with the sentence: “What's it called again? The war doesn't end until the last soldier has come home. ”John Rambo couldn't have put it better.