Ha! I was looking for information to clear up just what my status is as a veteran, having been mobilized for Iraqi Freedom in March of 2003.  We were on active duty for 89 days before Bush declared victory and sent everyone home.  Ahem.

So, because I’d like to know, I’m looking around for information about benefits (if any) to which I am entitled for my obviously worthless 89 days of active duty service in time of war.  I was wrong, dead wrong, it turns out. 

War it is not, never been.  Funny, it tastes like war, though.  I smack my lips.  It’s kinda bitter with a smokey flavor.  They call it a war, use it to justify "wartime" suppression of civil liberty and routine ass-wiping with the Constitution, but let’s not fight over little words, shall we.  We’ve got a war to fight.  WTF?! There you go again with the "W" word.  Geez!

Then I found this on the Office of Personal Management for the US Federal Government:

War Service Creditable for Veterans Preference.  In the absence of statutory definition for "war" and "campaign or expedition," OPM considers to be "wars" only those armed conflicts for which a declaration of war was issued by Congress.  The title 38, U.S.C., definition of "period of war," which is used in determining benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, includes the Vietnam Era and other armed conflicts.  That title 38 definition is NOT applicable for civil service purposes.

Thus the last "war" for which active duty is qualifying for Veterans preference is World War II.  The inclusive dates for World War II service are December 7, 1941, through April 28, 1952.

I blinked.  I read it twice.  So, the OPM for purposes of preference, only considers those that fought in WWII (The last declared war) to be veterans.  Those ranks are getting pretty thin, I’d say.

I read it again.  So what this is saying is that the last armed conflict for which the people of the United States had a say was WWII (I always knew that, but to see it put so bluntly was startling).  Put another way, the last time our duly elected representatives in Congress declared war was 1941.

Doesn’t that seem funny to anyone?  Funny, not in the "ha ha" sense, but funny in the "we’ve lost complete control of our country" sense.  From Truman, to Lyndon B, to Reagan to Bush Sr. to Bush Jr.  we have engaged in one "conflict" after another, all of which were deemed to be of "utmost" national importance, but not quite enough to get the endorsement of the American people with an official declaration of war.  These conflicts were important, we were told – important to whom?  Obviously though, they were not important enough for the failsafe vote in Congress to sanctify the "war."  Don’t worry your puny little minds with these big and complicated issues of "national security" we were/are told. 

We will protect you.

And don’t worry about the messy little details like Americans dying and being maimed.  It’s all for a good and noble cause, just not good and noble enough for a vote of the representatives of the people of the United States of America.  Details details.