One Veteran's Voice

01 April 2006

'If you start looking at them as humans...'

As we get closer to New Orleans, the coastline becomes increasingly ravaged. Joe Hatcher, always sporting a keffiyeh and punk chains, reflects on his own time in the military and the hostility he has met from pro-war activists at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town with five army bases where he campaigns against the war at town hall forums. He says: "There's this old guy, George, an ex-colonel. He shows up and talks shit on everybody for being anti-war because 'it's ruining the morale of the soldier and encouraging the enemy'.

"I scraped dead bodies off the pavements with a shovel and threw them in trash bags and left them there on the side of the road. And I really don't think the anti-war movement is what is infuriating people."

When we reach Biloxi, Mississippi, the police say that there is no permit for the march and everyone will have to walk on the pavement. This is tricky because Katrina has left this coastal road looking like a bomb site.

Inigo Gilmore and Teresa Smith
Wednesday March 29, 2006


Once again, the police in Biloxi don't get it. Once again, the people are going to have to let THEM know.

I have been to exactly one anti-war rally, and no marches, so my perception of the anti-war movement might be a little off, but I was struck at the overwhelming preponderance of Vietnam era activists as opposed to young people. And this was in a college town. It's also not New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco. But it is a college town. Hardly any college kids were there. I can only assume it's cause they don't really give a shit. They're not going to get drafted. No one they know has been killed. TV shows violent pictures all the time. Meanwhile some marine is pulling his third tour of Anbar. Can we share the burden of this war yet, or are we going to wait till our military collapses under the strain? Draft, anyone? A tall cold one, with no exemptions for cowards like Dick Cheney, who have other, more selfish priorites than military service. But they supported that good ole war in Vietnam, and they dreamed up this war to compensate for their cowardice in that one. They get to play dress up, fly around to air craft carriers, make solemn speeches about resolve, receive salutes, but they don't get to sweat, bleed, or kill. Their lives are too important to risk. They are old men with money.

The NY TIMES finally found some cajones and decided to report on the series of memos that basically proves (at least to me) that President Bush is a warmongering liar who planned to invade Iraq the whole time (at least after 9-11) and really didn't give a hoot if there were any WMDs or not, or whether the UN ever found them-- because Saddam was a bad bad man who tried to kill his daddy and hogged all the oil. Confronted with the blatant contradictions in his public and private statements during the run up to Iraq by Helen Thomas, Bush can only stammer, interrupt her, and utter truisms. At least it's better than continuing to read My Pet Goat while Americans were being incinerated. Was that when he silently "Vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people" ? Impeach this asshole, already.

2 Other Voices:

Snag said...

I watched as the Army started downsizing in the 90's. There was a lot of groaning and grumbling going on about it, but I was familiar with the new fighting doctrine and knew what the powers that be were trying to do. Professionalize the military. Make it leaner and smarter inpreparation for Low Intensity Conflict, which was the war of the future. Those in the know like Gen. Wesley Clark never expected future quagmires. Get in, do the job, get out. AirLand 2000.
But then in came the simple minded leadership. Inspired by watching one two many John Wayne films. The old guard, the one's that were still around and hadn't retired, the post Vietnam enlisties, were all excited and giddy again. Medals and flags and bodies. Lots of bodies. Suddenly all these folks who only ever played with armymen in their back yard got to live out their fantasies.
So here we are. The professionals (different from lifers) are getting the hell out. Depleting ranks. The flag wavers are hiding out. The rest of 'em are bored with the TV show and have switched back to American Idol.
Good luck to anyone with time left on their contract. I never thought I say this, but as long as we're there, maybe a draft might be necessary to wake folks up.

4/02/2006 08:51:22 AM  
jae said...

With the Nutcases running this country beating the war drums for Iran now, is it possible that there will not be a draft?
I just watched for the second time the LA Times piece on the wounded.,0,936394.special
Amazingly excruciating, but done with dignity. Just...long overdue.

4/02/2006 11:55:04 PM  

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