Thoughts on July 4th 2011 from SPTAH:
This last week I had a friend ask me to speak at a religious function on the meaning of the 4th of July to me as a veteran. I turned down that request but now would like to elaborate…
The original reasons I turned down what might have been a useful function were complicated. First of all, I have seen many people, veterans and not, who seem to define the word veteran in a real narrow sense as those who have fought in war for their country. Since I have not, I feel somewhat vulnerable to attack from those who have fought or even those who just think such war service is the only way one can qualify as a proper “pundit”. Never mind that most of the pundits on MSM have no service either in peacetime or war except to their corporate bosses…
I was also concerned about the fact that most speeches on the 4th are expected to be pro flag, God, and Country and I would have severe problems with making positive comments on at least two of those traditional topics.
It happened that this last Saturday, during my peace demonstration, three veterans of Viet Nam came by and talked to us at the same time. Two were from the Navy and one from the Air Force but all seemed supportive of our anti-war demonstration. Over the last two to three years I have had numerous vets stop and talk to me with the vast majority thanking me for my protests. I’d say the numbers are close to 100% positive. I have also received 32 some salutes, some of which came from soldiers in uniform. People have stopped to give me drinks and even gone into local stores to bring back something cold or hot as the time of year suggested.
The other side of that is that in a metro area of over 450,000 people we have only two, three or recently four who stand on that corner trying to make a statement against these endless and devastating wars. People honk, scream, wave and give the peace sign back and the support seems to be rising slowly. Harley Davidson riders, who initially seemed largely against such ideas, have moved such that last Saturday we had four of them who actually responded with honks or waves.
But we have also had at least two incidents where a car contained persons who shouted: “F87k Peace!”. Recently, one shouted that I “should be ashamed” and another who yelled Chicken S87t!!” Several times people have yelled: “Bomb them all!” One pickup truck tried to aim his truck at me and veered away at the last moment. We get the one-fingered salute fairly often. (Well maybe once or twice per hr.)
After Saturday’s demonstration, I went to Costco to get some food. I still had on my “Veterans For Peace” shirt and my hat which has various anti-war bling on it including my CE emblem and lieutenant’s bar. A woman standing at the register took her hand to her cluster of flags looking at me with a disapproving scowl.
And that brings me back to the original purpose of this letter. I resent the almost complete take over of the flag and other paraphernalia as symbols of patriotism which in many minds is wrapped in the concept of “My country, right or wrong”. This woman mirrors the signs like “Support Our Troops” or “God Bless America” on the back of a gas eating monster which, in my mind, connect to the wars all over the world over our supposed rights to energy and resources.
We are now engaged in war activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. There are equally “needy” areas we should engage, if we were at all consistent, that would include Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Congo, the Arab/Israeli conflict and several other areas of Africa. We continue to back despotic rulers in these areas plus many others. When President Bush spoke of the reasons we were attacked on 9/11 he blamed jealousy by the attackers of our “freedom” and way of life. The actual reason is much more tied up to “Blowback”, a CIA term for the consequences of our actions that are not appreciated by people who view us as protectors of the very people and conditions that oppress them.
Occupying powers have been opposed historically as long as history has been recorded. The attackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia almost exclusively, a country we have supported despite human rights violations of a serious and lengthy nature through administration after administration. We failed to react to the crime of 9/11 in the traditional way crimes are investigated. The question of motive has been repressed actively by those who desired war at that time and still continues among 99 percent of the pundits on our mass media. Many of these pundits hide close ties to our war industry and the most powerful news sources have direct ties to corporations who benefit from the war profits by providing the weapons of war at profit margins that should be rejected by anyone remotely interested in fiscal responsibility.
The Predator attacks in these various countries are immoral, stupid, and extremely dangerous in that they allow killings by remote control and can so easily be turned against us by even the most basic opponent. It’s the essence of the Air War in general which cannot win friends or influence people while bombing them from expensive machinery of the foreign oppressor. Any air attack frequently kills innocents despite the best protests to the contrary and the “precision” of these attacks is all too easily sold to a leadership interested in “winning” without too many of our own causalities. Each time these weapons hit ANY area their effect is to sow anger and even more need for revenge. Witness the effect of Germany’s bombing of London. Did the Brits give up? Or did they resolve even more to carry-on. The results are often the same throughout history. And when the intelligence fails and “accidents” occur (as happens very often) the
results are devastating to “our cause”. President Karzai has repeatedly taken us to task for our bombings as have the residents of all the other countries we are currently bombing. Night raids by special ops troops and air attacks alone are enough to guarantee our defeat militarily. Yet the indications are that we are moving more and more into that mode. General Petraeus has turned away from his own doctrine. His replacement will continue to wage war and we all are to fall inline. Don’t forget what the Iraq Study group and most of these very generals have said over time, I.E. these wars CANNOT be won militarily…
There is another new study out that you will hear little about from the Main Street Media. It puts the costs of these wars at over Four Trillion Dollars now. This study is from another source than the one that about three years ago put the cost then at “three trillion if the wars ended soon”. That study, by Nobel Prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz, had one trillion actually appropriated, one trillion for veterans’ benefits, and one trillion for replacement costs of worn-out war machinery. The latest study used the previous data and went much further. I sent this to most of you earlier today.
We are at a supposed crisis today where across the country teachers are being fired, public servants dismissed, and all kinds of critical programs severely cut back. As a nation we are supposedly broke. Yet we motor on using military means to right the world’s wrongs. It’s time we looked at the trees in our own eyes rather than the mote in others. I submit that this whole policy creates more enemies and the “blowback” from our current actions will haunt us for decades if we survive as a people or nation.