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Celebrated to Death: Memorial Day Is Killing Us

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/12/celebrated-death-memorial-day-killing-us

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Wonderful! This is what my mother always said about Mother’s Day. She never wanted any cards or flowers. She wanted the ERA and Peace.

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Ranger Edstrom, you need not worry, your morality is very much intact. I hope you find Peace.

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Well said, when a vet tells you the war is fucked up-listen. The most eloquent and effective opponents of America’s wars from Vietnam on have always been vets. The Vietnam Vets Against the War were a superb voice against that moral and strategic absurdity.

Daniel Ellsberg had been a Marine officer before graduate school and the Pentagon, he went on patrol in 'Nam to get an assessment for the State Dept. Master Sargeant Donald Duncan wrote the New Legions which woke me up about Vietnam. Former Marine intel officer and weapons inspector Scott Ritter toured the country to no avail trying to prevent the Bush/Cheney war on Iraq. Maj. Danny Sjursen (retired) has been a prolific writer opposing “perpetual war”, and has written a concise non propagandistic history of the US.

Interestingly a number of these vets are West Point grads. Then there is Major Tulsi Gabbard the strongest anti war proponent in the Democrat primaries.

Contrast that with some of the war mongers: W. Bush, “champaign division” of the Texas National guard from which he went AWOL; Cheney, military service not in his “interest”; Bolton, Maryland National Guard. In those days the guard was guaranteed to not leave the country. Obama, no military; Hillary no military of course. Ensign bone spurs, Trump who was sent to a military high school for disciplinary reasons-didn’t do much good- stayed out of the real thing.

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I agree that these voices (Ritter, Ellsburg, Edstrom, and others) are important. But I don’t know what Edstrom is asking of us. No reader here that I know of fits into the ‘thank you for your service and put you out if my mind most of the time’ mold. Does the author think the anti-war civilian side can grow bigger and have more influence? We’ll see how much that is when Biden basically thumbs his nose at most of the proposals by the 50 anti-war groups that was discussed in another story (as I assume will happen). Does the author think that some other movement within the ranks of the military has any potential to change things? What are soldiers allowed to say and do during a conflict they disagree with? I assume the author agrees with the idea that conflict works in certain circumstances - is there a post WWII conflict the author agrees with? If currently he thinks none of them (but must have thought differently before else why join), what is his proposal to open eyes of recruits before they join?

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“For 18 Memorial Days, the American public has been complicit in allowing our troops to be sent into a series of wars that everyone knows to be costly and self-defeating…”

Perhaps you don’t remember the day in 2003 when 15 million people marched against the invasion of Iraq? If you weren’t there, you may not even have heard about it. If the mainstream media doesn’t cover it – it did, but barely – it didn’t happen. The Bush Administration took no notice of the biggest demonstration in the history of the world, whatsoever.

When 70% of Americans oppose the wars, how is it that we are complicit? It is clear that our government has been hijacked by the people who use war as they most efficient means of transmitting public money into private hands. Thus, they pay no attention to us.

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I was one of those demonstrating against the invasion of Iraq.

I am a Veteran for Peace, and had composed a reply similar to yours earlier in the day, but figured the author’s just hawking his new book about his military experience.

I especially bristled at the line, *"The most intimate betrayal is to be sent to kill or die for nothing by your countrymen.", as if I, or any of the others who tried to stop the madness, were somehow responsible for it.

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the never ending militarism is the virus that is destroying America.

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A question to ask veterans is that when those millions marching in the street so as to protest the Iraq war, what did the people who volunteered to join the military think of those protestors and what did they say about those protestors.?

Everyone can be wrong about the decisions they make in their lives but given the history of the US Military and how it has been used in wars of aggression for decades and more , how do people still get it so wrong when they decide they want to be a soldier?

There are people now of Military age signing up to join the US Military even as that same Military has waged wars against poor people thousands of miles away all of their lifetimes. Why join? Is it only after one experiences personal pain that one can understand the pain the US military inflicts on others?

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