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This Armistice Day, Listen to Veterans Organizing to End Militarism


#1

This Armistice Day, Listen to Veterans Organizing to End Militarism

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

"It's important to speak out against militarism, particularly on Veteran's Day, because there are still many people who think opposing militarism and America's wars means you don't support the troops or our veterans," Derek Matthews, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, told Common Dreams on Wednesday.

Matthews is just one of numerous veterans across the United States who is marking the federal holiday by taking to the streets or mobilizing to spread a counter-narrative: of demilitarization, human rights, and true remembrance.


#2

Many of us veterans will vote for the most jingoist conservative like deserter and mass murderer Dubya. We do it for God, Country and Moms Apple Pie. We'll even pay him $100,000 to hear him tell us what a great country this is and how we saved it from evil and enemies hate us for our freedom. You are either with us or against us.

It is noble to be a warrior. The uniform will earn us respect and get us laid. We will be a band of brothers. We will be heroes. Besides its hard to find a job and the military doesn't care if you have a felony conviction now: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/21/military.waivers/.

The military is a young conservative's training school. Soldiers have to be that way because who but conservatives would fight for some industrialist? Without this "conditioning" why would we die and kill people we don't know and have never done anything to us?

Wave that flag and we'll follow you anywhere. And Republicans are by far the best at waving the flag.


#3

"It's important to speak out against militarism, particularly on Veteran's Day, because there are still many people who think opposing militarism and America's wars means you don't support the troops or our veterans."

I am a staunch opponent of militarism but especially the sick and perverted worship of soldiers and militarism that exists in the United States. As a result, I don't support all of the veterans. I have voted against any war memorial (twice) proposed for my community because I want nothing to exist that glorifies war or its participants.

I support and thank the veterans of WWII because despite the fact that the war was just as unnecessary as the one fought 30 years earlier, the soldiers who courageously fought against the aggressive armies of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini did so to preserve their way of life and what they perceived as an actual existential crisis for their country and government. The Korean "police action" was legal (and unnecessary for the safety of the American people) but the soldiers who fought there were mostly the same people who fought in the second world war so they get a pass as well.

I support the Vietnam Veterans because, as conscripts, they were cynically used as a tool of the United States government -- first to fight their proxy war of choice and then after their needless deaths were used as an excuse to continue the war. Their continued pain and premature deaths continue to today as as product of the greatest tragedy of my (baby boomer) generation.

Every unnecessary and criminal bit of adventurism engaged in by the United States armed forces since Vietnam has been done exclusively for the (immense) profit of billionaires, banksters, and war profiteers. The role of the simple soldier was very important here. They were volunteers who were paid by the war criminals in the Pentagon to murder innocent civilians as well as destroy infrastructure and overthrow foreign governments so the United States could stand astride the world as it does now where the citizens of any country knows that if they were to go against our country that their entire life and livelihood could be taken away in an instant.

The architects of death in Washington could do nothing without those hundreds of thousands of poor, pathetic, and patriotic volunteers manning the front line and committing the mayhem necessary to allow them to steal any and all they can. While most are unaware and believe they are doing the right thing, in my opinion they are far from innocent.

I agree that their health needs, both medical and psychological must be full addressed by the government they served, but don't tell me they are heroes worthy of admiration. Heroes don't go to third world countries and enthusiastically kill hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children and then get to high-five each other and puff out their chests. Any soldier in 2003 that could read had to know that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and were obligated, in my opinion, to refuse to go. Three million people all over the world were in the streets protesting America's illegal intentions and certainly, at the very least, the officers should have known they were following illegal orders.

The popularity of war, conquest, and empire will result in the destruction of the United States by either turning it into the most dreadful totalitarian state imaginable (same as when the Roman Republic fell because of empire) or more likely our nation will collapse from perpetual war and the inevitable opposition from the rest of the world.


#5

Right on bfleury. Ike warned us but nobody listened.


#7

Great quotes Saint Jimmy.


#8

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#9

Thank you VFP, for your sevice; TO PEACE!


#10

Veterans day is a day where millions wrap themselves in and wave flags to glorify war.


#11

I agree, that is why I oppose Veterans Day in the form that it takes in the US. I like Remembrance Sunday in Britain which I find to be much more of a commemoration for those lost than either a hut-hut support the military or take a long weekend with the family. I like that it's on Sunday.

On my first trip to England in 1987, I arrived in the country on Remembrance Sunday. It was ironic that was was also the date of the Enniskillen bombing in Northern Ireland and I was forced to hear local politicians call Irish people animals which, I guess, was instructive. I had breakfast at Polly Tea Room in Marlborough and afterward walked around the town as people in their Sunday best (wearing medals on their civilian clothes) began to gather and others were carrying instruments to play during the solemn ceremony in which I was an accidental observer. It was quite moving.

Then I lived in Belgium for 10 years. I attended Armistice Day commemorations nearly every year. My first was in Brussels at the Belgian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Subsequently I began spending the 11th in Ypres at the Menin Gate. The Menin Gate was dedicated to the Commonwealth soldiers, especially from Australia and New Zealand, from who fought there in horrific conditions during WWI. The refrain is that 9 million men marched through that gate to war and few came back. The bodies of most were not recovered due to ferocity of the war. When one visits the WWI cemeteries (of which there are many in Belgium) one finds grave markers with the names of up to 5-6 unfortunates whose remains could not be accurately separated for individual burial.

The Menin Gate is a symbol that once at the beginning of the last century, the world learned and spoke as one -- war is a terrible crime and that the memory was fresh and all wanted nothing to do with another conflict. As a matter of fact, in 1927 war was outlawed by international treaty (you know, the "Supreme law of the land" as defined in the US Constitution) ratified by many nations including the United States.

The Menin Gate was built (funded by donations) and finished in 1922, I believe. Starting on the day it opened, a bugler plays morning and evening (Last Post) in honor of the soldiers whose names cover every wall of the enormous monument and whose final resting place is known only to god. The only exception to the tradition occurred during Nazi occupation, but the bugler was back at his station on the day the Germans were forced out of that part of town despite the fact that fighting continued elsewhere.

I was moved by this. The United States under George W. Bush had just invaded Iraq and I became as angry as I ever have been. Here, at a place and a country where people still living could remember horrific war and occupation. Horrors that no American has experienced in their own country and no American could fully appreciate. In my mind, they had figured out that war was a crime and George Bush was demonstrating to the world that war was again a legitimate extension of foreign policy. I was livid.

On the 11th of November, we stand in the rotunda of the Menin Gate, listening to the bands and watching the soldiers march up the main street to take their positions, to remember their fallen comrades during the minute of silence at 11:00. Then from the oculus at the center of the gate, a gentle rain of red poppies come fluttering down. It's hard not to weep while standing there in silence, as I am now while recounting the experience.

I hate war and for the survival of out nation and the world, the permanent state of war must end and end soon.


#12

I Appreciated reading your poignant and very well written reply. Thank you. Shanti


#13

Looking at the numbers, I expected it to be higher. 80000 a year is .0002% of the populace. It adds up, but as education gets worse, there will be an increase in the birth rate, so it offsets. So, with that said, if people really wanted to get back at gov't, we should vote to make a draft. ALL children, rich and poor should be made to fight this endless war, not just the poor and middle class. Does anyone remember politicians using the draft as a threat? I do. It would make the rich run to Canada, putting corporations in a bad situation. Bush Jr went AWOL and Clinton dodged the draft, so its not like draft dodgers wouldnt have access to the presidency of the country they committed treason with, thats apperent, but it would get those that wouldnt make it, and thats the point.


#14

As a Marine Vietnam Veteran (Combat Intelligence NCO assigned to battalion Scouts), I offer these insights as "ground intelligence" to protect and defend our Constitution and Nation:

The Media is Mightier Than War ©

“War Is a Racket...It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes." U.S. Marine Corps, Major General Smedley D. Butler, twice recipient of the Medal of Honor; and anti-Fascist.


Legitimacy of moral life depends on the willingness of men and women to struggle with such questions before they decide what to do. Karl Jaspers, a Jewish-tainted German WW II philosopher notes, “all men, like all nations, are tested twice in the moral realm ~ first by what they do, then by what they make of what they do. A condition of responsibility denotes a kind of second chance: men are, as if by a kind of grace, given a chance to repay to the living what it is they find themselves owing the dead.”

Arthur Engendorf, a fellow Vietnam Veteran author notes, “healing is the way we restore ourselves...with a little help from our friends, we can heal ourselves, even from war...healing culminates in a renewed vision of what is possible for us and our world. In light of this vision, our individual healing shifts from being the center of attention to an instance of much more encompassing possibility ~ healing for all humanity.”


Americans have experienced a long, challenging, courageous and often treacherous history of implementing democratic social change based on their inalienable rights and self-interests.(See Howard Zinn's "A Peoples History of the United States.") However, we have been systematically blocked and unable to participate, let alone influence US Foreign Policy and its devastating impacts on our serving military, veterans and their families, communities, cultures and countries. (See Dr. Andrew Bacevich's "Breach of Trust", and Paul Pillar's "Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy.")

When it comes to defending, protecting and healing our troops, Veterans and their families, herein lays the “moral essence” of US citizen obligation ~~ ordinary Americans must begin to deeply understand the very complex nature of genuine fears, threats, and the required measured responses, which will eliminate the obsolete components, assumptions and foundations of post-World War II U.S. "Folly" Policy, and the shocking slaughter, sufferings and economic and environmental degradation that continues to impact communities here and abroad.

We The People...must rethink our political and diplomatic relations, passionately reflecting on and changing the values and allegiances that continue to have profound and brutal impacts on hundreds of millions of men, women, and children. We must stalwartly influence our foreign policy decisions, protecting them for Seven Generations (Iroquois Wisdom).

WTP are the Best and Brightest and ultimately responsible for these decisions, and must instruct our government employees (and their minions) about the great truths for solving our most dangerous problems. This historical struggle is about our core values, beliefs and ideals of our diminishing democracy, its vision and the underlying humanitarian principles and values inherent in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and most international treaties that inspire us to take peaceful actions to protect our world and humanity...when we choose.

This task will take incredible “moral courage” as intense and sustained as our honorable warriors serving in harms’ way purportedly protecting our nation and way of life. Get 'R Done America...Treasure Life.

Semper Fidelis,

David DeChant
Jarhead Clan


#15

An act of military hubris, the Navy is starting an electromagnic war game over Olympic National Park. This will be done with the loudest fighter jet ever made by Boeing - The Growler Jet. 250 flights a day for years to come. The Navy has broken every environmental law on the books. Their EIS is a sham. The Navy has 320,000 restricted acres 9 minutes away from their air base but they want to destroy the beauty and peace of a national heritage site and one of the most popular national parks in the country. The peace and quiet of the entire Olympic Peninsula is going to be ruined. The Navy is doing this because they can and our representative and Senators are saying nothing. This is not a democracy anymore. This is military takeover of our sacred places. We are just collateral damage in their bloated budget. I am an Air Force Vet.