Thomas McCullock sent me an interesting link today. A web site that lists information regarding a number of American service personnel who are or have resisted service in Bush's insane crusade. The site is worth checking out.
The page is titled U.S. War Heroes of the Iraq War. This is a page on a very interesting site, Tom Joad. Toms’ idea of how the concept of courage relates to this war, are very clear.
“Every War has its heroes, those who take risks to protect the values we cherish; this war is no different.
We honor those soldiers who risked loss of liberty, economic deprivation, and social ostracism. Each of these men and women of the military have at some point refused to participate in (or at least aspects of) the immoral, illegal, unjustified war the United States is currently waging in Iraq. They obeyed their conscience over illegal orders.”
We agree that courage is not defined as the willingness to do violence whenever called upon to do so. It is often easier to obey an unlawful or immoral order than to refuse.
I spent some time reading the stories on the page and I am moved by what I saw. I compare these people, their words, their actions to the people who are creating this war. I compare their witness, those who have been on the ground and in the place, to the mouthings of our present leaders and their media outlets. It is obvious to me that these young Americans represent what was best in what once was called the American ideal.
These people joined up to serve and protect America, their homes, their families, their citizens. They did not sign up to kill civilians as imperial storm troopers. These are, in my book, real Americans: the kind that formed that ragged force that stood down the Imperial British Army, in their quest for independence.
And herein lies the greatest chink in this new Corporate Americas’ armor. Americans. Americans, in general, are not as war hungry as their current President. I will go so far as to say that a large percent of his military is not nearly as hungry for war as Mister Bush and his administration.
It has become clear to all, that there must be a return to the draft if the US continues to pursue its present course. There is no way around that. The administration is preparing to reintroduce the draft. Yet there has been no mention of it during the campaign. Once again Bush campaigns with his real intentions well concealed.
When the draft is reintroduced and the war is truly 'brought home' the current hegemony of the populist right will inevitably begin to fray. Presently, many see supporting the war as support for the Troops. That perception is already beginning to waver. The ripples are small but so the tide is raised.
The good news is that this awakening, this refusal to blindly serve authority, has already progressed further, in the Iraq war, than it had at this 18-month mark, in Vietnam. Take that, you who would dare compare Iraq to WWII.
Bush and his war cabinet are counting on the moral submissiveness of Americans. They do not believe that American youth, their families, and communities will have the moral courage to resist their power.
These young men and women will be called cowards by men who, themselves, never served and never would have served in such a venture. I think there is a lesson in that.
So what do we mean by courage? And who dares be so quick with this word coward?