Something To Believe In
I was directed to an article on Yahoo news titled "Families Endure Private War" By Mike Dorning. It is a reprint from the Chicago Tribune.
It starts with this: "Holly Friedrichsen was hoping for a tear--or a smile, at least--when she held aloft her 5-month-old daughter to give her husband his first glimpse of their child.
Instead, what she got was what she and other wives call the Marine Look. "There's really no emotion to it."
I strongly suggest that you hit this link, and read the short but informative article, before reading what follows.
During, and for a while after the Vietnam version of this madness, I worked, in a very unofficial way, with some vets that were sent up to Canada, by friends, to 'cool out' in a low stress environment where flags and loud phoney patriots and confused family members would not be in the way.
Mostly I just hung out with guys and helped keep the safe house together. One guy explained to me that I was tolerated and even accepted, mostly because I knew when to shut up. I spent a lot of time listening, eye to eye with my mouth shut. Then the dreams started. I've never slept much but for a while, I didn't want to sleep at all.
One guy I hung out with used to walk around, in Milwaukee, with a shrapnel grenade in his pocket, the pin pulled and a strip of tape holding the spoon in place. He was a very ordinary working class American guy before the war. All of them were.
Some commentators seem to think it is the tactics of the insurgents that created so many haunted vets but that is wrong. With individual exceptions, American soldiers do not like fighting civilians.
With no exceptions, they don't want to fight senseless un-winnable political wars against poorly armed, highly motivated civilians. Especially when they fight with such selfless determination for their own homes.
They are not fighting an army. They are fighting kids, old men, shop keepers and teachers. Patriotic civilians resisting a foreign occupier. Just as the soldiers themselves would if their own country were occupied.
Calling an artillery strike on a building and then going into what is left of the building, to find the shredded bodies of women, children, and grandmothers, no different from what they left at home, has a profound and lasting effect on a person who is not already psychotic.
No one wants to see himself as a murderer of babies. It is very hard to care about or respect yourself after that. And believe me, they never forget. Most eventually learn to live with it. many don't and their lives are usually short.
Fighting German, Japanese, or Chinese Soldiers is one thing, fighting peasants, farmers, and shop keepers is entirely different. There is a huge price to pay. A price that Bush and his ilk know and care nothing about. While starting this stupid war, Bush cut the pay and the VA benefits for soldiers and vets. Another show of care and undying gratitude from our proud 'war time president'.
A recent email from one of several vets I am in contact with said, (forgive me man, I paraphrase your words) "I don't believe in hell, but I'm not worried if there is such a place. There's going to be so many Christians and patriots, there won't will be room for me."
We have a duty to stop this horror. There are no excuses for inaction. If you have come to understand how wrong and evil this war is, and you choose to do nothing but whine, you are as guilty as any of our new style 'patriots'.
See what happens in Canada over the next couple of days and then ask yourself why Canadians should care so much more than you do. That last sentence is not for those who have begun to activate themselves. It is for the rest of you.